Streaming To The Bone

Keza MacDonald has done exquisite work bringing to light the insane grind it takes to be a streamer on Twitch.

“My sleep schedule shifted into the North American time zone because most of the people who were viewing my channel at the time were there,” says 36-year-old Cassie, a founder of the Black Twitch UK network, who has been streaming for five years under the name GeekyCassie. “I would do my day at work, nap a bit, and then stream for up to eight to 12 hours at night-time. I’d be absolutely beat, and then get up and do my work again … People burn out and then they don’t enjoy it any more.”

From Keza MacDonald's reporting

It's one thing to have a side hustle (👋🏻 Hello TimeMachiner readers) and work on that when you have time and when you can MAKE time. It's another to work that side-hustle for more hours than a day job and get no sleep. The sad part is Twitch streaming pays peanuts or literally nothing to most of their streamers.

The top 1% of streamers on its platform received more than half of the $889m (£660m) it paid out to creators last year; three quarters of the rest made $120 (£89) or less. Millions made nothing at all.

It seems subscribers are quite fickle too.

When Ninja – who is by most standards the world’s most successful video game streamer, with an estimated $10m in yearly earnings and 17 million followers – took two days off to attend a tournament in 2018, he lost 40,000 subscribers. And despite the fact that he could absolutely do without those subs, he was furious about it.

Imagine taking 48-hours off to do something related to your streaming job and people STILL penalize you for it. That's some next-level BS. It's an immense amount of pressure to put on younger people who may not understand the need for work-life balance.

Twitch has certainly fallen into the same position as YouTube: people are drawn to become creators because they see the ultra-successful ones doing it. They have no idea of the years it takes to learn the ropes. The skills it takes to become successful are normally hidden behind so much work. The idea of "overnight success" is definitely a lie. But it's not what people see because those who are ultra-successful are very good at what they do. There's also a lot of luck involved. Many of the big names in streaming and YouTube creators were also early to the platform. That helped a lot.

For anyone thinking about getting into this realm of work, I would offer this one key of advice: do it because you love it. Because if you don't, it seems designed to eat you alive.

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