Newcomers to Twitch.tv can be excused for experiencing a moment of bafflement the first time they land on a Twitch Creative channel.
Twitch is famous, and rightly so, for being the place to go to watch gamers from all over the world show off their mad skills.
But Twitch has also quietly become a home to all kinds of creative people — from traditional and digital painters to leather workers, professional chainmail creators, prop and costume builders, cooks, stand-up comedians, sculptors, and blacksmiths — all of whom can be found practicing their craft througout the day over live streams.
Twitch has historically been ambivalent toward creative streamers. While some artists and musicians were offered partnerships, the community as a whole wasn’t sure if it was welcome. Four months ago, Soren Hammer, a leather artist who streams under the name ThatDanishGuy, revealed on Reddit that he had received an email from Twitch staff requesting that he confine his art-related streams to the creative section. Other creative streamers reported receiving similar emails. Twitch organizes itself by collecting individual streams –also known as channels — into categories that are also known as sections and that are typically devoted to a particular game. Creative streamers could get more much more exposure by streaming art related to a particular game in that game’s channel.
In a Reddit post titled “A plea to Twitch staff: Don’t lock our channels away,” ThatDanishGuy asked Twitch to reconsider. “In the past we’ve been allowed to tream in any category our content was related to,” he wrote. “Being confined to a single category with little traffic and viewership will kill off any chance of growing and living off of streaming in the long run.”
Early Thursday morning, Twitch responded by announcing a separate landing page for artists and musicians. Like the landing page for the gaming community, which promotes individual gamers, the Creative Page will spotlight individual artists and help them build a following. In a press release, the company said the page was a reflection of “a bigger and broader focus on the swiftly growing creative community.”
“The creative community was born from the gaming community on Twitch, as top broadcasters began broadcasting creation of fan art during gameplay down time,” said Bill Morrier, head of Twitch Creative. “This attracted more broadcasters to the platform whose primary focus was on artistic endeavors. With their passion, variety, camaraderie, and sheer organic growth, they inspired us to put a larger spotlight on their community.”
Twitch Creative has been growing at the rate of about 40 percent compared to last year. There are now almost 1,000 creative broadcasters and around 2 million people watch their streams each month.
To honor the memory of Bob Ross, one of television’s most popular and influential artists, Twitch announced its new support for creative streamers on the painter’s birthday. Ross, who died 20 years ago, became a family name through his PBS show “The Joy of Painting,” which ran from January 1983 to May 1994. All 403 episodes will be broadcast on Twitch from October 29-November 6 on twitch.tv/bobross.
“It’s been over a year since the creative category was stealth added to the directory, and it’s fantastic finally seeing it launched officially,” ThatDanishGuy wrote on Reddit. “It brings great peace of mind to someone who’s been floating in limbo, knowing that this is now a permanent part of Twitch.”