Twitch Streamers' Earnings Were Exposed. Now, It's a Meme

Twitch's rally cry "Lets get top five!" refers to a leaderboard for video games. In the wake of a massive data breach, gamers are now focusing on a new leaderboard that ranks streamers based on how much they earn from Twitch.
An anonymous 4chan user accessed 125GB of streaming data and leaked payout information for more than 10,000 Twitch streamers. This led to a circus of controversy on Wednesday. Twitch later confirmed the breach, stating that the server configuration had been changed to allow a malicious third-party access to the data. The revenue data that covered subscriptions, donations, and ads from August 2019 to Oct 2021 went viral immediately on 4chan, Twitter and Reddit and other social media. Although Twitch payments are not their sole source of income, streamers claim that the information is accurate in large part. Streamers are rightly concerned about privacy issues due to the data breach. However, streamers have been meme-ing on their money and making money from the memes.

Ludwig Ahgren, top streamer, called his livestream NUMBA 6 BEGS for PRIMES yesterday. He was referring to Twitchs Prime subscriptions. Twenty-four thousand people tuned in. Ahgren scrolled through a website which organized payout information into a leaderboard and typed in streamer usernames to see what they made. The website was taken down. Ahgren called Matthew Mizkif Rinaudo to continue the gossip. Ahgren was number six, Rinaudo shouted in greeting. Scroll down to see my number. It's quite embarrassing.

Ahgren says that I wouldn't want to hide the amount I earn so I decided to make a meme of it. Since a long time, I have had a meme: larger number, better person. This is how it feels to be a content creator. It directly correlates with your value as an individual to how rich you are and how much you make. Ludwig confirmed that he earned about $3.3 million via Twitch bits, subscriptions, and ads from late 2019 through October 2021.

Yesterday, streamers and fans alike referred to their favorite gaming stars by the numbers on the now-defunct Twitch earnings leadboard. Popular Twitch gossip subreddit, r/LivestreamFail saw posts with titles such as #6 talks to #23, #137's worst nightmare, or #6 and #188, #264, #269, #243, #414. #550. #1049, and #1905 team up against #28.

Streamers who were paid huge amounts of money are part of what gave rise to the meme phenomenon. The leaked data shows that the top 81 streamers earned more than $1 million each through Twitch since the end of 2019. Five streamers earned more than $5 million. Although the financial information was shocking, it is not surprising that streamers make millions. Some streamers' revenue information might actually be calculated by savvy viewers, with no leaks required. Twitch earns 50 percent of the earnings. Subscriptions for streamers who have Partner status cost $5. If a streamer with Partner status has 50 subscribers who pay $5 per month, the streamer will make $125 per month just from subscriptions. According to Alex Curry, Upfluence's gaming marketing strategist, streamers can also earn money through Bit donations (30 percent off Twitch) and partner program ads (20-30 percent off Twitch).

Curry says that this leak shows how lucrative streaming can become. We are only referring to direct incomes from Twitch (subs + ads + bits). This is not the complete picture of streamers' earnings. You can also add sponsorships, brand collaborations, merchandising, donations, and donations to these figures. This means that the reality of the top streamer salary is much higher than the headlines suggest. These numbers, which weren't in the hackers data dump, can be enormous. Ahgren shared yesterday that he earned $3,000,000 (or 44 percent) from sponsors between October 2019 and October 2021 in a spreadsheet.