Creator subscription platform Patreon launched a major rebrand Wednesday, with a new logo, brand identity and a bundle of new features aimed at helping creators and fans run businesses and connect beyond the basic membership paywall it started out as 10 years ago.
“We’re no longer a membership company, we’re a creator fandom company,”
Patreon CEO Jack Conte told The Publish Press. “And that’s what we’re tackling in this next chapter of Patreon."
Conte is referring to several significant updates, including free membership tiers for creators that will allow fans to follow their work without having to sign up for a paid subscription, a community-building feature the company has been testing since June.
To help creators build their business, Patreon is also making it possible to sell family-appropriate digital products directly on the app. This could include exclusive videos and files alongside creators’ typical paywalled offerings.
In addition, Patreon is looking to make creator-to-fan and fan-to-fan communication more central to the in-app experience by launching a Discord-like messaging system called community chats.
Originally announced in September, the creator-run chat feature allows Patreon users to chat with each other outside of comment sections.
Creators also have the option to customize their chats by name, topic, emoji and member tier, allowing their fans to find desired ecosystems within the app to discuss and share the work and interests they are passionate about.
Patreon has made it clear that personalized algorithms will not be included in the company’s rebrand.
While the majority of Patreon creators use other social-media apps simultaneously to build their audience, the company says, algorithms are not helpful for regularly reaching fans.
“Our creative freedom as artists is challenged when we’re forced to play by [a platform’s algorithm] in order to reach our audience,” Conte said. “YouTube and TikTok will help you reach new fans, but Patreon isn’t going to have discovery and recommendations and personalization.”
Instead, Patreon users will notice an updated home feed that organizes posts in reverse-chronological order under individual creators, so fans can find the creator’s latest offerings grouped together instead of scattered between other creators’ posts.
Patreon has also introduced a new mobile app and updated its logo into a shape-shifting multicolored bean, although the company says that in the near future creators will have the option to make their own custom version of the logo using whichever colors, textures, and motion they would like.
The rebrand comes after Patreon faced a host of unforeseen issues this summer, with creators reporting an inability to access their earned money and fans reporting that their subscriptions were being canceled without their knowledge.
The company’s valuation also dropped 70% last fall.