Why the Twitch Megaleak is Spurring Conversation Around Influencer Payments – IGN
Earlier this morning, Twitch confirmed that it was dealing with a data breach. Among other information, the leak revealed that some of the most popular streamers are raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars a month on Twitch alone, not including other income they may receive from ad deals, merchandise, and other opportunities. Some are taking to Twitter to express their anger surrounding the amount of money streamers are making, while others are defending streamers, saying this information shouldn’t surprise anyone. The leak has sparked a conversation that’s still taking social media by storm.
We can confirm a breach has taken place. Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this. We will update the community as soon as additional information is available. Thank you for bearing with us.
— Twitch (@Twitch) October 6, 2021
VGC reports that a hacker leaked “the entirety” of Twitch’s source code, as well as creator payout reports from 2019 to 2021. This means that anyone can now see how much money their favorite streamers have made from Twitch in the last couple of years.
The Tweet gaining the most attention on Twitter is from KnowSomething, who posted a list of gross payouts from the top 100 highest-paid streamers from August 2019 to October 2021.
The gross payouts of the top 100 highest-paid Twitch streamers from August 2019 until October 2021: pic.twitter.com/3Lj9pb2aBl
— KnowSomething (@KnowS0mething) October 6, 2021
You can see all 100 streamers have grossed over $880,000, with the top 25 all earning over $2 million.
Some people are upset to learn how much these streamers are making. On Twitter, an account called Jess posted a picture highlighting how much streamer HasanAbi makes (over $210,000 in September of 2021), saying, “Just a humble worker living 200K pay-check to 200K pay-check”. The tweet also includes a picture of HasanAbi wearing a shirt that says “Make the rich pay.”
Just a humble worker living 200K pay-check to 200K pay-check pic.twitter.com/gL3QN2w2bR
— Jess✨ (@BadCrippIe) October 6, 2021
However, the main counterargument some are making is that it’s not hard to figure out how much some Twitch streamers are making, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to learn the amounts that are making the rounds today. Many streamers, Hasan included, list their total number of subscribers during their streams. At last check, Hasan had over 50,000 subscribers.
Members of the Twitch Affiliate Program make 50% of the subscription fee per sub they have on their channel. Subs to individual channels cost $4.99 per month. This means streamers can expect to earn roughly $2.50 per sub, per month. So, doing the basic math, 50,000 subscribers in a month comes out to roughly $125,000 per month. That’s not including tips, bits, ad revenue, merch, or any other source of income a streamer might also have. So, even before this leak, it was possible to discover on your own that popular streamers are making six-digit figures in a single month.
Super weird to see people freak out about twitch income and act like it was some big secret when sub count is publicly available. Take that number and multiple by 2.5 or 3.5 and you’re there. I made a whole video on it; it’s not the krabby patty formula, it’s basic shit
— Charlie (@MoistCr1TiKaL) October 6, 2021
Hasan said as much in his tweet, responding to the backlash he’s received on Twitter today, posting, “just woke up to some fun news. cant wait for ppl to be mad at me about my publicly available sub count again.”
just woke up to some fun news. cant wait for ppl to be mad at me about my publicly available sub count again.
— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) October 6, 2021
The streamer came under backlash this past August, when he bought a multimillion dollar home in California. At that time, he tweeted, saying, “I AM APOLOGISING PREFUSELY FOR THE AWFUL ACTIONS I ENGAGED IN. SUCH AS HOME OWNERSHIP!!!”
Twitch streamer Patterrz came to Hasan’s defense as well, saying, “Might need to get those eyes checked instead of malding on Twitter, pretending like this was secret never before seen info”.
People getting mad at @hasanthehun for being paid a lot from Twitch when he literally has his sub count above his head every second of his stream
Might need to get those eyes checked instead of malding on Twitter, pretending like this was secret never before seen info pic.twitter.com/YxFqpAl1t1
— Patterrz (@Patterrz) October 6, 2021
It’s unclear if subscribers being made aware of how much their favorite streamers are making will cause any of them to stop subscribing, or give less in donations. For now, many streamers are taking the leak and running with it, changing parts of their Twitch profiles to reflect where they rank on the income charts.
Streamers going by their numbers LMAOOO pic.twitter.com/J84tZIFRcA
— sam🌱 (@5ameehaArt) October 6, 2021
While some are angry at how much streamers make, others point out the fact that sports stars make far more money than these numbers reflect.
A number of other conversations have started due to the financial numbers leak. Gene Park with the Washington Post took time to reflect on how individual streamers are able to attract subscribers, while traditional media outlets have been struggling for years.
first of all, sorry to everyone who got doxxed.
pivoting to journalism thoughts: newspapers are struggling for decades on how to gain new subscribers, but what “subscription” means and how it’s valued has changed. this puts blunt numbers to that realityhttps://t.co/tm7MmP1VKw
— Gene Park (@GenePark) October 6, 2021
Elsewhere, people are commenting that the list of top-earning streamers is mostly dominated by men, and that people aren’t paying enough attention to marginalized creators struggling to find a large audience.
Some of y’all are paying a little too much attention to how much money the top Twitch streamers make, and not enough attention to marginalized creators who struggle to grow simply because of their identity, for my taste
— Jeff Brutlag 🏳️🌈 (@jeffbrutlag) October 6, 2021
The anonymous hacker apparently claims this is just the first set of content they are planning to release, allegedly saying their goal is to create “more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space” because “their community is a disgusting toxic cesspool.”
For more, check out another part of the massive Twitch leak, that alleges Amazon is creating a Steam competitor currently named Vapour.
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN. You can find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.