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Patreon Vs YouTube Memberships: Which Is Right For You?

By Matthew Vultaggio

January 20, 2022

If you’re looking at memberships as a way to monetize your art or channel, I’ve looked into the differences and similarities between Patreon and YouTube Channel Memberships to help you choose the right platform.

The main difference is that YouTube offers fewer membership tier features but offers more engagement and discovery features while having stricter content policies and taking a higher cut of your income when compared to Patreon.

Patreon has more membership-specific features that you can offer, is easier to get started and they take a significantly small cut of your income.

However, YouTube can provide an easy way for your audience on YouTube to join and they have very robust discovery features such as search and algorithmic recommendations.

So to learn more about how you can choose between YouTube Channel Memberships and Patreon, simply keep on reading, my friend. 🙂

P.S. If you want to see how Patreon compares to other alternatives, check out my article called Patreon Alternatives: How To Pick The Right Membership Platform.

The Main Differences Between YouTube Channel Memberships vs Patreon

When choosing between Patreon and YouTube Memberships, it is important that you look at what they allow you to offer your audience, what features they offer you, and how their pricing works to help choose the right platform for you.

Although Patreon and YouTube Memberships offer similar membership tier features:

The main difference is that YouTube offers fewer membership tier features but offers more engagement features while having stricter content policies and taking a higher cut of your income when compared to Patreon.

In addition to this, it is much easier to get started at any time on Patreon than it is to meet the YouTube Membership requirements.

Because of YouTuber’s strict policies and tendency to demonetize channels, it can be a very smart idea to use Patreon so that you have a separate revenue stream from YouTube to reduce your risk of losing all your income at any time.

Although you will need to create and manage different membership tiers on a separate platform, the cut that Patreon takes is significantly less and you can easily get started at any time.

With that said, YouTube Channel Memberships can provide an easy way for your audience on YouTube to join and it is much easier for you to be discovered since Youtube has robust discovery features like search and recommendations.

...so how can you make the right choice between these 2 platforms?

In the following sections, I’ll show you what you can offer, how the pricing works, how you can get paid, and what features and support each of the 2 platforms offer you in more detail.

Why Choose YouTube Memberships Over Patreon

YouTube Channel Memberships can be a better option than Patreon for any creators that want to keep their community in one place, not have to sign up for and maintain multiple platforms, or already have an established audience on YouTube.

One of the main benefits to YouTube Channel Memberships is that you can provide an easy way for people on YouTube to join and it is easy for you to be discovered since Youtube has robust discovery features like search and recommendations.

This means that the people that are already engaging or discovering you on YouTube can easily subscribe without going anywhere else and can easily pay if they already have a card on file with YouTube or Google.

With that said, it can be difficult to meet the requirements for YouTube Channel Memberships, they take a much larger cut than Patreon, and there are large risks to not diversifying your revenue streams.

YouTube is notorious for demonetizing channels often and then making it very difficult to fight this as they will regularly side with larger corporations and automatically assume that they are in the right and you are not.

In addition to this, YouTube has much stricter content policies which can really restrict what you are able to offer to your audience.

You need to have at least 1000 subscribers and be part of the YouTube Partner program to be able to apply, however, if you already meeting this requirement with your regular channel getting started can be super easy and convenient.

What does YouTube Memberships allow you to offer to your audience?

You can use YouTube Channel Memberships to offer your audience access to different membership tiers and content as well as extra YouTube-specific features like custom emojis, loyalty badges, and highlighted messages in YouTube live chats.

Although you can create different membership tiers similar to like you can with Patreon, you can only create up to 5 different tiers and they must be priced between $1 and $100 USD with the exact prices being pre-determined by YouTube.

Membership tiers can be fulfilled via members-only videos (that can include live streams) as well as through posting to a channel members-only Community Feed where you can post text, GIFs, polls, videos, and more.

Your YouTube channel members will get access to:

  • An exclusive members-only live chat area on your videos
  • The ability to post custom emojis
  • The ability to post special highlighted messages once per month called Member Milestone Chats
  • Have a “Public Membership Badge” next to their name to show off their support

However, you should know that the same strict content policy rules for normal YouTube apply here meaning that you can easily become demonetized.

In addition to not being able to post content that breaks YouTube content policies you are also NOT allowed to offer:

  • Downloads of music that can be found on YouTUbe
  • 1:1 meetings that are in-person
  • No contests or giveaways that only a handful of your members can get at random
  • Anything regarding kids really

Does YouTube Memberships have any discovery features for helping new supporters find you?

One big advantage that YouTube Memberships have when compared to Patreon is that the Memberships platform is built on top of YouTube meaning that the normal discovery, algorithmic, and search features apply here.

YouTube users can search for, discover or have your content recommended to them in several different ways making it much easier for you to be discovered on YouTube than it is with Patreon.

Once a user finds you on YouTube, a simple “Join” button that appears near any of your videos is very clear to see and is easy to access.

How does YouTube Memberships’ pricing work?

Using the YouTube Channel Membership program on your YouTube channel means that YouTube will take a 30% cut for anyone that becomes a paying member.

This cut is quite large on its own and is way more than the 12% cut that Patreon takes on their most expensive plan.

How long does it take to get paid when using YouTube Memberships?

When using YouTube Channel Memberships you can expect to be paid out monthly between the 10th and 14th of each month via a direct deposit through Stripe, PayPal, or Payoneer.

Pay-outs are ultimately made through Google AdSense (just like how Youtubers get paid for monetized channels) meaning that you will need to get set up with AdSense and meet all of those requirements.

When compared to Patreon, the timing and structure of payouts are relatively the same (other than the fact that Youtube uses AdSense for the payout).

What kind of analytics does YouTube Memberships provide?

YouTube Channel Memberships provide additional member-specific insights on top of what they regularly provide with YouTube Analytics.

You will be able to see member insights such as total and active members over a time period of your choosing in addition to revenue, members by level, signs up and cancellations, and cancellation feedback.

You can also view a list of all your current members that show how long they have been a member and how long it has been since they joined, re-joined, upgraded or downgraded.

Is YouTube Memberships safe and legit to use?

YouTube Channel Memberships is safe to use for anyone that wants to sign up as a creator or wants to sign up to support creators. YouTube Memberships have been around since 2018 and have proven to be a safe and legit platform.

With that said, when it comes to consistent financial income, YouTube can definitely be seen as less safe to use simply based on the fact that they can demonetize you at any time.

YouTube is notorious for demonetizing channels often and then making it very difficult to fight this as they will regularly side with larger corporations and automatically assume that they are in the right and you are not.

How good is YouTube Channel Memberships’ support?

Getting support for YouTube Channel Memberships is relatively the same as getting support for Google or Youtube which means that it can be hit or miss.

The main way to contact YouTube Memberships for support is through a detailed contact form on their website that can allow you to choose between a phone call, live chat, or email.

Larger YouTube channels may also get potential access to dedicated support specialists or partner managers which can increase the quality of support that you would receive.

Why Choose Patreon Over YouTube Channel Memberships

Patreon can be a better option than YouTube Channel Memberships for any creators that want to get started at any time, have more ways to offer content, and have a smaller cut taken but don’t mind creating for and managing a separate platform.

In addition to this, Patreon is a really great way to diversify your income streams and to make sure that you are not beholden to any 1 source.

YouTube has much stricter policy rules and is quick to demonetize channels which means it can be very smart to have a separate revenue stream even if you are already well established on YouTube.

Although you will need to create and manage different membership tiers on a separate platform, the cut that Patreon takes is significantly less and it is much easier to get started at any time on Patreon than it is to meet the YouTuber Membership requirements.

What does Patreon allow you to offer to your audience?

The main thing that Patreon allows you to offer your audience is the ability to choose between one of the membership tiers you’ve created that have different prices and benefits (or perks) on a monthly or annual basis.

When on Patreon’s Pro plan, there are no limits to the number of tiers you can offer as opposed to the 5 that you can offer with YouTube Memberships.

Patreon also allows you to create much more detailed members-only posts with post types like text, photo, audio, video, live stream, polls, and more.

You are able to create a hosted page with Patreon and there are several third-party integrations that you can use that YouTube doesn’t have such as Discord and Zapier.

Does Patreon have any discovery features for helping new supporters find you?

Unlike with YouTube, Patreon does not have any discovery features that will help potential supporters find your Patreon page.

Patreon is a membership platform and is in no way a discovery platform, which means you will need to do all of the work bringing people to your Patreon page and convincing them to sign up.

If you want to learn how to get Patreon supporters, the best way is to build an audience off of Patreon first.

How does Patreon’s pricing work?

When compared to YouTube Memberships, Patreon’s pricing is much more generous and provides you with more options as a creator.

Patreon has 3 different plans available to creators that all have no monthly upfront fees or sign-up costs. Instead, Patreon will take 5% to 12% of the monthly income you earn on Patreon in addition to any standard payment processing fees.

To learn everything you need to know about Patreon’s pricing, plans, and fees, check out my article called Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained, my friend. 🙂

How long does it take to get paid when using Patreon?

Getting paid out with Patreon is very similar to how it is with YouTube Memberships.

After choosing a Patreon plan, getting your first patrons to join, and having their payments processed, you will be able to receive your payout (minus the creator and payment processing fees) on a monthly basis.

Patreon processes payments on the 1st of each month and they recommend that all creators wait until the 5th to allow Patreon some time to recover any declined payments first.

What kind of analytics does Patreon provide?

Patreon only provides analytics to creators that are on their “Pro” plan.

The analytics that Patreon provides include data on your Patreon page, posts, income, number of patrons, income growth, and more. Patreon also offers a Google Analytics integration.

Is Patreon safe to use?

Patreon is safe to use for anyone that wants to sign up as a creator or wants to sign up to support creators. Patreon has been around since 2013 and has proven to be a safe and legit platform.

Patreon also has less strict content policies and does not often kick creators off of their platform which greatly reduces your risk of randomly being demonetized.

How good is Patreon’s support?

Patreon offers weekly demo sessions where you can ask questions and you can contact them through Twitter or a detailed contact form on their website (with several fields to fill out depending on what your request is).

How To Get Supporters & An Audience That Supports Your Art

Whether you use YouTube Channel Memberships or Patreon, you will need to have an audience that actually wants to support you if you want to make money on either platform.

The best way to get Patreon supporters is to first build an audience and community around your art or creative endeavor off of your membership site and to freely provide that audience and community with overwhelming value.

Remember that most memberships don’t have any discovery features so they won’t bring in new fans. Instead, they simply allow your current fans the opportunity to choose to support you financially.

When you have an audience with an engaged community, only then will you be able to successfully grow your membership by offering them membership tiers that they actually want to join.

To learn how you can get Patreon supporters by growing an audience and community and exactly how you can make effective offers, check out my article called How To Get Patreon Supporters. 🙂

How To Create Effective Membership Tiers

At the end of the day, the main reason that anyone in the world is going to sign up for your Patreon is if they completely understand how being a patron benefits them and they feel like they are getting overwhelming value for the cost.

The best way to create highly effective tiers for your Patreon or membership is by leveraging a concept used in marketing called ‘Marketing Funnels’ or Funnel Mapping.

By leveraging a marketing funnel, you can simplify what you offer and organize it in a way that is very easy for both you and your potential patrons to follow.

For a closer look at each of these funnel steps in more detail below and what you can consider offering for each specific level, check out my full guide to tiers, perks, and rewards called Patreon Ideas For Artists & Musicians. 🙂

How To Build A Content Plan For Your Membership That Keeps Supporters Coming Back

If supporters don’t feel like they are getting any use out of your membership because you aren’t posting enough or aren’t posting things that they enjoy, it is no secret that they will eventually stop paying for it.

The best way to build a successful membership program is to consistently release new content by combining a recurring content strategy with a content calendar.

Recurring content allows you to build your audience, optimize your membership tiers, and make sure your supporters keep coming back for more.

To learn how you can start publishing regular content that builds your audience and keeps your supporters happy without completely stressing you out, check out my article called Patreon Content: Ultimate Guide To Ideas & What To Post. 🙂

What Patreon Plan Is Right For Your Project?

When reviewing Patreon’s plans, it can quickly become clear that you need to join the Pro or Premium plan to make the most out of the Patreon platform.

Although the creator fees are lowest for their “Lite” plan, when comparing Patreon Lite Vs Pro the huge difference that you will find is that you can’t actually create individual membership tiers with the Lite plan.

So, for a full breakdown of the 3 different Patreon plans available to you, what features you get, and which is the right plan for your unique project, check out my full article on Patreon Pricing, Plans & Fees Explained. 🙂

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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