TRIVIUM frontman Matt Heafy spoke to The New York Times about the overwhelming success of his Twitch channel, which boasts a follower count of 220,000.
Matt, who streams everything from video games, guitar clinics to TRIVIUM and acoustic song covers, all while he's off the road and awaiting the next TRIVIUM album-tour cycle, said that the Twitch channel generated just under $10,000 a month in 2019 and 2020. By contrast, TRIVIUM — in which Matt is joined by three other members — collected an average of $11,000 a month from on-demand services like Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
The 35-year-old Heafy is described in The New York Times article as "one of the most dedicated musicians on Twitch" who has been streaming nearly every weekday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. since January 2018 from an unoccupied bedroom in his home in Orlando, Florida, which he shares with his wife and their twin 2-year-olds.
"Even if I don't feel like practicing, I know people are going to be there who want to hear a couple hours of their favorite TRIVIUM songs," Heafy, who may well over 10,000 people may be watching him at any moment, said. "So I make sure I'm there to make their day good."
As more artists, including TRIVIUM, return to the road for their first post-pandemic live performances, Heafy said he will continue to engage with fans via Twitch from the band's tours. "I'm going to keep it to the same exact thing — 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday," he said. "Every show, every soundcheck, every vocal warm-up; every day off, me playing games in the hotel room."
"I look at it as part of my life now," he added. "And I want to keep doing this for as long as I can."
According to Influencer MarketingHub, Twitch streamers can make money through a combination of affiliate links, selling customized merchandise, donations, sponsorship and tournament winnings. Twitch affiliates and partners can earn a portion of the money people pay to subscribe to their channels. Viewers can opt for one of three subscription levels — $4.99, $9.99, or $24.99. The streamer and Twitch share the subscription income, initially with a 50:50 split.
In a March 2020 interview with Forbes, Heafy spoke explained what exactly led him to pursue this avenue with streaming video games and music-related content on Twitch.
"Well, I've always been into video games," he said. "I remember beating 'Mario' before I was really speaking English — my mom is Japanese and she kind of raised me for a little while on her own while my dad was in the marines. So video games were something I was playing before I started playing guitar. I started with the originals like 'Mario' and 'Donkey Kong', kind of building my way up and then I was heavily into RPGs as a preteen to my teenage years with 'Final Fantasy'. 'Final Fantasy IV', 'VI', 'VII' and 'IX' were my favorites, and then I started getting into first person shooters like 'Call Of Duty', but I got into those through 'GoldenEye'. I started watching some streamers and decided I wanted to do it, but I did it kind of half-assed at first, and not that I was being lazy about it, I just didn't really know the right way to do it.
"I later befriended two Twitch associates, John Howell and Brandon Kaupert, and they invited me to the Twitch headquarters one day when TRIVIUM was playing San Francisco," he continued. "So I went down and they gave me a tour of the place and they lent me one of the Gunrun backpacks, which I was using to stream the shows with. So I started streaming some shows and it started going pretty good, and then I visited San Francisco and met up with Brandon and John again, and I told them, 'Man, I love Twitch so much I wish I could do it more, but here's why I can't.' And the reason I couldn't is because I have to practice between one to three to five hours a day to keep myself in shape. And Brandon looks at me and says, 'Why don't you just stream that?' I had an 'aha' moment and I was, like, 'Nobody wants to watch that, dude.' And he said, 'Trust me. Just try that.'
"So, lo and behold, I've only had one job ever — it's been TRIVIUM; first band, first job — but for the last three years, I'm happy to say Twitch has become a second job. When I'm at home, I make significantly more from Twitch streaming than I do with TRIVIUM, and then when I'm out on tour with TRIVIUM, then obviously TRIVIUM becomes more and Twitch becomes less. But the fact that I'm able to make money doing what I should be doing off tour, staying conditioned, practicing, and being ready for a tour at any given moment, it's amazing and we really have a supportive community."