Membership: The Future for Creators
Jack Conte
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Congratulations on Patreon’s progress in enhancing the leverage of patronship through membership models. Patreon is a notable platform success offering many of the features I have suggested in my work on FairPay over the past several years — and outline here.

FairPay seeks to find fair ways to sustain the creation of digital content, in a world in which there is no scarcity to ration the distribution of content. Your tools are beginning to get to the idea of “value discrimination” (which differs from “price discrimination” )— it focuses on value and how it differs from person to person, and fair compensation that sustains the creators of that value at different levels that correspond the the value received by different individuals. The shift in mind set from subscription to membership begins to get to this concept. The objective of FairPay is to build win-win relationships that center on broad notions of value (including cultural and social value). My work (described in my blog, and a highly praised book) can help point to further steps in this direction to benefit creators, patrons, and society.

Examples of how this can work are provided on my blog, most fully in the posts Patron-izing Journalism — Beyond Paywalls, Meters, and Membership and The Future of the Music Business — The Artist is King with FairPay.

FairPay enables personalized pricing levels to be set over the course of a relationship, based on “dialogs about value” that give the patrons real power — but balanced by the power of creators — in the form of a repeated game that drives fair cooperation, as described in FairPay Changes the “Game” of Commerce.

This changes the very nature of economic relationships, and takes us back to traditional models for equity-based exchange, updated to deal with the realities of infinitely replicatable digital goods that have no scarcity to be rationed by an invisible hand, but, rather, through that cooperative game, as An Invisible Handshake for The Digital Wealth of Nations, a patronship agreement that can be managed to fairly sustain creation.

My work on FairPay is pro-bono and in the public domain. I am talking to innovative creators, publishers and content distributors, and would be pleased to help Patreon progress farther in this direction.