Patrons: Kickstarter Meets Artist Fan Clubs [Free Startup Idea]

The idea of Patrons is to create a super easy way for fans to support their favorite artists (with money!).

The idea actually pretty dear to me. I spent about 6 weeks working through the concept, doing customer development, and beginning to build the Facebook app. I planned on pursuing the idea for real, but decided to team up with Eli to start what would become Glider. If you’re curious to find out more about my motivation, have a read through the Patrons “About” Page.

Let’s dig in:


Musicians, writers, and creators of all kinds are giving away more and more of their stuff for free. They’re building bigger fan bases, but making a living is harder than ever. Content is getting cheaper and cheaper (and usually free or pirated). The revenue artists do generate has to be split amongst several players and middlemen.

The thing is, fans want to support the things they love, but they no longer want to buy content. However, they will buy experiences, exclusivity, and a sense of belonging.


Patrons makes it simple for fans to make a monthly pledge to artists (like a monthly donation).  Similar to Kickstarter, there are different pledge levels and rewards, that artists create. Patrons facilities and handles transactions, etc. These rewards could be exclusive content, behind the scenes access, limited editions, etc. And it all happens on the artists Facebook Fan Page.

Patrons: Kickstarter Meets Artist Fan Clubs [Free Startup Idea]



  • Fans Value Prop: Directly support artists you love and receive exclusive content.
  • Artists Value Prop: Brand new subscription based revenue stream from fans.

It is a two sided market:

  • Artists (musicians, writers, comedians, fine artists, etc)
  • Fans (people who love the artists and subscribe to pay a monthly subscription to them)


  • The path to fans is through the artists.
  • The path to artists is primarily direct outreach in the beginning.
  • It may be interesting to make it opt-out like Readability did. Fans can sign up to subscribe to any artist, then we contact the artists to let them know that they are leaving money on the table. Warning: this may piss off some artists.


There’s no up-front cost for artists. We take a % off all the transactions fans pay to the artists. This percentage would be about inline with what Kickstarter does: 5% off the top with the rest going to the artist after transaction fees.

So, what do you think? Up for the challege? If you’re interested in running with it, I’ll help you out in any way I can. And I promise to use it!

Published by

Justin Thiele

Justin Thiele is co-founder of Glider (formerly named Superbly), where he leads marketing. He earned some early battle scars co-founding Mugasha, an online music service, which ran for three years. Needing a break, he joined AppSumo as an early employee before going to GadgetTrak, a startup building theft recovery software, as the Marketing Director. While there, he built CameraTrace, a spin-off for tracking stolen cameras.

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