Here's a great take on the explosive growth of the "getting creators paid" economy in the next ten years.

In this video, the creator of Patreon predicts "the stigma of the starving artist disappears. It's gone from earth."


He is not wrong.

I would emphasize the importance of disintermediation, however, so that when your preferred payment platform goes under you can reach your customers easily.

Which Patreon won't tell you.

@mwlucas The part that excites me the most is the sheer number of companies entering the "getting creators paid" business. Competition increases the likelihood of someone in that space offering the ability to port all your paying followers to another platform.

@mwlucas That having been said, a creator with a successful following can probably keep most of them if they jump to a new platform, regardless of what the old platform wants. For example, I followed Scott Alexander from SlateStarCodex to AstralCodexTen on Substack, and he's doing better there than he was before.

@mwlucas When a YouTube creator doesn't get enough of a following to generate a profit, they are contributing uncompensated labor to YouTube, to drive traffic into a recommendation algorithm that introduces followers to creators they like. This drives traffic to pay ad revenue to YouTube or popular creators.

This same critique is mistakenly leveled at Substack even though it doesn't apply.

@mwlucas Unlike an advertising-model site like YouTube, subscription platforms are not a site where people go to discover creators. They go directly to the creator they already like, and their only loyalty is to the creator and the community around the creator, not to the platform as a destination in and of itself. Therefore what consistently happens, is that most of them follow the creator onto whichever platform.


All true.

After all these years, though, I don't trust any third parties. I want 100% direct connections with my readers as much as possible.

I've been pondering how one would provide that as a canned, mass-scale service that people could easily take with them.

@mwlucas It's very cool that you have the technical mastery to do that, and you should!

Have you considered self-hosting Ghost? It's an open-source alternative for paid subscription newsletters. They've been around the block a while. They make a profit hosting their software for people, but you can just spin up a prepackaged VPN droplet of Ghost on DigitalOcean and run it yourself.

@matt What I'd really like to do is set up a wordpress-like system that includes everything an author needs, including patronage and an e-product store, and can easily be managed at scale.

Set it up so when the author is sufficiently successful, they can hire their own preferred vendor.

But that would take time, and effort, and thought, so I can't be bothered.

@mwlucas Yeah, these are self-hosted systems I'm excited about. What you describe sounds kind of compatible with the POSSE philosophy-- "Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Everywhere" which refers to. I'm working on a roll-your-own ecommerce site that uses Netflify's serverless functions to integrate Stripe payments into a static site. That way, I can sell my inventory of board games directly, without paying an arm and a leg for ecommerce.


@matt @mwlucas for everyone in the EU, the GDPR‘s data transferability requirements could be a partial solution to that. If you and your customers move to a new platform, and your old platform is required to provide a machine-readable export of your data, a new platform could link your new accounts on import. This is obviously content on the enforcement of completeness of export and machine-readability by relevant authorities.

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