If you’re a starving artist in the 1600’s, you look for a rich nobleman to support your work, a patron.
Today, if you’re a starving artist (or even a star on HBO), you go to the crowdfunding website Patreon and ask the crowd to pay a monthly subscription to get your work.
For example, Issa Rae, the star of the HBO Series “Insecure” has an account on Patreon where $2/month gets you a monthly video, $5/month gets you an exclusive video series from her production company and $10/month gets discounted tickets to her events. She currently has 1,148 Patrons (monthly $ unknown).
Since it started, Patreon’s 4 million subscribers have paid over $1 Billion to its artists.
Unlike the Renaissance, where the patrons received only the art in return for their support, Patreon takes between 5% and 12% of the donations, depending on the amount of hands on support it gives the artist.
It just announced that it is going to open shop in Europe.
Patreon is VC funded, having raised over $165 million to support its growth.