It’s amazing to think that the first version of OBS was publicly released over six years ago. What started out as a small side project by Lain Bailey to make a free and open source program to stream StarCraft 2 has grown into a powerful force in the streaming and video production industry. Hundreds of thousands of people use OBS Studio every day not just for video gaming, but also for broadcasting everything from conferences to sports competitions to school announcements. It’s a tool that can be used freely by anyone, from large studios with big budget productions to individuals who just want to engage with a community online.
From the beginning, OBS has been a labor of love created by Lain and a group of volunteers dedicated to the ideal of free and open access to streaming and recording software. We’ve seen great growth in our developer and support volunteer community over the last several years, and it’s inspiring to see people spend their free time improving OBS and helping others use the program.
However, as OBS has grown, so too have the realities of running such a large open source project. We have many volunteers helping to develop, maintain, and manage the project, removing some of the work from Lain's shoulders, but we want to make sure that those people have an incentive to continue helping with the project and avoid burnout. On top of that, we want to increase our ability to better handle the demands of the industry and community.
OBS will always be 100% free, and that is not something that will ever change. But it’s time that we take some steps to improve the project’s sustainability, and that means that we need to find ways to be able to pay our volunteers and compensate development expenses. To that end, we are announcing two new ways that you can help support OBS development financially: sponsorship via Open Collective, and backing via Patreon.
What is Open Collective?
Open Collective is a platform where a group of people can raise money for a shared purpose in an open and transparent way, even if the group may not have any formal organizational body. Open Collective uses a practice called fiscal sponsorship where a “host” organization provides facilities and services that allow for the group to accept payments not only from individuals, but also from companies in ways that companies understand. It’s a platform that has seen success already for several well-known open source projects, including Webpack, Babel, and Vue.js.
Thus, we are launching a sponsorship program through Open Collective that makes it easy for companies and individuals to sponsor the OBS Project to help ensure that we can continue working on the program. Not only does sponsorship get your logo on our contributor page (and the OBS homepage at the Gold and Diamond levels), but it just makes good business sense, too. If you have a business that depends on OBS or is benefitted by OBS, then it’s in your interest to help ensure OBS can continue to be maintained and improved.
All funds given to OBS through Open Collective are used to support OBS development, and Open Collective makes this extremely transparent. All expenses are publicly viewable, so you’ll know when and how all funds are being spent. That way, you’ll be able to see directly how your contributions help pay for development costs, test hardware, software licensing, and more.
We’re excited to announce that our first Gold sponsor on Open Collective is Games Done Quick, a charity fundraising organization whose events feature high-level gameplay by speedrunners from around the world. They stream live on Twitch, and use OBS as a critical component of their broadcasting stack, consistently stretching OBS to the limits of its capability. Thank you for your support!
In addition to Open Collective, we are also launching a Patreon campaign to help fund OBS development. Whereas Open Collective is a bit more geared toward larger sponsors, Patreon is a great platform for individual users to give back to OBS.
This Patreon campaign especially helps support Lain as the project leader, maintainer, and only full time developer that the OBS Project has had since its inception. It’s impossible to overstate just how much OBS is a product of Lain herself -- without her, there would be no OBS. Funds given to the Patreon are used to compensate Lain and invest into the OBS development community.
If you support OBS on Patreon, you could have the opportunity to gain the Patron role on the OBS Discord, an appearance in the program’s About dialog, and top patrons will be listed on the contributor page as well.
What is the difference? Which one should I give to?
If you’re an individual user of OBS, it probably makes the most sense to give on Patreon. You may already have an account on Patreon anyway if you support other creators, and you can get access to some nice perks, depending on how much you give. However, if you feel more comfortable seeing exactly how your contributions are being spent, then Open Collective is also a great way for you to support the project as well.
If you’re part of a business or organization that benefits from OBS, then you’ll probably feel most comfortable giving on Open Collective. Our host organization, the Open Source Collective, is a 501(c)(6) non-profit dedicated to helping open source projects like ours interface with companies like yours to make it easier to give back to the open source community. This includes automatic invoicing, handling purchase orders, reporting, and more.
If you want to contribute to OBS but can’t commit to a regular pledge, you can still make one-time contributions via the following methods:
It has been an amazing privilege and pleasure to be a part of the OBS team. We have a fantastic community of developers and users, and we look forward to being able to continue doing this for years to come with your support.