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Patreon vs Youtube Channel Membership - What should I choose?


Posted at:06/08/2021

         In this age of internet, creators heavily use content distribution sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and others to publish their work and engage with their fans. Given the enormous effort they expended on these platforms, it is inevitable for them to find value in running their membership businesses through them as well. That’s how content platforms see new revenue streams in the fan-creator relationship now. In addition to operating off ad revenue, many are testing ways for creators to directly monetize fans.

Patreon and Youtube Channel Memberships are two striking examples. In this article, we are going to introduce and compare them in the following aspects:

  • What are Patreon and Youtube Channel Memberships?
  • Who are eligible for Patreon and Youtube?
  • How can creators interact with the audience?
  • What are the respective membership fees?
  • How do creators get paid?
  • How is the Money Split?
  • What content can you create for your audience?

What are Patreon and Youtube Channel Memberships?

Patreon, founded in May 2013, is an American membership platform that provides business tools for content creators to run a subscription service. Basically, it allows creators to monetize their work and develop a recurring income stream. Patreon is widely used by YouTube videographers, webcomic artists, writers, podcasters, musicians, adult content creators, and other categories of creators who post regularly online.

What Patreon sells to creators is financial stability. Unlike the fluctuating algorithm of traditional ad revenue on Youtube, Patreon is a place where members can pledge a certain amount of money every month in exchange of special benefits such Bonus Content, Behind The Scenes, Early Viewing, Unlisted Video Access, Live Hangouts etc etc. From another perspective, creators also build a more direct, meaningful connection with their audience.

In 2018, Youtube introduces channel memberships, merchandise and premieres. Youtube Channel Memberships are effectively the same as Patreon, a way for members to gain access to members-only posts in the Community tab. In addition, members are able to purchase public badges and emojis, as well as other channel-specific perks that may change over time. For each Youtube channel, its membership payment depends on the individual creator and the membership level

It must be noted that it is vital for content creators to diversify their revenue streams to achieve greater income stability. Thus, prudent creators already know to diversify their income by building a presence at more of these platforms. Yet, the trade off is less effort focused on getting to the top, in other words, the subscribers are more scattered. It is relatively more difficult for them to get the top clicks or accumulate the top number of fans on one single platform and generate incredibly high income.

Some major differences at a glance

Benefits of Patreon Benefits of Youtube
  • Better interface and feature rich posts
  • Members, compared to that of Youtube, are more used to pay and enjoy the contents of creators
  • Greater freedom in content delivery
  • Smaller amount of processing fee as compared to youtube, in other words, creators receive a higher percent of revenue
  • No subscriber restriction
  • Starting convenience: No need to open a separate Patreon account and you can simply activate the channel membership on Youtube
  • Ease of maintenance: No need to deliver special and exclusive content separately for paid members every so often.

Who are eligible for the platforms respectively?

In order to be eligible for the Youtube channel membership, creators will need to have 1000 subscribers or more, be over 18 and be members of the Youtube Partner Program.

However, there are no restriction on number of subscribers to open a Patreon subscription service.

How can creators interact with the audience?

For Youtube Channel membership, creators can simply post on the Channel Community Feed (visible only to Members) and marked as “Members Only Posts”. As it is native to Youtube, subscribers can stay on the Youtube channel and pay creators for exclusive video content. As the creator, you get to decide how these benefits are organized and who gets to access them. For example, you might decide level one members get loyalty badges that display when they leave a comment; and level two members get access to your live streams. 

Similarly, creators have to open an account on Patreon and post their videos on Private feed. Notifications will delivered to members via emal or the Patreon App. Creators can also ask their Patrons to join the membership with fully customizable tiers and benefits.

What are the respective membership fees?

When it comes to revenue, there are a variety of pricing options in Youtubecreators are free to dictate the value of their content by setting different fee levels, ranging from USD0.99 and USD100 per month. After adjusting for currency rates, the same money range applies to other countries where Channel Memberships are available.

To see all the pricing options, click here.

Example on youtube

Similarly, for patreons, it is also up to each creator how much they want to charge their members, and how many membership tiers they want to offer and what perks they want to offer with a membership subscription, as well as the tiers each of the perks can be accessed from. The most common base tier price you can expect to see is about $5; but again, there are no set rules here and plenty of creators have lower- and higher-priced base tiers.

 Example on Patreon

How do creators get paid?

Unless the Youtubers are a part of a multi-channel network (MCN), all payments are issued through their AdSense account once the earnings have been finalized. To get their payments, Youtubers need to sign into their AdSense account and make sure they have resolved all payment holds. YouTube pays monthly, typically between the 10th and 14th day of the month.

There are three methods you can use to get paid by Patreon - direct deposit via Stripe, PayPal, and Payoneer.

Stripe Send money to your checking account
PayPal Transfer the money to your bank. Alternatively, you can apply for a PayPal debit or credit card and use that to withdraw money at ATMs or make purchases online or at stores.
Payonner Creators who live outside the United States: you can use Payoneer. It allows you to transfer money to your bank or use a Payoneer card to access your cash.

You can manually withdraw your balance or have Patreon do an automatic withdrawal on the 5th of the month. Deposits typically arrive within 1-5 business days, depending on your payout method.


How is money spilt?

For both platforms, it is completely free to start off an account. However, both take up a certain percentage of monthly income creators earn.

Patreon Youtube
  • Platform fee: pick 1 out of the 3 plans; taking 5-12% of the monthly income creators earn
  • The cheapest plan has limited features.
  • Payment processing fees: Standard rate: 2.9% + USD 0.30 per successful payment over $3; or Micropayment rate: 5% + USD0.10 per successful payment $3 or less
For more information, you can refer to the official website
  • Platform fee: Youtube takes 30% and covers transaction costs and payment processing fees.
  • Payment processing fees: Creators receive 70% of membership revenue after applicable taxes and fees are deducted. All transaction costs (including credit card fees) are currently covered by YouTube.
 For more information, you can refer to the official website.


Different plans on patreon


What content can you create for your audience?

In most cases, violent, graphic, or humiliating fetishes are not allowed on YouTube. Posting these kinds of content may result in content removal or channel termination. Videos containing nudity or fetish content will be removed or age-restricted.

For videos that may not be appropriate for viewers under 18,  Youtube may place an age-restriction on the video. This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, custom thumbnails, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature.


Indeed, another reason why content creators switch from YouTube to Patreon is to post contents that would violate YouTube’s guidelines and be demonetized. Examples include topics that are related to violence or contain offensive language (e.g. curse words). For example, nudity is allowed on Patreon as long as it is flagged accordingly. Content with mature themes should be marked as “Patron Only” and the page should be marked ‘adult content’. This means that you cannot post nudity in public areas including your profile picture, banner, tier images or about me section. Nevertheless, there are also guidelines on Patreon against funding pornograph, which is defined real people engaging in sexual acts such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera.


Full community guidelines of Patreon: here

Full community guidelines of Youtube: here



In short, these memberships are a great way for creators to easily supplement their income, and make it easier for creators to keep doing what they do best: creating. While creators likely appreciate support in any form it comes in, there’s probably a better way to financially support your favorite creators. Patreon is a better option than Youtube, simply because members can donate to them directly and they’ll receive a higher percent of the donation from members.



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