Discord is starting to test a new Premium Memberships feature that allows creators to monetize their servers. An introductory pilot goes live today with about 10 creators, which will pave the way for Discord’s 150 million monthly active users to pay to access a variety of channels or servers and support creators.
Premium memberships offer what a number of creators have already experimented with: a way to offer more content or access to community members. Discord communities will be able to create more benefits, see analytics of member engagement and lock channels or even entire servers for paying subscribers.
“We see Discord becoming a home for more creators and communities through products such as Premium memberships,” explains Sumeet Vaidya, Director of Engineering at Discord, in an interview with The edge. “By providing tools that let community creators make money, more of them will drive healthy, committed communities for extended periods of time.”
While Discord already has a number of integrations with Patreon, YouTube, Twitch, and other services that allow subscribers on other platforms to enjoy special perks or privileges in Discord servers, Premium memberships will be fully native to Discord. This means that Discord also sets the payment terms directly, and it has opted for a 90/10 share with creators, enabling Discord communities to retain 90 percent of all revenue.
“We want to make sure that creators are able to make as much money as possible, while ensuring that if creators are successful, Discord will also make some money, ensuring that Discord is also successful,” says Vaidya. . “This was the most advantageous split we could think of, to ensure that both parties are invested in the long run.”
However, it is not clear how this revenue distribution will work if people subscribe to the mobile. Apple and Google are taking a cut of subscriptions and in-app purchases like this, and right now Discord is only activating this through its desktop and browser clients.
So what do you get if you choose a Premium membership to a Discord server? It’s really up to the creators, and it’s something Discord is looking for in its communities to help shape these memberships in this trial phase. There are already journalists, professional card makers and other communities making money on their Discord servers, many of whom use the Clubhouse-like Stage Channel audio features to provide a small and more intimate community or exclusive perks to subscribers.
It’s clear that Discord saw this new trend and wanted to make it much more streamlined, native to its platform and easier for everyone involved. While you may associate non-subscriber Discord channels with Twitch streamers or Patreon subscriptions, Discord works with a variety of communities to test Premium memberships and make them available to both creators and Discord users.
Premium membership channels will have a little blue star next to them, and if you try to access them, you will be offered the levels of access that creators have set. In the coming weeks, you may see Discord community servers test this new feature, and it’s something that will expand to more communities next year.
“This is one of our most sought after features from creators,” reveals Vaidya. “While this is something that many creators are already doing through third parties, this is the first time they will be able to do it built into Discord.”
Update, December 7 at 11:15 ET: The article has been updated with details that Discord is testing this only on desktop and browser so far.