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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

17 mins ago - World

Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

The scene in 2019 of a site believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China's northwestern Xinjiang region. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday alleges.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.

Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at February's Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President," days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

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