The 2010s saw a revolution in the way entertainment was made and distributed. Rather than relying on traditional publishers and distributors, content creators began releasing their works independently, completely divorced from the typical business proceedings. And while independent and self-published releases have always been a mainstay in entertainment, never before have audiences played such a direct role in an entertainer's content.
The social media age allows content creators to remain personally close to their audience, and they often profit directly from their fans via donations rather than traditional sales. And this is where Patreon comes into play.
These are the ten biggest Patreon channels of 2019.
10 The Last Podcast On The Left
The Last Podcast on the Left is a very popular podcast concerning the macabre. Three hosts - Marcus, Ben, and Henry - discuss weekly topics concerning serial killers, UFOs, mysterious events, cults; basically anything involving real or imagined horrors plaguing the world. They also use comedy to their advantage, often riffing on the ridiculousness of such topics. They currently sit around 11,400 patrons, with an average per patron donation of $5. Overall, the podcast is taking in just under $56,000 a month, which is frankly amazing for such a niche form of entertainment.
9 CGP Grey
CGP Grey is a YouTuber and podcast host. His YouTube channel consists of explanatory videos surrounding complex topics including politics, history, and economics, and his podcast, Hello Internet, concerns the production of YouTube videos and the personal costs associated with being a full-time YouTuber. He also co-hosts the podcast with Brady Haran, known for the Periodic Videos and Numberphile videos. CGP Grey currently sits at 11,600 patrons and an average monthly income of $33,000.
8 Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell
Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell is a German YouTube channel that currently sits at 9.6 million subscribers. The channel utilizes a unique, minimalist animation style and discusses various complex subjects in short, digestible bits of information. In fact, the name Kurzgesagt comes from the German kurz gesagt, which translates to "said in short," or informally, "in a nutshell." The Patreon is currently sitting at 12,500 Patrons, and while their earnings per month is not published, they are estimated to be between $25,000 and $103,000.
7 Benjamin Thomas Hed
Benjamin Thomas Hed is a recent addition to Patreon, having only popped up in January of 2019. However, the channel has rapidly risen in that time to become one of the most profitable on the website. Ben Hed is the creator of Pet Foolery, a popular Instagram page that posts funny pet-related comics.
The page currently has over two million subscribers, and each comic racks up upwards of 500,000 likes. And who said the comic art form was dead? Benjamin Thomas Hed is currently ranked first in the comics category with just under 15,000 patrons, resulting in an estimated monthly income between $31,000 and $90,000. Now that is one rich comic writer!
6 Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer is a singer and musician who was once a part of The Dresden Dolls and Evelyn Evelyn, acts typically associated with baroque pop and the "dark cabaret" genre. She has also released three studio albums as a solo artist, including Theatre of Evil, which was funded entirely through Kickstarter, and There Will Be No Intermission, which was funded through Patreon. After all, Patreon is basically just the late 2010s version of Kickstarter! Amanda currently sits at 15,400 patrons, and brings in an estimated $31,000 to $126,000 per month. We don't know much about the music industry, but that seems like sufficient money to produce an album!
5 True Crime Obsessed
If there's one thing this list is proving, it's that true crime podcasts make a killing. Much like The Last Podcast on the Left, True Crime Obsessed recaps true crime stories using humor, although it focuses primarily on documentaries rather than the general stories themselves. So, if you too are a true crime documentary fiend, then True Crime Obsessed is your podcast! True Crime Obsessed is currently sitting at 17,700 patrons, and is estimated to take in between $50,000 and $127,000 per month. Audiences are REALLY willing to pay for their true crime fix!
4 Jim C. Swim
According to the Patreon channel, "Jim C. Swim is creating interrogation analysis and psychology videos!" These videos can be found on the JCS - Criminal Psychology YouTube channel, which as of writing is sitting at 280,000 subscribers. These videos include the interrogation of Col. Russell Williams and analyzing the psychology of Ted Bundy. What did we say about true crime being a lucrative business? The Patreon channel is currently ranked 1st in the video category, with 18,000 patrons. The estimated monthly haul lands between $36,000 and $149,000.
Much like Kickstarter, Patreon is a fantastic service for funding video games. Such is the case with DarkCookie and his adult-oriented game, Summertime Saga. According to the game's website, "Summertime Saga is an adult oriented high quality dating game" that featutes 65 unique characters and over 20 mini games. We can only imagine what those "mini games" entail. As of writing, DarkCookie has 19,200 patrons with an average pledge of $3. The current earnings per month stands at $53,600. Turns out, there's also money in the adult industry. Although that shouldn't really be a surprise...
2 Brandon Stanton
Brandon Stanton is proving that Instagram is revolutionizing the photo industry. He is the creator of Humans of New York, an incredibly popular photoblog containing portraits and stories of random people found on the streets of New York City. The Instagram page currently sits just under 10 million followers, and each photo receives hundreds of thousands of likes. They are the kind of pictures and business that make it look easy, when it's really anything but. Brandon Stanton is currently sitting at 21,300 patrons, earning an estimated monthly between $28,000 and $226,000! We don't think too many photographers are hauling in that kind of cash on the regular...
1 Chapo Trap House
Chapo Trap House is a popular political podcast known for its left wing slant. And while the podcast leans left, that's not to say that they refrain from general criticism of their favored parties - pundits from every ideology are frequently derided, including conservatives, liberals, neoliberals, and moderates. The Patreon page currently sits at 31,100 patrons, making it far and away the most popular Patreon page of 2019. Each patron donates around $5, resulting in a monthly income averaging $140,000. Pretty darn good for such an over-saturated market as political podcasting!