- Desiree Wright, a 37-year-old single mom of three kids, plays piano for thousands of people on Microsoft’s Mixer streaming service.
- For years, Wright streamed her music on Amazon-owned Twitch, but she made the jump to Mixer earlier this year. There, she’s gained roughly the same number of followers in nine months that she made in four years on Twitch.
- In an interview with Business Insider, Wright explained why she made the jump — and why she recommends anyone considering a career in streaming to try Mixer first.
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Two years ago, I met Desiree Wright while walking the show floor at Bungie’s big reveal event for “Destiny 2” in Southern California.
Wright lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with her three kids. For years, Wright split her time between giving piano lessons during the day and streaming even more piano playing at night on Twitch, chatting with her community and taking song requests until the early hours of the morning. She was getting around four hours of sleep daily.
In January, though, Wright made a decision: She was going to leave Amazon-owned Twitch for a different streaming service called Mixer, which is run by Microsoft. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the most popular video-game players in the world, notably made the same decision a few months ago.
“I had planned on trying it out for a month, but I honestly liked it so much that after two weeks I went ahead and officially announced that I was going to completely move over,” Wright told Business Insider in a phone interview.
Wright has no regrets about her decision. In about nine months, she has accumulated well over 9,000 followers. Wright said it took four years to get the same number of followers on Twitch.
“If you’re starting out streaming right now, I don’t know honestly why you would go to Twitch,” she said. “If you’re starting out brand-new, you should go to Mixer, I feel like that’s a no-brainer.”
Reasons for moving
Wright said there are two key reasons why she prefers Mixer over Twitch: Discoverability, and support.
“Twitch is oversaturated. We all know it,” Wright told Business Insider.
When you visit Twitch.tv, you’ll see a carousel of featured streamers, popular channels, plus games and categories you might like. But Twitch doesn’t give viewers much of an incentive to explore elsewhere.
“Within the music group specifically, we had a lot of the same viewers that were staying within music, and it was really hard to get outside people to watch the music directory. So all the music streamers were kind of sharing the same people,” Wright said. “I felt like I had a quality stream, quality content, and I was streaming as much as I could, but just feeling like I couldn’t really get as far as I wanted to. It was really frustrating. I knew I could probably grow more, but I have to do these crazy odd hours and I couldn’t do it anymore. It was not good for my health. “
Mixer.com, on the other hand, offers more opportunities to discover new streams, including curated stations like Channel One that get premium real estate on the homepage. Channel One is a station run by Mixer itself, and cycles through random Mixer partners every 15 minutes.
Channel One can have a huge impact on your channel: Wright said she’s gotten thousands of viewers and hundreds of followers from being randomly featured there.
“Yesterday, I got hosted by Channel One and I got over 350 followers,” she said. “I was getting maybe a follower on Twitch a day.”
For streamers, venues like Channel One offer a great way to grow your audience. Channel One is reserved for Mixer partners only, but Wright says the requirements to becoming a partner were “a lot more attainable” compared to Twitch.
The Ninja effect
You may not have heard of Mixer prior to August 1 of this year. That’s when Tyler “Ninja” Blevins — the most popular Twitch streamer in the world, at the time — announced he was leaving Twitch, the platform where he rose to fame, for Mixer.
According to Wright, the impact of Ninja’s decision was almost immediate: There has been a major influx of not just viewers, but content creators, too.
“Ninja just brought more awareness [to Mixer],” she said. “I don’t really think that people are thinking they are going to be able to get money like him, but I think if they watch his stream and see how clear and how great it looks, they want to go check it out, you know?”
While Ninja’s massive following will boost Mixer’s overall viewership, Wright believes it’s ultimately going to attract more streamers and content creators because there’s “more potential for growth.”
Mixer encourages discovery, but it also rewards participation. Simply watching or commenting on Mixer gives you Sparks, one of Mixer’s in-app currencies, which you can use to interact with streamers with GIFs and other visual effects. You earn sparks for every minute you watch on Mixer, which creates a feedback loop for viewers: The more you watch, the more you can interact with your favorite streamers.
Mixer has also experimented with viewer incentives, where streamers could make a certain amount of money based on how many viewers dropped into their stream, or how many sparks they accumulated from viewers. These systems continue to change, but it highlights Mixer’s willingness to create an ecosystem that works equally well for viewers and creators alike.
“On Mixer, I have a very normal schedule and I can get the same number of viewers I was getting on Twitch at odd hours, or better — much better,” she said. “I’m not going to tell everybody to go switch to Mixer. I think it’s a very individual decision. But when I tried it out, I just knew at that point this is the right fit. So I went with it quickly because I had felt like I had done everything that I could do on Twitch.”
Desiree Wright streams on Mixer starting around 10 a.m. Eastern on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and afternoons on Wednesdays and Thursdays.