Elon Musk journalists journalist twitter X paid content

Elon Musk Tries to Lure Journalists to Earn Their Living on X. Is It Realistic?

3 min read

This article is for general information purposes only and isn’t intended to be financial product advice. You should always obtain your own independent advice before making any financial decisions. The Chainsaw and its contributors aren’t liable for any decisions based on this content.



Elon Musk Tweeted/X-ed today that journalists should start writing and publishing on Twitter, leaving their jobs to pursue freedom and a higher income. Freedom, maybe, but a higher income? Are you sure, Mr Musk?

So, can journalists and other creators just start piling onto X and churning out content? Not quite. We looked into the terms and conditions so you don’t have to. You are welcome.

Before you chuck in your job of writing news for some faceless corporate, here’s how you can make money from uploading content on X, and all of the catches that come with it. 

Journalists and subscriptions

This is a tough way to make money on X. You need a loyal following which loves you enough to follow your blatherings by subscribing to your feed — and pay for it. It’s like OnlyFans, but the product is your journalistic content.

If you do get people to subscribe, it’s a good way to earn monthly income.

The way to keep people subscribing is to offer exclusive content. You can also offer direct interactions with subscribers. 

Creators get to set their subscription price. The X platform suggests price bands of US$2.99, (AU$4.66), US$4.99 ($7.78) or US$9.99 (AU$15.58) for monthly subscriptions. People who subscribe are known as “super followers”. This does not sound stalky at all … eh.

This type of model would be good, for example, for crypto traders who offer analysis, or people who spot trends in investment markets.

When your loyal subscribers reply to your tweet, they will have a badge next to their name, so you will know to shower that human with love.

Creators can also post a tweet, but can choose to limit replies on some posts to  subscribers. Everyone can see the tweet, but only the specials can engage.

They can also hold a live “Spaces” (which is like a live video) and select an option whereby only subscribers are allowed into the space.

What you need to qualify for subscriptions

There are a few conditions, so you’ll have to get to work. You need to be at least 18 years old, have a minimum of 500 followers, and have been active on the platform in the past 30 days. Creators also need a Stripe account to get paid.

After sign-up it can take a bit to get approved, so hang in there.

Once you are up and running and collecting subscribers, the thing to remember is that the full subscription amount that your followers pay goes to X, not you as a creator, but X then passes on the vast majority in a monthly payment.

X says creators can keep up to “97% of monthly subscription revenue after fees”. 

You don’t get paid until you earn over US$50 (AU$78) a month. Any amounts under this rolls over to the following month. Once you start earning over US$50K (AU$78K) in lifetime earnings, X pays you differently, now that you have hit the big time, high roller.

According to the fine print, “After $50,000 in lifetime earnings, you can earn up to 80% of revenue after in-app purchase fees.” This is very wooly. It’s hard to know what this means exactly. Does this mean that X takes AT LEAST 20% of everything you earn forever more + fees? It’s a little obscure, you might not know until you hit the US$50K mark!

And don’t forget there will be taxes on top of that!

There are some other terms and conditions, so make sure to read the grossly boring fine print. But if trying to convince people to subscribe to your content isn’t for you, there is another way to make money on Twitter.

X and Tips

The Tips feature is a virtual tip jar where your followers can show some extra love for your content by giving you some cash.

All you need to do is connect a payment service to your account. Twitter doesn’t take a cut from these tips. Whatever your supporters give you, you get to keep.

So how can you shake down followers for tips? Spice things up by hosting events on Twitter Spaces. Offer crypto education or workshops, or give expert advice. Afterwards, invite followers to leave a tip if they enjoyed the event.

While it seems doubtful that many journalists or other creators will earn more money on X than in a day job, we will keep an eye on this, as stranger things have happened when Elon Musk gets involved!