Opinion: Monstercat and Twitch’s Affiliate Partnership Devalues The Whole Platform
Earlier, we penned a piece on the Monstercat x Twitch Affiliate partnership, and at face value, it sounded pretty neat. The idea that streamers could purchase what is in essence, a license to stream tons of music? That’s fantastic. However, this writer was under the impression that Monstercat Gold was a new feature, as someone who was not initially familiar with the service. However, this comes with a really serious potential issue: devaluing of the streamer.
Who Cares About Affiliates?
At face value again, this seemed like a pretty great deal. Even to a new streamer, it could feel like a solid plan: You don’t have to grind for Affiliate anymore! Depending on how many friends you have/how solid you are at spreading the word online. It is either incredibly easy or incredibly frustrating to hit Affiliate, there are no two ways about it.
There are people who spend years grinding for Affiliate on Twitch, and now you can buy it through Monstercat for five bucks? That’s really unfortunate. It makes virtually any streamer that had to put in any work to grind out that step feel worthless. Not everyone had that struggle, unfortunately. This announcement is also exploitative.
How can you tell a streamer who has 0-5 viewers max that they’re another step closer to monetizing Twitch and making it their livelihood? As a point of reference, this writer has been streaming on Twitch for about four/five years. Sure, they hit Affiliate pretty quickly, but it all plateaued out, and the “75 viewer” average feels all about impossible. I don’t see it as a way to make a living, but something fun to do in downtime.
Apparently, Monstercat took down the “you’re one step closer” part, but it was there in the first place. It feels like a sort of slippery slope, though I’m reluctant to use that metaphor. Sure, Twitch isn’t likely to suddenly start letting people buy into Partner, but they can sure buy into Affiliate. We don’t know where this will go in a year. Now, being able to spend five bucks to have no fear of DMCA strikes? That’s wonderful.
But it was couched in language to let people buy into Twitch Affiliate status, and that’s where the problem lies. The Monstercat Gold service was already in existence before Twitch affiliate came into play. They could have made some kind of deal with Twitch without selling Affiliate slots, we think. That’s the big problem, is that it completely devalues all the work streamers are doing to try and grow.
Twitch Affiliate has felt like it has lost value over the years anyway. Maybe this is Twitch’s way of leaning into that but I have to say, that’s not the play to make. It already feels stressful and frustrating to climb the Affiliate hurdle, but this Monstercat and Twitch partnership just feels hollow. If Twitch would have simply advertised Monstercat as a solution to get around DMCA, without selling Affiliate, we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.