How creators, besides gamers, make money

Megan Lenius remembered a simple question from his dental hygienist that made him stop briefly.

“She asked me what I do for a living,” Lenius said. “I told him I was singing on Twitch, making money and I love it!”

As Tic Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the streaming site has gone from being a platform primarily aimed at gamers to a platform where creators, including musicians, can try to make a living and be successful.

Twitch said the median audience for creators earning at least $ 50,000 per year is 183 viewers per stream. A musician playing a four-hour stream could have an audience of around a few hundred, according to Twitch.

It means a lot to gamers and musicians, including Lenius, who has chosen to make Twitch their sole source of income.With over 44,000 subscribers, Lenius broadcasts for at least two hours up to five days a week, including weekends with an average of around 200 viewers per stream. From his parents’ basement in Anoka, Minnesota, Lenius sings, does silly things, and sometimes plays onscreen video games with his parents.

Grammy-winning multi-platinum artist and producer Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame, whom she met via Twitch this year, messaged Lenius and asked him to produce one of his songs, which he did on his channel, Lenius said.

“I was able to release the song and the music video, “Not your game”, on Twitch, and there were 21,000 people there, which is crazy, and the single was amazing, ”Lenius said happily. The song got 80,000 streams on Spotify.

Lenius said she was doing her best to take care of her voice, despite a rigorous online play schedule.

“There was a time when I would see my vocal coach, and I remember her saying, ‘I can tell your voice is different and there is damage, and you might need to rest. Lenius said. “She said, ‘You sing as much as an artist on Broadway. Hearing that was very surreal, and it hits you every now and then, but it doesn’t come without hard work. ”

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Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham, Twitch’s community productions manager who has been with the platform since its launch in June 2011, is growing nostalgic that the platform has helped create new jobs and careers for millions of creators around the world.

“When I started streaming in 1999, it was strictly a hobby and I dreamed of being able to build a business out of our passion for games and esports,” Wheat said. “Today that dream is a reality, and there are so many designers who now really have a ‘job they love’ that allows them to share their passions with their communities.”

Players typically spend six to eight hours per stream. It is not uncommon for musicians to perform for three to four hours, such as Johnny and Heidi, a country music songwriting duo from Nashville who joined Tic one year ago.

Johnny Bulford and Heidi Raye, who worked with hitmakers Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Jason Aldean and Chris Young, perform at least three times a week, sometimes until 2 or 3 a.m. They began broadcasting during the early stages of the pandemic, playing a mix of songs and original requests.

Country music duo Johnny and Heidi say they found a home stream on Twitch.

“Our community is there for us, and we often hear them say, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing for me’ because some have lost loved ones,” Raye said. “They’ve leaned on us and we feel the same. We are very grateful to them.

The couple admit they didn’t know what they were doing on Twitch. Bluford said: “Our friends thought we were crazy.” But the idea of ​​playing for followers all over the world and not having to travel from city to city just got more appealing.

The duo, which has more than 16,000 subscribers, plan to continue performing on Twitch even if the world returns to “normal” – even if that means performing on Twitch in between live concerts. They have a live show scheduled for Saturday at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

“Streaming is new, exciting and unexplored territory, and it has treated us well. We even polled our community and asked, “Are you going to be here too?” “, Bulford said. “We’ll try to be smart about this because the (live) gigs are there if we need them, but as we are, Twitch is king, and we want to keep going as long as possible.”

Others play music and video games for long periods of time, such as Large Cheese KIT, which started broadcasting when Twitch was on the platform. LA Geronimo, professional photographer, loves to stream on Twitch on his channel, The service of hunger, where he cooks dishes that are easy to prepare. All tips or money go to charity.

Twitch ambassador BigCheeseKIT, who often motivates his followers, credits their support for helping him overcome a stroke he suffered a year ago.

One of the keys to success on Twitch: “Stay true to yourself,” said BigCheeseKIT, who is not only a Twitch ambassador but also helps deliver content and streams for “Nappy Boy Games”, Hip-hop star T-Pain’s official Twitch page. Like many gamers, despite his popularity, BigCheeseKIT refuses to give his real name for security reasons, but he appreciates the positive love he receives.

“A lot of people focus on what’s trending and popular, but I’ve been successful doing what I do: play games and be entertaining,” said BigCheeseKIT, who is grateful to its more than 53,000 subscribers for supporting him after suffering a stroke last July. “If you build a community, it’s from what you do and not always what people demand of you. Pretty much, be true to yourself.

LA Geronimo, who has been on Twitch since 2017 and helped launch the platform’s Food and Drink category, “thrives on interaction” and said that the streaming of TheHungerService, which has nearly 27,000 subscribers, during the pandemic helped make ends meet. He hopes to release to restaurants soon as COVID-19 restrictions relax.

"The service of hunger" LA host Geronimo literally shares it with his followers on Twitch.

“Everyone asks me if I’m a full-time streamer or if it’s a side gig. Both taking photos and streaming are equally important to me, ”said Geronimo. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Twitch Ambassador MsAshRocks, who endured homelessness with her mother, started streaming in 2016 with a rebuilt PC. His profile grew. Despite its competitive nature in games such as valiant, “a lot of people say I’m the ‘Comfort Streamer’, that must be some kind of aura that I have. I’m your supportive friend,” MsAshRocks said.

Although he is a competitive player, MsAshRocks is called "The comfort streamer" on Twitch thanks to his charitable acts on the platform.

She created Team RockSquad, a diverse collection of content creators focused on entertainment and providing safe spaces in and out of stream for their peers. With nearly 29,000 subscribers, MsAshRocks has helped raise over $ 100,000 through charity games for organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the 1000DreamsFund.

Her charitable work led her to become a community manager for tilt, a full-service fundraising platform. “It makes me feel so alive that I can help improve our society, and it all came through play,” MsAshRocks said. “I don’t know where I would be without it.”

Twitch creator Steve “Blind GamerSteve” Saylor feels exactly the same. What’s his gametag? Saylor is in fact blind. He was born with a condition called nystagmus which causes involuntary eye movements and makes his vision blurry and difficult to focus.

Steve "Blindgamersteve" Saylor helps disabled players gain more access.

That doesn’t stop him from playing the games he loves, sitting about a foot away from a 50-inch screen. In addition to his presence on Twitch, Saylor, who has 2,000 Twitch subscribers, has a website and the YouTube channel, which includes a video, “What I see when I play video games.”

Saylor said he was invited to a conference by Ubisoft in 2017, and during a panel he realized that “it wasn’t that I was bad at games, it was that games sucked for me “. He’s a consultant who helps developers make games more accessible to people with disabilities. “Making games accessible early in the design process is what will make them successful,” Saylor said.

“It’s my full-time job, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way,” Saylor said. “Platforms like Twitch have made progress, but there is definitely room for improvement. I can’t wait to see what Twitch builds in the future.”

Lenius appreciates that her fans on Twitch helped her move from “playing on a crappy webcam” to investing in her, so she has much better gear for her streams. Some other streamers even helped her with her taxes, reminding her that she is a businesswoman.

“Basically my viewers are my record company and they fund my profession,” Lenius said. “I tell them the reason I don’t have to look for a label is because you are able to provide me with that income. Do not mistake yourself ; I am not opposed to being signed. But it would have to be the right thing, for me and for my fans. “

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