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Elon Musk’s creator monetization program fails to convince many to pay for X Premium
August 16, 2023

Elon Musk’s creator monetization program fails to convince many to pay for X Premium

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X / Twitter is going all in on creator monetization. But it seems not too many have signed up to be eligibile.

Elon Musk’s latest pitch to get people to sign up for X’s (fka Twitter’s) paid features is this: if you pay us, we might start paying you. The roll out began with Musk’s favorite creators sharing screenshots of payouts in the range of tens of thousands of dollars from X’s new creator monetization program, which launched last month. After that first batch was paid, much smaller creators’ payouts began to go out last week, with many being paid in the hundreds of dollars range. 

Musk himself has regularly posted about monetization since the launch, reminding users that the main prerequisite to being accepted into the program is to subscribe to X Premium, aka Twitter Blue, the platform’s $8 per month premium subscription plan that has struggled to take off.

So, now buoyed by the prospects of getting paid, how have X Premium subscriptions been going? According to new X Premium subscription data, not great. Only around 94,000 net users have signed up for X Premium between July 1 and August 10. 

The data was collected by third-party researcher Travis Brown, who has been tracking X Premium subscriptions since Musk’s version of Twitter’s subscription service launched. X gained about 16,000 net new subscribers a week over the past month and a half, just a slight boost over the program’s previous gains, which were usually between 7,000 to 15,000 net new X Premium subscribers.

The data suggests that monetization has, thus far, failed to significantly move the needle for X Premium aka Twitter Blue subscribers. Especially when compared to subscription upticks based on Musk’s previous moves, such as, ones that make the free version of X worse.

For example, when Musk ended Twitter’s old legacy verification program, he announced that verification badges would be removed from those users’ accounts by April 1. The week before that, Twitter Blue saw a total of 53,682 net new subscriptions in just a 7-day span. When Musk pushed the legacy verification removal back to April 20, Twitter saw another 53,400 net new subscribers sign up. And, at the time, compared to how many legacy verified users there were, even these numbers were viewed as disappointing in comparison.

MediaDownloader has previously utilized Brown’s data to report on Twitter Blue subscription numbers over the past 10 months. Based on internal company leaks earlier this year, Brown says his data collection method, which utilizes official X channels, accounts for approximately 90 percent of all users subscribed to the paid service.

At least 827,615 users currently subscribe to X Premium according to the data. Brown tells MediaDownloader that he’d be ‘surprised’ if there were more than 950,000 X Premium subscribers in total, with his methodology taken into account. Musk claimed late last month that the X platform overall has more than 540 million ‘monthly users.’

Besides a subscription being a requirement for monetization, X Premium provides users with other benefits such as a verification badge, longer tweets, and an edit tweet function. While the data cannot ascertain a users’ reason for subscribing, the time frame for this specific data covers the period in which Musk’s preferred users were paid out mid-to-high five figures, the official launch of the program to all users, and the first payout period to all eligible users.

Along with an X Premium subscription, monetization eligibility also requires that a user has 500 followers and has received at least 5 million post impressions over the past 3 months. The latter requirement was lowered on August 11, which is the day after the most recent X Premium subscription data was compiled. As of now, it’s unclear if these changes will result in more users subscribing to X Premium. 

According to the data, more than 37 percent, or 307,891, of X Premium subscribers have fewer than 500 followers and are not eligible for monetization. Even more likely lack the 5 million impression eligibility requirements and cannot partake in the program. And, as Musk has previously explained, only views from other X Premium subscribers count towards monetization, meaning that there are fewer than one million monetizable subscribers on the entire platform.


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