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Courtesy of Patreon

An art industry startup is doing what many media companies believe is impossible: Attracting consumers who want to pay for content. Patreon, which lets artists charge fees for their work, today announced that it has raised $60 million in a new funding round led by Thrive Capital.

How it works: Borrowing from the idea of patronage, Patreon's creators can collect membership fees from their fans (or patrons) in exchange for access to exclusive art or content. This year, the company will pay out $150 million in earnings to its 50,000 creators.

Why it matters: "I think we're seeing a shift in the entire ecosystem where people are realizing that they're sick of clickbait," Carlos Cabrera, Patreon's VP of data science and operations, told Axios. "The current systems are really bad at promoting great stuff."

  • Patreon co-founder and CEO Jack Conte is intimately acquainted with the challenges artists face—he's a musician himself, performing as one half of music duo Pomplamoose.
  • And yet, changing consumers' mindset is still a big challenge for Patreon, said Cabrera.

Deal details: Index Ventures, CRV, Freestyle, and DFJ are also participating in the round, which brings Patreon's total funding to $100 million. Last week, TechCrunch reported that Patreon is raising funding at a $450 million valuation, although Axios is told that this isn't accurate.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat.
  2. World: Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."

Trump's legacy is shaped by his narrow interests

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Trump's policy legacy is as much defined by what he's ignored as by what he's involved himself in.

The big picture: Over the past four years, Trump has interested himself in only a slim slice of the government he leads. Outside of trade, immigration, a personal war against the "Deep State" and the hot foreign policy issue of the moment, Trump has left many of his Cabinet secretaries to work without interruption, let alone direction.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

AI and automation are creating a hybrid workforce

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

AI and automation are receiving a boost during the coronavirus pandemic that in the short term is creating a new hybrid workforce rather than destroying jobs outright.

The big picture: While the forces of automation and AI will eliminate some jobs and create some new ones, the vast majority will remain but be dramatically changed. The challenge for employers will be ensuring workforces are ready for the effects of technology.

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