Patreon recently released the results of their first Creator Census, collated from over 13,000 earning creators. As an independent artist this is extremely exciting for me, not least because this is the first time I’ll get to place myself within a community of independent creators worldwide. Having this data also helps independent creators like myself to plan for the future.
Here’s what I believe are the most significant takeaways for independent creators moving forward:
Not a lot of creators are into crypto.
I’ve seen this anecdotally and within the artist communities I’m in, but the census proves it. Of the survey respondents, the vast majority (73%) said “please don’t” or “don’t care” to crypto payments as a potential feature. This makes sense to me as income stability as a creator is already relatively unstable, so independent creators hoping to rely on patronage in the long term may tend to be more risk averse.
Patronage is viewed more as supportive than transactional.
This is also something I’ve noticed from my own community and am happy to be able to benchmark against a larger pool of data. The #1 reason why creators have Patreon is to give people the ability to support them and their work. A close second is access to exclusive content, which I would view as a reward for supporting a creator’s work, along with all the (many) other benefits that come after.
Only writers use websites.
Discoverability happens less on owned websites and mostly on social media for most creators. In terms of platform(s) where creators first found and grew their audience, websites are only used by writers, and even that only 14% of them. YouTube is the main discovery platform for both video creators (50%) and audio/music creators (30%) – underscoring the importance of video or visual content for music creators.
This also implies that independent artists should focus on social media platforms for their content marketing efforts, and hence would benefit greatly from knowledge of social media marketing.
(I also noticed Twitch isn’t mentioned here – which is odd because I’m sure I had selected it when I took this census!)
Everything needs a video.
Video content (38%) is more than twice as popular as compared to the next creative medium (17%, writing). As content creators in this day and age, it’s essential to look at how we can create video to accompany anything we release.
That’s the gist of it from my POV. I’ve also made several interesting discoveries relevant to my own work, which I’ll share with my Unicorn tier patrons (feel free to support if you’re interested in the thought process behind the way I do my music business!).
If you found this interesting or helpful in some way, do share it with your friends. I’d love to compare notes and findings as well!