Why wouldn’t this work? Supporting creators and distancing from the advertisement-based model

Patreon money for everyone!

Marc Cocchio
3 min readJun 13, 2023

Here’s a quick idea to think about. How many independent creators do you truly appreciate? Personally, there are probably about a dozen creators (or teams of creators) in the form of youtubers, podcasters, musicians and writers whose stuff I love and I wish I could help support them.

I could buy their albums to listen to in my non-existent CD player. I could hit their subscribe button and engage in discourse, feeding the ad-driven, data-collecting, mysterious-algorhythm-having systems owned by a handful of companies. I could buy their merch, a 20$ tshirt that I don’t really need shipped from who-knows-where.

I could subscribe to their patreon. But, how do I decide who deserves my eight bucks a month? Not that its perfectly comparable, but for a little more than double that, I get thousands hundreds of hours of new monthly million-dollar-content from Netflix. That’s not even considering the infinite (in comparison to our individual existence) hours of content in their catalogue already.

That makes my eight monthly bucks to the weekly podcaster seem like way too much. Or wait, does it? Basically two dollars for each podcast, at an hour each? Two measly dollars for an entire hour of specifically selected niche content, that’s actually a deal!

But wait a minute. I want to support all 10 of my favorite creative projects. That’s $80 a month. I can think of that as way too much, comparing it to my netflix subscription or my internet bill. As not all the projects I want to subscribe to are long-form-podcasts, the “time is money” model of thinking how many dollars I am paying per hour of received content falls apart, quick. Eighty bucks is a lot for a lot of people.

So far, I think the patreon model is a pretty good one, letting creators create. And I wish I had more money to give, so they could keep creating. I wish I had money to give up-and-coming creators, maybe for content that I think will get good in the future. But I, and a lot of other people, don’t part that easily with $80 bucks a month.

The current alternative is to suck it up. Ads everywhere, content behind paywalls, struggling creators lagging behind on their own imposed schedules, algorithms swallowing stuff up to be forgotten, somehow.

If only we all had an extra eighty bucks, or heck, let’s round it up to an easy one hundred, to give. What if?

What if we, as a society, decided that art is valuable. Too valuable to be half-owned, moderated, and littered with ads by massive corporations. What if we had a universal basic income, but for creators.

Here’s where it gets weird. The creators, themselves, don’t automatically get this income. Every single person gets, let’s say, a crisp hundred bucks. But the catch is that this hundred bucks, in the form of some kind of digital monthly cash-card thing, can only be used for monthly patreon (or something similar) subscriptions.

The government redistributes a hundred dollars to every individual each month. That hundred dollars is limited, in that it can only be given to creators, in limited blocks of, say, ten bucks.

Yeah, people will find a way to abuse this. Circle of 10 friends, all pay into eachothers’ fake patreons each month, each essentially getting the hundred bucks to keep for themselves. And we wouldn’t police that. If they’re that desperate, they probably need a hundred bucks.

Would more people flood the market, creating just for the sake of getting a piece of this brand-new pie? Yes, of course. And I bet a few of those creators would make nice art, too. Nice.

What happens if you don’t use all hundred bucks? Well, it basically returns back to the system, resetting your government funded art-encouraging hundred bucks monthly card back to a hundred bucks at the beginning of each month.

I dunno, I’m still thinking about it. But this might work.



Marc Cocchio

Both a creative and critical thinker, I am a Python programmer, UX designer, and woodworker, based in Japan.