The Death of the Follower
and the Future of Creativity on the Web
In a thought-provoking keynote at SXSW 2024, Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, shared his perspectives on the evolving internet landscape and its impact on creators and creativity.
Drawing from his own journey as a musician and the founding of Patreon, Conte painted a picture of how the web has transformed from the static pages of Web 1.0 to the user-generated content of Web 2.0, enabled by the revolutionary "subscribe" button that allowed creators to build followings.
However, Conte warned that the 2010s ushered in the era of ranking algorithms, which disrupted the direct creator-fan connection by prioritizing engagement over subscriptions. This trend accelerated with the rise of TikTok and the "For You" feed, effectively abandoning the concept of following altogether.
As platforms compete for attention, Conte fears the 2020s could mark the "death of the follower" - a grave threat to professional creativity online.
Despite these challenges, Conte remains optimistic that the true power of the follow and direct fan connections will prevail. He cited emerging companies like Discord, Kajabi, and Gumroad as part of a new wave focused on fostering deeper creator-audience relationships rather than just maximizing reach.
At Patreon, Conte outlined a vision to become the "media, community, and business foundation" for the next decade of professional creativity online. New tools like video communities, commerce integrations, and live experiences aim to help creators build vibrant fan bases and sustainable businesses around their "true fans" - the small but devoted segment driving the bulk of their success.
Beyond technology, Conte urged creators to invest in cultivating those true fan connections, make work that inspires them personally, and stay anchored to their core creative purpose amid the internet's shifting tides.
As the web continues evolving, knowing one's "why" as an artist will be paramount.
Conte's clarion call resonated with creators feeling increasingly disconnected from their audiences amidst algorithm shifts. By championing an internet built around creative freedom, direct fan relationships, and meaningful art, Patreon is staking its future on empowering the passion-driven creativity that gives the online world culture and soul.
A concise analysis specifically focusing on the Music category within Patreon's ecosystem as of February 2024:
April 1994
Music Category Insights
  • Position in Patreon's Ecosystem: The Music category is one of the platform's lucrative segments, though not the top earner when compared to others like Video and Podcasts.
  • Monthly Creator Earnings: Music creators on Patreon earned a combined total of approximately $900.33 thousand as of February 2024. This places Music behind Video ($5.65 million) and Podcasts ($3.51 million) in terms of total monthly creator earnings.
  • Growth Opportunity: Despite not being the top earner, the Music category presents a significant opportunity for growth and engagement, given Patreon's supportive environment for creators.
Over 8 million patrons and more than 240,000 creators across various categories, with lifetime creator earnings surpassing $3.5 billion.
Strategic Recommendations for Music Creators:
  1. Engagement and Community Building: Focus on creating unique, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. Encourage community interaction through exclusive offers, Q&A sessions, and behind-the-scenes content.
  2. Diversification of Content: Explore cross-category collaborations, such as integrating music with podcasts or video series, to tap into broader audiences and increase visibility on the platform.
  3. Leverage Patreon's Features: Utilize Patreon's tiered membership options to offer varied content and exclusive benefits, encouraging higher levels of patronage.
  4. Promotion Outside Patreon: Enhance your Patreon presence through social media and other digital platforms. This drives traffic to your Patreon page and increases subscriber numbers.
MINY made a standout debut at SXSW 2024, introducing the groundbreaking MINY to the world.

???? Discover the future of music collection—where vinyl nostalgia meets digital innovation.

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