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Patreon is changing the way that artists live and work in the 21st century. Artists have unprecedented opportunities for exposure, but monetizing that exposure and making a living is still difficult in the age of ad blockers and free access to art. Patreon is changing the model by connecting creators directly to their audiences and giving fans the opportunity to support creators with small recurring pledges. There are over 50,000 creators on Patreon, and the top creators have tens of thousands of patrons.
It’s tempting to compare Patreon to Kickstarter with its tiers, pledges, and goals, but there’s a fundamental difference in Patreon campaigns, which are often sustained efforts. It’s not about creating a single project, but contributing to a creator’s ongoing work. We’ve compiled a list of the top creators on Patreon who have continuing support from a massive stable of engaged fans.
Philip DeFranco is one of the most watched YouTubers in recent history. On his most noteworthy show, The Philip DeFranco Show, DeFranco shares his thoughts on current political and social issues. With over 5,454,875 subscribers and nearly 2 billion views on his channel, he’s one of the most recognizable, successful and passionate online personalities.
Chapo Trap House is a popular podcast that focuses on politics and absurd humor, and is presented by hosts Will Menaker, Matt Christman, Felix Biederman, Amber A’Lee Frost, Virgil Texas and Brendan James. They’ve broadcast over 185 episodes, and have garnered a cult following due to their passion for humorous political conversation.
Amanda Palmer is a singer/songwriter, writer and artist. She uses her Patreon funding to continue her work creating songs, posters, books, and more. Her work is a rich tapestry of everything from Prince tributes to original music videos, and Palmer frequently shares her writings and blog posts to keep her community of patrons active and engaged.
An author, neuroscientist, and philosopher from Los Angeles, California, Sam Harris is a man of many talents. He shares his insight regularly in his popular podcast Waking Up, which focuses on the topics of religion in society and social and economic politics. Harris has also published several books commenting on religion, science, and morality.
Popular YouTube channel Kurzgesagt (which translates to in “in a nutshell”) is run by a small Munich-based animation team that focuses on creating beautifully animated educational YouTube videos. The group produces videos on a number of topics ranging from politics to philosophy and science to pop culture. Through impressive animation and compelling ideas like “Mini Black Hole,” the channel has drawn in over 4 million subscribers since 2013.
Second Captains is a sports broadcasting radio program and podcast based in Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 2013 by Eoin McDevitt, Ken Early, Mark Horgan, Ciarán Murphy, and Simon Hick, the five-man team now broadcasts one of the most popular programs in Ireland four times each week. It has been recognized as Ireland’s most listened-to podcast, and was the first radio program to go from a traditional radio setting to an online broadcast in Ireland.
CrashCourse is an educational YouTube channel created by the Green brothers, Hank & John Green. Since its inception in 2011, CrashCourse has drawn over 6 million subscribers and produced 23 seasons covering a wide range of topics like U.S. History, economics, and computer science. CrashCourse’s fast-paced, informative videos have been watched over 620 million times.
CPG Grey is a podcaster and educational YouTube video creator. Though audiences know he’s from New York, he uses a voiceover technique in his videos to maintain his anonymity. His short explanatory videos often cover topics like history, politics, geography, culture, and economics, and he currently has two podcast series: Hello internet, and Cortex.
Kinda Funny is a YouTube channel created in 2015 by four best friends who shared a common goal: making people laugh. Greg Miller, Colin Moriarty, Nick Scarpino, and Tim Gettys create videos that comment on games, pop culture, snacks, comics, politics, and more. They received the Trending Gamer Award in 2015 and continue to post wildly popular videos.
AvE is a popular Canadian YouTuber who creates mechanics-focused content. His engaged fan base uses Patreon to help fund his in-depth, high-quality videos, which feature him tearing down and building machines with humorous commentary. AvE’s most popular videos include a “Machining 101” video and “The Impossible Done on a Drilling Machine.”