After Nixing Spotify Pact, Joe Budden Launches Patreon Subscriptions and Joins as ‘Creator Equity’ Adviser

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Joe Budden thinks he got shafted by Spotify on his podcast. Now he’s throwing in with Patreon, the platform built to let artists and creators support themselves through fan subscriptions — and Budden, a top podcaster and a prominent voice in the hip-hop community, has signed on to work with Patreon to promote its mission of fostering creative independence.

Looking to expand his media brand, Budden has launched the Joe Budden Network on Patreon, offering a range of bonus content and perks to subscribers on three different tiers (priced at $5, $10 and $25 per month). Budden also has joined Patreon in an advisory role as “head of creator equity,” a paid position in which he’ll collaborate with the company on pro-creator programs and policies.

After his acrimonious split with Spotify last year, “I spoke to everybody under the sun. I spoke to a lot of companies about the true value of things,” Budden told Variety.

Budden landed a phone call with Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon — and the two clicked. “We were aligned in our ideology and our view of things,” said Budden. “I walked away from those conversations with a good feeling. Having a platform like Patreon actually wanting to do right for creators, that was such an abnormal feeling — but it shouldn’t be.”

Conte, who cofounded Patreon in 2013 after he grew frustrated trying to eke out a living on YouTube as an indie musician, said he established the company precisely to give creators like Budden financial and creative freedom. “Tech companies pay creators the minimum they can get away with,” Conte said. “It’s not just Spotify, it’s YouTube, Google, Facebook and others. These platforms are paying creators a fraction of what they’re worth.”

Added Conte, “Joe and I share an anger and an unwillingness to put up with the BS of these distributors and the current infrastructure.”

Patreon offers three different packages for creators, with additional features and benefits at higher levels: Lite (with the company taking 5% of earnings), Pro (8%) and Premium (12%). Each of those is lower than the revenue-sharing splits virtually all other platforms take.

Members who join the new Joe Budden Network on Patreon ( will have access to a range of exclusive benefits. The entry-level Homies tier ($5/month) includes one bonus video podcast per month, priority notice on live events and access to a members-only chat community on Discord. Family ($10/month) steps that up to two bonus video podcasts per month plus merch discounts, patron-only polls and live event pre-sale codes. Friend of the Show ($25/month) includes all that plus new Joe Budden Network franchise content including behind-the-scenes content and episodes of a new show, “Journey.”

“We have so much more to say with the state of the world,” Budden said, beyond the regular twice-weekly podcasts with his friends Jamil “Mal” Clay and Rory Farrell. “This is for the fans who want more access.” Budden said he never considered putting everything behind a paywall: “I don’t believe you step off the porch and start asking for something from your audience.”

Budden, 40, took his podcast off Spotify last fall when his two-year contract was up; his last episode on the service was Sept. 19, 2020. Since then, he’s distributed “The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal” on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Google and YouTube.

For its part, Spotify has said that the audio streamer made Budden “a considerable offer” that was “many times the value of the existing agreement and reflective of the current market and size of his audience.” In the end, Budden walked away, calling Spotify’s proposal a “bum-ass deal.”

More than three months later, Budden called his original Spotify exclusive pact “a great deal at the time” but that “the market changed.” “The relationship had run its course, if I’m being honest,” he said. “We were no longer aligned in our paths and interests. We weren’t valuing things the same way.”

Patreon is hoping that by recruiting Budden, it will attract more creators. More than 200,000 creators earn income on Patreon from a total of more than 6 million patrons, and the company has paid more than $2 billion to creators since its formation, according to Conte. Last September, the company announced $90 million in new funding, giving it a valuation of $1.2 billion.

“The financial model in the first 20 years of the web was turning it into a billboard,” said Conte. “That worked and it exploded. That was awesome for distribution. The trouble is, hundreds of years of payment models got left by the wayside and were forgotten.” The ad-supported internet content model, he argued, “comes with horrible tradeoffs around data, privacy, misinformation and human psychology.” Companies like Patreon, Netflix, Cameo and Substack are pushing the next phase “about solving the financials for creators. I am so pumped for that.”

In Budden’s role as an adviser, Conte said, “He’s going to help us be a megaphone for us about the gap between creator worth and value.” Besides acting as an ambassador for Patreon, Budden will provide input on what kinds of programs the company should launch.

Budden said he’s working with Patreon to address “everything that’s wrong with the monetization system for creators.” It’s an issue, he said, that’s “bigger than me, bigger than Jack, bigger than Patreon.”


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Clubhouse, the social network Elon Musk just joined, plans to make money through subscriptions

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Clubhouse, the buzzy audio-only social app, is looking at ways to monetize the platform for its creators, CEO Paul Davison told CNBC on Monday.

After debuting last year, Clubhouse is now valued around $1 billion and hosts more than 2 million users. The premise is relatively simple, since there’s no video, pictures or text-based chat rooms. Users will log into the app and be greeted with a few live, virtual rooms, where they can see a list of the people participating. If they click on the room, the audio switches on and they can hear the conversation. Think of Clubhouse as an app for live, unfiltered podcasts.

The app most recently saw a surge in users early Monday ET, when Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined the platform to discuss a range of topics.

Clubhouse’s revenue plan is similar to crowd-funding service Patreon’s model, which allows independent creators to receive funds directly from their audience. Patreon takes a small fee from those transactions, though, and it’s unclear how much or if Clubhouse would take a percentage of the subscriptions.

It also plays into a theme users of social networks have complained about. If a creator can’t make money on a given platform, they’re likely to move onto another when it gains traction. Clubhouse is making a bet early in its existence that it can attract more users by offering them a way to make money.

“There’s so many incredible people who are smart, who are funny, who have domain expertise, who are really just great at bringing people together,” Davison said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “And what we want to allow them to do is to make a living directly on Clubhouse through things like subscriptions and ticketed events and receiving tips from listeners who are happy to pay them directly for the experiences that they’re creating for them.”

Currently, there’s no way for users to pay for content directly through the app. The platform itself is free, and there’s no advertisements nor premium plan for users. Davison said Monday that Clubhouse plans on introducing some sort of model “sooner rather than later.”

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