In December 2021, Discord began testing a new feature called Premium Memberships (opens in new tab) that gave community creators the ability to charge for access to some or all of their servers. At the time, it was limited to a "select handful" of Discord communities, but now it's been rolled out to all server owners in the US under a new name: Server Subscriptions (opens in new tab).
The Server subscription feature is exactly what it sounds like: Server owners can offer multi-tiered subscription plans for "unique roles, perks, and benefits" on their servers. Pricing is wide open—you can charge what you want for whatever options you like—and Discord will take a relatively small cut of 10% (plus possible "refunds, chargebacks, and associated fees") of any payments earned.
It's a lot like having a Patreon built into Discord, which makes sense for all involved. Patreon users commonly offer access to exclusive Discord servers as part of their monthly packages, and this essentially opens another monetization channel for those users while giving Discord a piece of the action. (Patreon, by the way, offers three different user plans (opens in new tab) with takes of 5-12%, plus a variable payment processing fee.)
It even looks like Patreon:
Patreon screen (via The Try Guys (opens in new tab)):
Discord Server Subscription screen:
In order to enable subscriptions, servers must meet some very basic minimum requirements:
- The server owner must be based in the United States
- Your server has a good standing with Discord, meaning no recent Terms of Service or Community Guideline violations
- You must agree to our updated Monetization Terms (opens in new tab) and Server Subscriptions Policy (opens in new tab)
Naturally, there is fine print in those terms and policies. Server owners can't claim their first payout until their earnings reach a minimum of $100, for instance, and there's a lengthy list of things that cannot be monetized through server subscriptions, including sexually explicit content, online dating, charities, gambling, drug dealing, gun running, "financial scams," or any sort of "endangering behaviors or activities."
It's not quite as cut-and-dried as "do as thou wilt," then, but even so it could be a boon for an awful lot of content creators, especially those who don't want to go all-in on services like Patreon or Fanhouse.
To help server owners spread the word, Discord is also offering new Promo Pages (opens in new tab) that will simplify the process of sharing and publicizing subscription options outside of Discord. They're auto-generated (with some user input) and become available after an owner has set up their first subscription tier. And for anyone dipping their toes into the monetization waters for the first time, Discord's Creator Portal (opens in new tab) now has a "Server Subs 101 (opens in new tab)" guide on how to make money through their servers.