How Does Discord Make Money? Understanding the Discord Business Model

Discover how the most popular chat app is making money with free and paid subscriptions.

Table of Contents

In 2015, Discord‘s founders launched an app that was initially built for gaming communities. However, the growth of online spaces –and the explosion of the pandemic– led Discord to become much more than its creators had planned. Now, Internet users use Discord to connect with like-minded people beyond the gamming community, to socialize, find help, and collaborate.

Since its foundation, the platform has grown from a small community of gamers into one of the most popular communication tools ever created. In July 2021, the platform reached around 19 million weekly active users (WAU). And 150 million monthly active users (MAU), rising from 56 million MAUs in 2019. However, something that many people on the Internet are asking is: How does Discord make money?, How does their business model work?

Although when some people only use the free version of Discord, there’s a full set of features built for premium users and sustain the Discord business model.

How Does Discord Work?

Since its origins, Discord works with an ad-free freemium model. This business model allows users to access the core features for free but charges for additional features and content. This includes the ability to create Discord servers with up to 300 members and voice chat with members. It also allows users to share media files like images and videos with their friends, and much more.

So while Discord doesn’t work with ads like most online social platforms, the app makes money by offering a tiered membership model. These range from $4.99 per month up to $24.99 per month depending on what you need out of the platform.

Just in 2020, the platform made around $130 million in revenue, nearly triple what it made in 2019. “We have intentionally pursued a business model that doesn’t rely on monetizing our users’ data,” said Discord’s CTO and co-founder, Stanislav Vishnevskiy.

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Nitro Subscription Service

The company also earns money through its Nitro subscription service. It costs $5 per month or $50 per year. And comes with several perks such as animated avatars, animated emojis, gifs, and access to exclusive channels with special roles. In addition, it offers abilities like being able to mute everyone else on the server at once. Or having a custom welcome message when someone joins the server for the first time.

You can upgrade to Nitro to unlock the full Discord potential.

Another platform that has a similar business model is Slack, which generates revenue by selling its software as a service (SaaS) product. Slack also offers a premium option for businesses and communities looking for more features. These include video conferencing and direct messages with higher limits on file size and attachment counts.

Other Ways Discord Makes Money

Apart from its subscription service, Discord also makes money through other means. As the platform is becoming a popular distribution channel for games, developers are paying Discord to host their games on the platform. Discord takes a cut of these distribution fees, which helps offset the cost of running its servers and maintaining the app itself.

The platform also offers virtual ticketing services that allow event organizers to sell tickets directly through Discord. For example, users can buy tickets for a concert via Discord using Bitcoin or Ethereum without having to leave the app at all.

💡 You can easily buy Bitcoin with credit card on Paybis and use it to pay online.

In 2015, Discord‘s founders launched an app that was initially built for gaming communities. However, the growth of online spaces –and the explosion of the pandemic– led Discord to become much more than its creators had planned. Now, Internet users use Discord to connect with like-minded people beyond the gamming community, to socialize, find help, and collaborate.

Since its foundation, the platform has grown from a small community of gamers into one of the most popular communication tools ever created. In July 2021, the platform reached around 19 million weekly active users (WAU). And 150 million monthly active users (MAU), rising from 56 million MAUs in 2019. However, something that many people on the Internet are asking is: How does Discord make money?, How does their business model work?

Although when some people only use the free version of Discord, there’s a full set of features built for premium users and sustain the Discord business model.

How Does Discord Work?

Since its origins, Discord works with an ad-free freemium model. This business model allows users to access the core features for free but charges for additional features and content. This includes the ability to create Discord servers with up to 300 members and voice chat with members. It also allows users to share media files like images and videos with their friends, and much more.

So while Discord doesn’t work with ads like most online social platforms, the app makes money by offering a tiered membership model. These range from $4.99 per month up to $24.99 per month depending on what you need out of the platform.

Just in 2020, the platform made around $130 million in revenue, nearly triple what it made in 2019. “We have intentionally pursued a business model that doesn’t rely on monetizing our users’ data,” said Discord’s CTO and co-founder, Stanislav Vishnevskiy.

YouTube video

Nitro Subscription Service

The company also earns money through its Nitro subscription service. It costs $5 per month or $50 per year. And comes with several perks such as animated avatarsanimated emojisgifs, and access to exclusive channels with special roles. In addition, it offers abilities like being able to mute everyone else on the server at once. Or having a custom welcome message when someone joins the server for the first time.

You can upgrade to Nitro to unlock the full Discord potential.

Another platform that has a similar business model is Slack, which generates revenue by selling its software as a service (SaaS) product. Slack also offers a premium option for businesses and communities looking for more features. These include video conferencing and direct messages with higher limits on file size and attachment counts.

Other Ways Discord Makes Money

Apart from its subscription service, Discord also makes money through other means. As the platform is becoming a popular distribution channel for games, developers are paying Discord to host their games on the platform. Discord takes a cut of these distribution fees, which helps offset the cost of running its servers and maintaining the app itself.

The platform also offers virtual ticketing services that allow event organizers to sell tickets directly through Discord. For example, users can buy tickets for a concert via Discord using Bitcoin or Ethereum without having to leave the app at all.

Victoria Mortimer

Victoria Mortimer

I'm a journalist with a Social Communication degree, community manager, and content creator with over five years of experience. Now, I'm working as an independent writer passionate about community building, entrepreneurship, and social media.

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