Review of Kami Liddle’s ‘Patreon’ Online Video Subscription Site
By Tracey of TribalDiva Belly Dance (Christchurch)
Patreon is a content sharing website for ‘creators’ of many varieties to share their work directly with individual customers or patrons; apart from a number of belly dance and other dance instructional video creators the website is also home to designers, writers, photographers and musicians who make their work available for people to purchase on a subscription or one-off payment for product/service basis.
I have to admit that I initially found the set up of Patreon a bit confusing! It’s not a system I’m familiar with but once I looked in to it the site seems to offer a good way for artists/creators to share their work easily and be reimbursed for it. Payments on Patreon work via ‘pledges’ from patrons to creators – you could select to give a creator a pledge of $1 per month for example just because you like their work & want to show support (aka the ‘Tip Jar’), or you can pick a monthly amount that corresponds with a particular ‘reward level’ that the creator has set.
On Kami’s Patreon site she has set the amount of USD$10 per month as a pledge in return for the reward of: access to one 20 minute or more instructional video a month, inspiring music, videos, and articles along with bonus short and challenging layering drill videos. For this $10 monthly pledge (which will be automatically deducted from your credit card each month until you cancel it, which you can do at any time) you also get access to a monthly ‘google hangout’, which is a bit like a conference call where Kami will answer dance related questions for anyone who wants to join in. There is also the option to pledge $5 for access to an individual video. What isn’t stated but I think is important is that for the monthly $10 pledge you also get access to all of the videos & other content posted in previous months, this wasn’t clear until I completed the pledge process & had full access to Kami’s site.
The creator posts on Patreon are arranged in a feed format similar to facebook, which is quite good in that patrons can comment on the posted videos & links and Kami can (and does) reply to those, making it quite an individualised way of communicating together. Patrons can also request specific content be covered which is pretty unique & a great point of difference from other subscription services. The downside of this arrangement is that you have to scroll through to find each video; although you can filter posts by the tags attached to them there doesn’t seem to be a catalogue by title or content anywhere which would be quite useful to see all the videos that are available.
Kami’s videos are aimed at intermediate to advanced dancers; they focus on relatively complex isolation combos with plenty of challenging layers and concepts – I found them fun and interesting & will definitely be incorporating some of the concepts & technique into my classes in the near future!
As those of us who attended Kami’s workshops during the Medanz Festival will know Kami’s teaching style is great, she’s very precise and clear in her movement execution and the explanations of movements while still being personable & fun to learn from. This certainly carries over into her videos which I found well paced & easy to follow.
The low production cost & set up time (one of the videos is filmed on her hotel balcony while away on tour!) means that she can share new content really quickly – I liked that one video included a combo she actually using in class at the time.
There are a total of 6 instructional videos on Kami’s Patreon site which has been running since Dec 2016 so they are not quite keeping up with the 1 per month reward level offered, but there is also a full choreography instructional available, Spotify playlists from specific events (although some of them are available anyway on Kami’s Spotify profile anyway) and links to podcasts and other dance/art inspirational resources.
Overall I have a mixed review of Kami’s Patreon site; the videos that are on there are great in both content and ease of use but they just aren’t quite on target with the 1 per month aim. I think it has great potential as a content delivery platform and if you are a fan of Kami’s then signing up for a month to see how you find it is a great low-cost way to support one of your favourite artists. If you then go on to request content and interact on the site along with making use of the playlists then it could really work out quite well for you.
Kami’s Patreon site is available at: https://www.patreon.com/KamiLiddle