Elon Musk has about ten billion ideas for how to generate income from Twitter, the most public of which, of course, has been his new $8 Twitter Blue auto-verification system that has taken so much toll over the past from its earliest days that it was “paused”. already.
But there is an idea that makes it could makes sense, depending on how much trust you have in Musk and whether Twitter will still be standing when all of this is done.
The concept is that Twitter has never really generated anything close to a creator economy. It doesn’t pay its power users like YouTube and Twitch, many of whom have made content creation on those platforms a full-time living. And even though Musk’s “pay $8 for verification” thing is the opposite of that, by charging creators, he seems to want to embrace the idea of paying people to post their content on the platform.
One of his first questions he asked the public after taking office was how much YouTube paid its creators, a 45% revenue share. He said he could “beat this”, and that idea didn’t dissipate in the ensuing chaos. In a recent call, it was brought up again, this time in more detail:
“Let’s just ask a group of content creators who we think are cool on YouTube and say, ‘Hey, would you consider putting your content on Twitter, and we’ll pay you 10% more than YouTube and see how it goes. ?'” Musk said.
An immediate caveat here is that this idea may be offered as an exclusive contract. As in, if you agree to say, a 55% cut in Twitter revenue, you can no longer upload that content to YouTube. This would be a huge risk for creators who have already established YouTube audiences, and we have no idea what kind of revenue Twitter ads would bring in versus YouTube ads, especially as advertisers have started leaking under Musk’s reign. If the contracts are exclusive, that would be a tough call for creators to make given all the uncertainty.
Twitter is already taking steps to allow Blue users to upload long videos, upscale them to 1080p, and monetize them. So unlike many of Musk’s ideas, this one may actually materialize. But I have to question the idea on multiple fronts whether Twitter has the technical backend to support bulk uploads of long, high quality videos because their video quality to date has long been absolutely terrible . The company also just laid off half of its staff, including a large number of engineers, so you have to wonder who would manage the stability of this project.
And then there are Twitter’s revenue issues. Like I said, how much will ads pay when Twitter’s top advertisers continue to leave the site, an issue that YouTube or Twitch aren’t facing? And how much revenue does Twitter generate? really must throw at the creators in the current state of the company which Musk thinks could be on the verge of bankruptcy, and he is currently selling Tesla shares to keep it afloat?
I’m not saying that monetizing content on Twitter is ever something no creator should consider. But I’m saying that with the current state of Twitter in the Musk era, I would approach this idea with an overabundance of caution, given all the moving parts that would have to line up to make this even remotely plausible.
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