Since the advent of file sharing, musicians have come up with a multitude of novel ways to fund their work, such as Pikup, the app that tracks users’ music listening habits and remunerates artists accordingly. Using the crowdfunding model, new startup Patreon enables fans to automatically donate money each time online content creators upload a new piece of work.

Where platforms such as Kickstarter help to fund one-off projects for artists and new businesses, they don’t really help those – such as online musicians, film-makers and comedians – creating smaller pieces on a regular basis, requiring just as much time and financing. Created by Jack Conte – one half of the boyfriend-girlfriend band Pomplamoose, who achieved fame through their YouTube channel – Patreon gets fans to commit to donate a small amount for each piece of work completed by the artist. Fans set the amount they want to offer – usually USD 1 to USD 5 – and are able to set a limit for the month to stop from going over budget if the artist happens to have a prolific month. This means that the content creators on Patreon get a guaranteed sum for each piece of work, enabling them to continue investing time in their ongoing project. The video below explains more about the platform:

The service enables fans to become patrons of their favorite internet-based artists, providing a unique avenue for financial support in this emerging area of the entertainment industry. Are there other ways to ensure digital content is recognized and rewarded?