Twitch continues to alienate their core content creators and partner streamers by offering an option to buy affiliate status. This latest announcement sees the company partner with the music label Monstercat to offer affiliate status for some cold hard cash.
Monstercat outlined the details of the deal via a post on their website. If Twitch streamers sign up for a monthly subscription to Monstercat Gold, they will gain access to a library of songs that they can safely play on their streams without fear of a DMCA takedown, and they will also gain access to Twitch Affiliate Status.
Previously a streamer could only reach affiliate if they had 50 followers or more, 500 total minutes of broadcast time, three or more concurrent viewers on average, and had streamed for more than seven days. Affiliate status is very important for up and coming streamers, it is the first time that they can monetise their stream. Streamers who have gained affiliate status can get money from paid subscribers and Bits, a donation currency.
Not surprisingly, this pay to play tactic by Twitch has caused a lot of backlash from their community. Veteran streamers are angry at the platform for offering a buy-in system that completely bypasses the hard work that they put in to gain their audience and monetisation.
Kahlief Adams, partner streamer and co-host of Spawn on Me had this to say:
“This seems amazingly unfair to all those folks who have worked hard to get to affiliate but it also feels like it lessens the value of an affiliate status if you can just buy your way in.”
Twitch partner KensGobbleSpot, took to Twitter as well:
“Hot take. This is a dirty and disgusting move and drags the status of Affiliate through the mud. There has to be a better way to hype up a combo like this without just handing Affiliate out for some cash. Forget having to work to advance, just toss money at the problem.”
It is not just long-time streamers that would be affected. Many commenters believed that offering affiliate status to anyone who pays a monthly fee is predatory and offers a false sense of hope. It doesn’t matter how much money you pump into your subscription, paying five dollars a month for your status does not mean that you will gain any new viewers.
Streamer, Fruitbats, summed up the sentiment in his reply to Monstercat:
“Telling broadcasters who have 0-2 viewers that they are ‘closer to making a living’ on Twitch if they buy your product is misleading, exploitative, and irresponsible.”
Controversy after controversy
The last half of 2020 has seen Twitch mired in controversy, they added unskippable ads in the middle of Twitch streams without the streamers consent, and perhaps the issue that has been at the front of every streamers mind this past month, DMCA takedowns.
We reported on this issue early this month. Twitch was forcing streamers to takedown their content to avoid DMCA strikes, if they did not, they could face a ban or even a full termination of their account. The fact that this affiliate deal is linked to a music label has made it clear to streamers that Twitch is more interested in dealing with companies than they are with their own community.