The Twitch Leak

“Twitch Data Leak Confirms The 100 Highest-Paid Streamers”:

Don’t get into music for the money. There’s just not that much.

Which is another reason why there are no bands, there’s not enough money to go around. Best to cut your track on your computer alone in your bedroom, post it online and see if it gets any traction, at least it won’t cost that much. The old paradigm of forming a band, rehearsing, honing your chops on the road, signing a deal and then living the high life is almost completely kaput.

Yes, there is a community online, but it’s every person for themselves. The Gen-Z ethos is different from the millennial ethos. Millennials didn’t want to stand out, they didn’t want to do anything that would threaten their place in the firmament, in the group. Victories were celebrated by all, there was not the cutthroat competition of the baby boomers. But most millennials did not grow up in the era of high speed internet and social media, the internet was still developing as they came of age, it hadn’t been solidified, like it has now. Whereas Gen-Z has never known a time without broadband, ubiquitous Wi-Fi and social media. You surf the web alone, it is not a group activity. And once the “influencers” started making bank, it was open season. As a matter of fact, that’s the number one desire of youngsters today, that’s their preferred career choice, being an influencer. And one thing about being an influencer, you know it requires no talent, you make it up as you go along, you have to post constantly to maintain your tribe, and then eventually you burn out, others replace you and you get on with your life.

But not eSports. ESPORTS IS A CAREER!

Seems unfathomable to the boomers and Gen-X’ers but it’s true. That sideshow that parents pooh-poohed is now a road to riches. Everyone can play, but not everyone can win. You’ve got to be really damn skilled, you’ve got to put in the hours to get that good, and there are no shortcuts, you can’t buy a song, you’ve got to do it all by yourself.

And the younger generations are more interested in the cerebral than the physical. Yes, the culture is evolving into one where thinking is more important than brute force physicality. The landscape has been flattened, the barrier to entry is nearly nonexistent. Everybody can afford to play videogames, and the games themselves don’t involve built-in biases. ways to beat the system, like traditional sports. Yes, the major sports leagues are rife with cheating, bending the rules, and too many rules. But the rules of eSports are built right into the games. You can’t buy an advantage.

And therefore there is a huge audience for eSports.

I mean I watched a couple of Dodger playoff games, and although they were tense I must say when the Cardinals reliever kept looking to first, backing off the mound, it became interminable. I can’t imagine a youngster sitting through that, but videogames are all action all the time. And you are not watching from a distance, as in you can immediately play at home, whereas with most traditional sports you need a team, a field and…the barriers to entry are almost too high to get over, never mind getting hurt as you participate.

So in case you missed the memo, there was a data leak at the Amazon owned Twitch, a platform that was purchased for a mere $970 million. This was the deal of the century, stop lauding Lucian Grainge building up Universal to go public and have a value in the neighborhood of $50 billion. Lucian bought EMI, got it past regulators, and with this incredible market share bought into streaming and the company’s revenues went up. Oldsters can understand music, they think the “musicians” are stars, but if they had any kids they’d know the big stars are those who live online, like the gamers on Twitch.

So, this data leak showed that the top 25 gamers on Twitch made at least a million dollars a year. Yes, figures were leaked for the period from August 2019 to October 2021, essentially two years. And the number one Twitch gamer made $9.6 million, just under $5 million a year.

But wait, it gets better. THIS IS NET! There are no expenses. And this is not all the top gamers make, there are other avenues of compensation, like signing bonuses, exclusivities, sponsorships, the list goes on.

$5 million net per year? You’d be surprised how few musicians make this kind of money. They may gross a hundred million, but the expenses are sky high! And their longevity isn’t great. And they’ve got to constantly inject their profits into growing their careers. And it turns out those who draw the largest audience consistently, year after year, are those who made it in the pre-internet era, the classic rockers and those blown up by MTV. The more recent your success, the less you can continue to draw, unless you keep feeding the machine and having hits.

So let’s say you’re at home and you want to get rich.

That’s the motivation today. In our money-driven culture the focus is money, is that so hard to understand? Everybody is playing the lottery, because they know you can’t make it on minimum wage, income inequality since Reagan has become gigantic, to the point where so many of the educated, from elite institutions, can’t even compete.

So you’re gonna go into music?

Well, first and foremost where are you going to learn it? There are essentially no arts programs in public schools anymore. So maybe you have to take private lessons, but unless your parents really push you, you’re not interested, you’re addicted to the screen, where all the action is. You need pay no dues to be online, you learn and burnish your image along the way. So the people honing their musical chops in living rooms and garages are smaller in relative numbers than ever before. Oh, they want money and fame, just don’t ask them to pay their dues outside the action.

And if you form a band, where are you gonna play? People no longer want to hear bad renditions of the hits, never mind originals, they’d rather hear hits spun by DJs, especially since the music is no longer primary. In the classic era venues had seats, now it’s free-form festival seating, and parading and shooting selfies can be almost as important as what is happening on stage. Once again, THE AUDIENCE IS THE STAR!

As for the music business itself… It’s run by old farts, boomers and Gen-X’ers. As for Jay Z and Roc Nation, they too started before the internet blew up the entire world.

And no one is interested in righting the ship, getting it back on course, BECAUSE THERE’S NO MONEY IN IT!

Yes, there are tons of people complaining about the change in the musical landscape, some even have ideas, but what they lack is…BUSINESS EXPERIENCE! Being a fan and being on the other side of the stage, as a business person, are two completely different walks of life. Business people are professionals who have learned a lot and always put money first, especially in the live business. As for the labels, they want you to prove it first, they want you to demonstrate the spigot is raining coin before they even get involved.

The only hope for music is to be the ANTI! To make the money secondary, to focus on the music. But most people are not willing to forgo the money. That’s the first question people always ask…WHERE IS THE MONEY! As if they’re entitled.

But Twitch is just like the music business. The lion’s share of the spoils go to the elite at the top. In the internet era everything is available at your fingertips, localism is irrelevant, so you’re competing against the best of today and the best of yesterday and it turns out the audience only wants the best.

Not that media understands this.

You’ve got to read this inane article in the “Washington Post”:

This article complains that:

“25 percent of the top 10,000 highest paid Twitch streamers don’t make minimum wage”

What, DO YOU EXPECT TEN THOUSAND GAMERS TO MAKE A GOOD LIVING ON TWITCH??? God, musicians WOULD LOVE THAT! Most are actually in the hole, they don’t make ANYTHING!

You want to get paid, go work at McDonald’s. Low-paying labor/service jobs are plentiful, they don’t have enough people to fill them, yet no one wants them because they want to get RICH! What next, those playing American Legion baseball complaining they’re not millionaires? There’s nowhere close to 10,000 players in any traditional professional sports league. Add ’em all up, MLB, NFL, NHL…you still won’t get close to 10,000.

Context is everything, and this is why the media is losing its grip, it too often has none.

So if you’re dying to be a musician, be one. Just don’t complain about the pay.

And if you want to work as a musician your whole life best to have a skill, as in being able to play your instrument or program your instrument or… Low-skilled people are a dime a dozen, they’re fungible, instantly replaceable.

And that’s what we’ve got dominating today’s music scene, low-skilled people propped up by the titans of the industry, writers, players, producers and labels. Most don’t have a chance without this help. Then again, if you can actually play you can make a living on the jam band circuit, via gigs and festivals, but you’ll never make as much as a top gamer, you’d better love to play, because you’re gonna be touring in a station wagon wanting a bus, as for the private jet…that’s for gamers and DJs. But being a gamer is even better than being a DJ…YOU NEVER HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE!

So to the oldsters who grew up in the pre-internet era, your perspective is off, only the lowest common denominator want to be musicians, anybody with any brains is a gamer or an influencer, is online where they control their own destiny.

And it’s not only music, it’s sports. Oldsters thought disruption was only about the platform, but it’s about the content too. Why should younger generations want exactly what older generations did, why should they be corralled into old time thinking when the internet is a free-for-all where you can create and control your own career path.

It’s not that easy to be atop the Twitch payout list.

But you should find what you’re good at and pursue that. A great plumber can make more money than almost every musician, and the plumber never has to leave town.

And if you want to be a musician for the money, you’re barking up the wrong tree. The odds are low as are the payouts if you even make it into the black. Of course, payouts at the top are still good, but they pale in comparison to those of the techies and the bankers, the financiers follow the money, that’s why they have those jobs, why else, they’re usually incredibly boring.

Ladies and gentlemen…

Turn on your computer, boot up that game, start playing!

Twitch 1-100:

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