X CTO Elon Musk has announced an expanded revenue opportunity for creators that activate subscriptions in the app, with X itself now taking less of a cut from subscription revenue over time, and feeding more back to the creators themselves.
As per Musk:
“While we had previously said that X would keep nothing for the 12 months, then 10%, we are amending that policy to X keeps nothing forever, until payout exceeds $100k, then 10%. First 12 months is still free for all.”
So this new limit would be in place in perpetuity, so for every $100k you earn in a month (after the first 12 months), X would take 10%.
Creator Subscriptions, which X re-launched back in April, enable all X users with over 500 followers to activate paid subscriptions in the app. Creators also need to have to posted 25 times within the preceding 30 days, and be over 18, while they can charge either $2.99, $4.99, or $9.99 per month for access to their exclusive elements (though X is also looking to add variable price points soon).
If you meet these requirements, and you have some good ideas for add-on content, it could be a good option for you, with X itself now taking less of a slice of the subscription revenue pie, as part of its broader push to enhance its appeal to creators.
Though Apple and Google will also still take their 30% of all subscription revenue delivered via mobile devices. On that front, Musk says that he plans to raise his concerns on this with Apple CEO Tim Cook, to see if they can negotiate a more favorable deal for creators.
Which seems unlikely. Apple wasn’t wailing to offer Meta any concessions on its subscription revenue program, as part of its creator monetization push during the COVID lockdown period, even though Meta argued that it would be beneficial to performers that had lost work due to the pandemic.
But maybe Elon will have more luck. Apple’s already allowed X to subvert some of its rules, and maybe, Musk can lean on his relationship with Cook to secure a better deal.
Elon announced the new terms as part of a broader call-to-action for more people to support creators on X.
“If you can afford it, please subscribe to as many creators on this platform as you find interesting. People from every corner of the world post incredible content on ????, but often live in tough circumstances, where even a few hundred dollars a month changes their life.”
I mean, Elon himself is one of the richest people in the world, and he’s only subscribed to 115 creators, according to his X profile. Seems like he’s in a better position to contribute than most others, but the broader push is that X wants to build its creator ecosystem, which involves providing optimal monetization opportunities through the app.
Which will be a challenge.
Right now, creators can make far more money on YouTube or Instagram than they can through subscriptions and ad revenue share on X. What’s more, the current thresholds for entry into X’s ad revenue share scheme are very tough for most people to meet, which leaves subscriptions, for most, being the only avenue to making money from their X content.
And most people won’t be able to do that.
While the concept of the ‘creator economy’ is great for the platforms themselves, the reality is that very, very few online creators are actually making money from their posts. Around 0.5% of YouTubers are bringing more than $5k per month from the app, with the vast majority of YouTube creators (88%) earning less than $50 each month.
Meta creators are seeing similar, so while you can indeed make money from your passions online, and build a business based on your online content, it’s not an easy path. And for most, the sustained workload required is simply too high to make this a realistic pathway for independent success.
That’s especially true with subscriptions, because you can’t just offer your paying subscribers your regular posts, in the hopes that that’ll be enough. You need to add more, with additional content, that’s ideally better than your regular stuff, while you also need to maintain much of your established posting schedule in order to attract new followers. And if you fall short, your subscribers will stop paying, so you need to keep up the momentum to maintain relevance.
This is not a cakewalk to millions, and many creators suffer burnout as a result.
But at the same time, X has to start somewhere, and with creator monetization being a key element of Musk’s broader vision for the app, you can bet that it’ll be adding in more ways for creators to get paid, with additional elements like creator tipping already in the works.
Super Follows, for example, only generated around $6000 in its first two weeks after its big launch in 2021, which, at best, equates to around 0.005% of users subscribing to any profile in the app. It never seemed to gain much traction beyond this, while tipping also failed to move the needle for creators.
Previous Twitter management didn’t, however, offer ad revenue share, but the issue with this new element is that it incentivizes posting behaviors that are not as conducive to engagement (i.e. engagement bait purely designed to prompt replies).
X will likely need more than this to really win over big-name stars, and establish its monetization offering. But with Elon pledging to build ‘a global marketplace’ with the app as part of his X vision, this will remain a key focus, which could see increased traction over time.