Interpenetration and intermediation of crowd-patronage platforms

Jon Swords

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Web platforms are becoming part of everyday life for internet users. They come in many forms, offering a range of products and services for both producers and consumers as they (re)produce multi-sided markets. Platforms act as key intermediaries, bringing together third parties and shaping the provision of access to information, finance, content and networks. They operate within an ecosystem, connected through technical service provision and operational logics that promotes interpenetration between platforms. This article explores how interpenetration with and from two crowd-patronage platforms – Patreon and Subbable - is co-constitutive of their intermediary functions. Both sites connect(ed) artist-creators with patrons, offering an alternative means of income generation in the face of declining advertising revenues and digital piracy. Through this examination I propose the expansion of the interpenetration concept to include analysis of where in a platform’s ‘stack’ interpenetration occurs, and how power asymmetries between platforms enables or constrains their adaptive capacity when faced with change. In so doing I argue interpenetration through shared operational logics transforms cultural work as it is enrolled into a calculus of web metrics that allow algorithmic curation which can change the appreciation of art.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-538
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number4
Early online date17 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2020


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