Patreon's API unlocks rewards across the web for art funders

Josh Constine

Pay a monthly subscription to a content creator on Patreon, and now it will earn you exclusive access to their patron-only WordPress blog, Discourse forums, Discord chatrooms, and soon, other apps like Slack. Essentially, Patreon is becoming your content membership card for the whole Internet, not just its site. And with each new perk opened up by this platform, subscriptions become more valuable and more people will start to fund the artists they love directly.

Over 1 million subscribers already pay an average of $12 per month to over 50,000 creators on Patreon ranging from illustrators to political commentators to videographers to comedians. It's on track to double both sides of its membership marketplace each year. And with $107 million in funding including last month's $60 million Series C led by Thrive, it has the fuel to build out this new platform.

It's all possible thanks to Patreon's new API, which anyone build into their product through the Patreon Developer Portal to become a place where patrons can bring their membership. Then, these third-party products will appear in the new App Directory that creators can choose from to extend the benefits of backing them beyond Patreon.

That App Directory now includes Zapier, that allows creators to integrate other business apps to assist in managing their patrons like MailChimp email marketing, Google Sheets, Twitter, Crowdcast live video, and 750 more.

Patreon's VP of biz dev and partnerships Brent Horowitz sees this as "Hundreds of spokes organized around this hub called membership, not beholden to or stuck with any one single platform." The way Facebook login brought your social graph and profile information to other sites, Patreon wants to do the same with your membership benefits.

And the partnered sites and apps should benefit too. Linking up with the Patreon platform could bring business tools and content hubs a new influx of clients and creators. Instead of having to build a member-only tier from scratch, sites like WordPress or Discourse can piggyback on Patreon. They won't earn any of the tiny 5% cut Patreon takes from subscriptions, but they could gain access to the most beloved makers on the web and the fan bases that follow them anywhere.

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