Patreon is a platform designed to help artists and other content creators monetize their work. It works as a cross between a subscription service and online gallery, with Patreon itself taking a healthy percentage of the profits. Creators have the option of receiving the left-overs via automatic transfer or voluntary withdrawal into Paypal or Stripe.
Over the last week, Patreon has started disrupting this process. Several creators have tried to withdraw from Patreon into their Paypal accounts. Normally this process is instantaneous. Now such creators are told that, due to their volume of withdrawals, their accounts at Patreon are under scruntiny and their withdrawal will take up to 10 days to process! This response appears largely universal, regardless of whether a creator draws their income regularly or just once a month.
As a payment processor, Patreon has consistently failed to best serve the interest of creators. However, this is the first time that they have actively worked against them. Due to the corona virus, most countries are experiencing some form of lockdown. Companies, deprived of customers, have been forced to close or lay off staff. The self-employed – such as tattoists and designers – are forced to live on their dwindling savings or subsist solely on what they can generate online.
With this unprecedented delay of payment, Patreon is worsening the economic crisis for those among the most vulnerable – freelance artists and content creators. A creator may now have to wait up to 10 days to receive earnings via Paypal . Transferring funds from their Paypal to a bank account can take up to an additional 3 – 5 days, depending on the country. Creators are going to be unable to pay rent, utility bills, buy food.
And for one simple reason.
Because Patreon is suddenly applying this new measure en masse in the middle of an economic crisis. One has to query their timing.