One thing we’ve learned about Patreon subscribers is that they want more – which usually means new ways to get closer to the artist. And they’re happy – or even glad – to pay for it: one superfan told us that the big attraction of paying for a subscription was the feeling that they were part of the artist’s journey. So we’ve rounded up some of the most innovative platforms that help artists offer more to their monthly Patreon subscribers – by offering them additional ways to access exclusive content or merch, or enhanced connectivity. We explain how they could fit into your Patreon planning.
Fanbace is a free on-demand merch platform aiming to tackle the challenges that can hold artists back from starting to sell merchandise: upfront investment for manufacturing products, storage space needed for said stock, as well as the daunting tasks of packing, shipping, and managing orders – or the fees associated with having a third-party fulfil these for the artist.
There’s no commitment or minimum order quantity involved, which removes the barrier of entry of the traditional merchandising model. A huge advantage of Fanbace is its global network of partners, where the company prints merch as geographically close as possible to the fan – making it more sustainable and more affordable in terms of shipping costs. Using Fanbace, artists and their teams could frequently launch special edition merch without the need for minimum quantities, and only make them available to their Patreon supporters. This special edition merch could even be a way for fans to identify each other as supporters, for example at live shows of the artist. Only when a fan claims a piece of merch, it will get manufactured and delivered to them in the most cost-efficient way.
For more details on Fanbace, read our tools piece here.
Another way to bring more value to the artist’s Patreon supporters could be to offer fans the opportunity to subscribe to a tier that includes exclusive text messages from the artist. This would be both beneficial to the fans – receiving personal text messages from the artist would make them feel even more closely connected – but, with claimed SMS open rates as high as 98%, a useful tool for future marketing campaigns too.
Subtext is one of the leading tools allowing artists to send text messages to their global fanbase. The artist gets to choose their phone number, too. For example, if the artist is based in L.A. they will want to have an L.A. area code so it looks and feels like it’s coming from the artist. Other Subtext features include the ability to have vanity numbers, and setting up voicemails. When a fan calls an artist’s number and they have a voicemail set up, they can listen to the artist’s voicemail – and artists often encourage fans to leave a voice message too. This could be included in one of the highest Patreon tiers, where fans feel like they have frequent direct and personal contact with the artist, and where news is announced first.
Read more about Subtext in our tools piece here.
Vertigo Music is a free app that artists and fans can use to listen to music simultaneously across Spotify and Apple Music – all synced-up, and able to interact with each other. This creates a social experience, while driving up streams and income for the artist. The app has built what they call “Artist Lounges” which are digital rooms – similar to a Clubhouse room, but where you can listen to music together. While Artist Lounges are a place where fans can hang out together at any time, artists have the opportunity to join the Lounges as well.
Some of the highlight features for artists include the ability to host live video, live audio and the ability to chat with fans – making it a truly engaging interaction between the artist and their fans. Artists could include announcements of exclusive listening parties as part of a Patreon tier, where they will announce to their supporters when they can meet the artist within Vertigo Music. Other fans could still technically join in too, if they heard about it through the grapevine, but Patreon supporters would have the bragging rights of knowing when these surprise listening parties will happen first.
Learn more about Vertigo Music in our tools piece here.
Single is a whitelabel app that allows you to sell digital downloads, tickets to digital content and NFTs within an artist’s Shopify storefront. The NFT element is one of Single’s most recent additions to its suite of tools, and essentially allows artists to token-gate merchandise. This means that fans will only get access to specific merchandise or content if they own the required NFT. There are no fees for the initial creation of these NFTs, as Single’s business model is based on sales in the backend – which is $5 per NFT that is sold.
That price covers the minting and sale of the NFT, as well as the utility, content hosting and use of the gating software. There is no separate subscription needed. Of course artists don’t need to charge money for their NFTs: which is where it becomes relevant in the context of Patreon. Instead, artists could provide their Patreon supporters with free NFTs that they can use to access gated content and products on their store. This would even allow artists to understand how long a fan has been a supporter, by issuing them with more NFTs over time which fans can use to prove their longstanding support and fandom. You can also make the NFTs sequential if you wanted it to be a numbered fanclub pass for instance – giving fans bragging rights of being a fan with an early fanclub membership number.
Find out all about how Single works in our tools piece here.