Saturday, July 22, 2017

Grumpy man - what do you have against Patreon?

As far as I can see all history podcasters are struggling to find the time and the money to put their baby out there. The rule is still that the podcasts are free and as long as I have been following the trade, podcasters have been looking for ways to generate some income from podcasting, at least to cover the costs. Not so long ago many tried sponsoring by Audible. The latest route podcasters follow is Patreon.

I am no savant in business, so I have no suggestion to offer; I do not see a real business model for podcasts and I have seen most monetizing fail. Therefore, I was extremely skeptical about Patreon, but so far it seems way more successful than anything tried before. That should make me happy, should it not?

On the last episode I listened to from The Bulgarian History Podcast, Eric Halsey revealed he had managed to pay off his student debt and thanked his Patreon Patrons for their contributions to this milestone. That was also very satisfying to me, even though I was not among the contributors.

Since I love history podcasts so much, it will please me to no end if podcasters manage to get some income from their work - good for them, they have earned it and that is ultimately good for us listeners. However, if the constraints of monetizing are pulling the makers away from the podcast, or cause them to compromise on the quality, we have actually lost.

It is my observation that generally the monetizing schemes generate a pull to the podcaster to produce more content, yet there is no pull to make it better. Patreon, it seems to me, is no different in this respect. In the coming posts, I will try to show this with some examples. The bottom-line being: it is good there is income to be had and I am certainly not against more podcasts, but it returns us to the original question: There is more, but is it better?