Patreon officially declared in a blog post today that after receiving colossal negative feedback, it will not be rolling out the changes to its payment processing fee structure that it had announced last week.
If you're unfamiliar with Patreon, it's basically a crowdfunding site that allows users to be modern-day patrons of the arts. Kind of like what the Medici family did for artists like Donatello and Botticelli during the Renaissance, but way less dramatic and power-driven. On Patreon, those who create — i.e. podcasters, illustrators, vloggers, and more — are able to receive regular monthly payments from fans of their work, and in exchange, the fans usually get access to exclusive content like bonus episodes and special products. It's a platform that allows those who admire art to contribute to its creation as a part of their favorite artist's team, but without all the pesky "having to be rich" that's usually involved. Sounds pretty cool, right? And patrons generally agreed — that is, until last week's announcement.
The new fee structure, which was set to roll out on December 18, would charge patrons 2.9% of their monthly donation in processing fees on top of their donation, plus $0.35 per transaction up front as well as each month on the anniversary their first pledge. And that was all in addition to Patreon's existing 5% fee. Though the company said the change was for a noble reason — to allow creators to keep a bigger percentage of the donations patrons gave them — both creators and fans alike were infuriated. The update not only took control out of the hands of the creators (and lost them substantial income), but disproportionately impacted patrons whose monthly donations were on the $1-$2 end of the spectrum.
Now, however, Patreon CEO and co-founder Jack Conte has announced that the company is no longer going to enact the changes, and even issued a formal apology to those affected:
We've heard you loud and clear. We're not going to rollout the changes to our payments system that we announced last week. We still have to fix the problems that those changes addressed, but we're going to fix them in a different way, and we're going to work with you to come up with the specifics, as we should have done the first time around. Many of you lost patrons, and you lost income. No apology will make up for that, but nevertheless, I'm sorry. It is our core belief that you should own the relationships with your fans. These are your businesses, and they are your fans.
In addition to the big "we messed up," Conte stated that in the future the company will involve both creators and patrons in important decisions and product changes, and encouraged anyone who still feels that their concerns haven't been heard to send Patreon their feedback.
If you're a Patreon subscriber, are you glad that the fee structure will remain unchanged for now? Share your feelings with us in the comments.