I’ve been following the recent tumultuous times at TWiT with interest. As one of the mainstays of podcasting, and one of the few able to create a business from the process, Leo Laporte has always been something of an inspiration. When he hired Tom Merritt to create a daily news show and step into his shoes whenever necessary, I thought they were on to a very good thing.
Unfortunately that all fell apart at the end of last year, and Tom departed from the TWiT shores. I have many thoughts about this, some are wildly speculative, some are opinionated about Leo’s choice of replacement, but most of them are just sad that the magic partnership didn’t deliver.
It seems to have worked in Tom’s favour very well though, as he’s branched out on his own, setting up a solo daily news show and recreating Frame Rate in the form of a new show called Cordkillers. I have been following the progress of both of these, and was interested to hear both talk at length about Patreon.
Patreon is a service/site that allows you, as a viewer or listener or reader, to back your favourite projects on an ongoing basis. For example, you can back Tom’s new projects with any amount but starting at $1 a month. You get to support your favourite show, and Tom gets to know how much income he’s raising on a monthly basis.
It’s like Kickstarter in a way, but it actually seems better. Instead of speculating on things that may never come to fruition, Patreon seems to be more about people doing the shows anyway, and making money along the way, which in turn allows them to simply improve and grow. On the other hand, Patreon works best with ongoing projects, such as books, podcasts and films, whereas Kickstarter can be for a one-off Pebble smartwatch type deal.
I had been a little put off by the way Patreon encourages a boastful style of support – look at my profile, I support aaaall these projects – but found a privacy setting that solved that issue. In which case, I can’t really see any downside. The creator gets a somewhat steady income and the patron gets “the warm fuzzy feeling that accompanies believing in someone.”
And also rewards.
But mostly fuzziness.