Controversial Twitch Leak Highlights Gap In Compensation Between Streamers and Musicians

A massive leak in confidential data from Twitch is highlighting the disparity between the take-home pay of the platform's top gamers versus artists. 

The breach, which was confirmed by Twitch on October 6th, reportedly amounted to over 100GB of crucial data stolen, according to BBC News. At the time of writing, Twitch's analysis of how it all happened is still ongoing.

In the meantime, the internet has been feverishly dissecting the documents, some of which contain sensitive information related to compensation. For the music industry, there's at least one key takeaway: there is a wide gulf between the earnings of top gaming personalities versus the platform's top musicians. 

The top earning musician on Twitch from August 2019 to October 2021 is prolific hip-hop producer Kenny Beats ($644,000), renowned for his contributions to the discographies of Freddie Gibbs, Ski Mask the Slump God, Vince Staples, and many more. The next highest is rapper Tee Grizzley ($209,000), who makes less than a third of Kenny Beats on the platform. 

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From there, the tail-off doesn't slow down. At #12 is Disclosure ($26,000), who took home just 15% of what Grizzley netted over the same period.

By contrast, MusicTech notes that at least 81 Twitch gamers earned over $1 million over the last two years. The platform's top streamer, CriticalRole, is pushing nearly $10 million. Twitch's top 262 streamers fared well with each earning at least $500,000. 

The findings are likely to sting music industry personnel and artists alike, many of whom have been pushing Twitch to make deals with major rights holding entities for fair music licensing agreements over the last year.