Apr 15, 2021
*Updated January 2022
On your journey to become a Twitch streamer, you’ve probably got the same end-goal as so many other content creators and streamers: to become an official Twitch Affiliate.
Joining the Twitch Affiliate Program is just as big an achievement as getting the blue verified Twitter check mark, or even getting to monetize your YouTube channel as a partner.
At first, these things can seem like the Holy Grail — something so many creators dream of, but very few can actually achieve. The truth is that with enough work (and some production savvy) you can have what it takes to reach your goals.
Getting paid by Twitch is a pretty straightforward process. Once you’re part of the Affiliate Program and generate a minimum $100 in revenue — either from subscription bumps or accumulated Bits — Twitch will issue a payment.
You can set that up to a checking account, a PayPal account, or even a standard check. But first you'll need to provide tax information since you will be, in some regards, almost like a freelance employee.
It typically takes between three to five days to receive a payment from Twitch, and if you ever want to change your payout method, you can do that in the "Onboarding Info" section by choosing the "Change Payout Method" tab.
For more context, let's take a closer look at what it means to join Twitch's Affiliate Program.
If you want to turn your Twitch channel into an active and engaged community, you’re going to want to become a Twitch Partner. That’s how you unlock things like paid ads, unique emotes, badges, and other customization options. In other words, a partnership is how you can build the sort of brand that attracts new viewers by the dozen.
But in order to become a Partner, you’ll need to work your way up to Affiliate status first.
So let’s take a step back and look at the ins and outs of the Twitch Affiliate Program.
First, a Twitch Affiliate is not a Twitch Partner. Affiliates are frequent and active streamers who Twitch considers reliable content creators on the platform. Partners are the top tier of streamers, the ones who are a core part of the site and whose content drives traffic to Twitch.
At face value, the biggest draw is earning income when people subscribe to your Twitch channel. You’ll also get to enable Bits and Cheer, which are basically an open donation/gifting system where viewers and subscribers can pay you directly if they love your content.
Twitch Affiliates also get a cut of game sales (and in-game purchases) if viewers purchase the game you’re playing by clicking the link on your stream. You’ll get a 5% revenue share, and your viewers will be rewarded with a Twitch Crate just for supporting a Twitch streamer.
The question everyone immediately asks is, “How do I qualify as a Twitch Affiliate?”
The good news is that Twitch is very clear about what they’re looking for in an affiliate. They’re obviously interested in your overall subscription base, but — and this may surprise you — Twitch cares more about how active you are on the platform.
Here are the qualifications for the Twitch Affiliate Program:
For reference, Twitch Partners get access to custom emotes, a cut of ad revenue, customization options for their channel, video-on-demand support, and a whole lot more. But to qualify for a partnership, you’ll need to stream for 25 hours on 12 different days with an average of 75 concurrent viewers over the course of 30 days.
The stakes are higher, but the rewards are greater. (And who doesn’t want that little check mark?) And your path to being a Twitch Partner is to become a Twitch Affiliate first.
Of course, the next big question is finding out how the twitch affiliate payout works. (I mean, you didn’t do all of that streaming and community building for nothing, right?)
In terms of revenue generation, Affiliates make their money through subscriptions, Bits, and donations. Twitch splits subscription revenue 50/50 with Affiliates, so you’ll get paid $2.50 from a $4.99 subscription to your channel.
When it comes to Bits, it’s a pretty straightforward breakdown. Each Bit is the equivalent of $0.01, so 100 Bits equals $1. (If you live outside of the USA, the Bit value will switch to your local currency at a similar rate.)
And any donation made to your channel from a third party goes directly toward your payout. That makes donations the most Affiliate-friendly option, but it’s also pretty competitive for streamers to attract sponsors toward their channel.
Now that you’ve got a grasp of Twitch’s different programs and what you need to do to reach Affiliate status, you’re probably thinking about where to begin your journey. Maybe you need to stream more frequently, or attract a couple more subscribers this month.
Of course, another part of being a successful streamer means knowing — and following — all of the different rules and regulations involved. Part of that means getting familiar with Twitch music rules and other copyright laws. It’s not the most exciting topic, but you’ll want to protect yourself and your content from DMCA issues (a.k.a. copyright claims).
When it comes to copyright-safe music, we've got you covered. Check out our Twitch Pro plan for over 20 curated playlists (200+ hours) of label-quality music for your channel.
This is the sort of legal topic that can be a little confusing, but music copyright has been a big deal for Twitch and other content creation sites over the past 12 months. (To find out what type of music you can and can't legally play, check out this article.)
You’ll also want to make sure you’re paying attention to audio quality. Most streamers know the importance of choosing the perfect game for their audience, which could mean finding something trendy or something particular to the niche you’re most passionate about.
However, listeners care a lot about sound quality. You don’t need a $2,000 studio mic, but investing in something other than your Airpods will go a long way to keeping new viewers on your channel.
After all, that’s the only way to turn newcomers into subscribers. And that’s a key tactic in reaching Affiliate status — and, someday, of becoming a successful Twitch Partner.