I’ve raptly followed the recent Patreon controversy, eager to understand why one of the lifeblood services of so many independent creators inadvertently alienated and infuriated the very creators and patrons they serve.
How did this happen? What does it mean for creators?
What Went Wrong in Patreonland
A few weeks ago Patreon suddenly announced an impending change to the financial relationship between creators and patrons. It sounded reasonable on the face of it — simplifying some complexity in how and when payments occur — but it actually upended some core values of their community, and destroyed an enormous amount of trust in the process. After a swift and strong negative response, Patreon ended up reversing the change, but it’s surfaced a lot of issues around creative funding and the infrastructure that powers it.
I saw Patreon’s initial email announcement and my first reaction was curiosity, not anger. But then, I’m not a creator relying on this platform for my livelihood — and as I realized how big a mess this was becoming I became very interested in the deeper reasons why this announcement sparked such a backlash.Read More