How Much Money Does Discord Make? An In-Depth Look at Discord‘s Revenue Sources

As a leading communication platform for over 150 million gamers and communities monthly, Discord has experienced meteoric growth since launching in 2015. But how does this free platform actually generate revenue?

As a small business consultant who assists entrepreneurs, I‘ve analyzed Discord‘s financials to uncover where its money comes from:

An Overview of Discord‘s Revenue Sources

Discord brings in revenue through multiple streams:

  • Nitro subscriptions for premium features
  • Server boosting payments
  • In-app purchases on mobile
  • Branded merchandise sales
  • Investments from venture capital firms

The company does not disclose official earnings, but estimates show Discord‘s revenue reached around $130 million in 2020. That‘s a 188% jump from $45 million in 2019.

Let‘s break down each of Discord‘s money-makers and how they capitalize on the platform‘s loyal users.

Nitro Subscriptions – Discord‘s Primary Revenue Source

Discord‘s Nitro subscriptions unlock premium perks like animated emojis, larger file uploads, and a custom tag. There are two paid tiers:

  • Nitro Basic – $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year
  • Nitro – $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year

Nitro is Discord‘s main revenue driver. Discord has not released subscriber numbers, but analysts estimate roughly 5-7% of the over 150 million monthly active users purchase Nitro.

  • If 7.5 million users subscribed to Nitro at $9.99 per month, that‘s potential annual revenue of $899 million.
  • Even at a 5% subscription rate, Nitro could drive over $600 million yearly.

Compared to competitors like YouTube Red or Twitch Turbo, Discord‘s monetization is still in the early stages. But subscriptions represent a massive revenue opportunity moving forward.

Server Boosting Purchases – Unlocking Platform Features

On Discord, users can pay $4.99 per month to "boost" servers they are part of. This unlocks extra features like:

  • File size limit increased from 50MB to 100MB
  • Channel limit raised from 50 to 75
  • Added emoji slots

Server owners receive a portion of boost revenue, incentivizing them to encourage more users to boost.

While Discord has not released data, a sample of top servers shows many having hundreds or thousands of boosts. If even 10% of servers had an average of 200 boosts, that‘s potential annual revenue of $239 million.

In-App Purchases – Driving Mobile Revenue

Discord‘s mobile app allows in-app purchases for "coins" to access premium upgrades. According to analytics firm SensorTower, this revenue totaled $59.2 million in just the first half of 2022, up 30% year-over-year.

Based on these growth trends, Discord‘s 2022 mobile in-app revenue could exceed $130 million. With gross margins near 70%, in-app purchases represent a highly lucrative source of income.

Merchandise Sales – Monetizing Brand Loyalty

The enthusiastic Discord fanbase presents ample opportunity to sell branded merchandise. Discord operates its own merchandise store with t-shirts, hoodies, mugs and other accessories.

Comparable platforms like Reddit bring in over $5 million annually from merchandise. If Discord converts even 1% of its 150 million users to merchandise buyers, that‘s $15 million in potential revenue.

Investments – Fueling Discord‘s Growth

Discord has raised nearly $1 billion in funding from top investors like Greenoaks Capital, Tencent, IVP, and Sony.

This affords Discord the runway to focus on growth over profitability. With over $980 million in funding, Discord can operate at a loss while scaling its global user base.

Future Revenue Potential

Discord‘s annual revenue exceeded $130 million in 2020, a 188% increase from 2019. For 2021, projections estimate over $200 million.

Driving this growth is Discord‘s ability to monetize its engaged user base through subscriptions, in-app purchases, and branding.

  • Nitro subscriptions represent Discord‘s largest opportunity, with the potential to drive nearly $1 billion at just a 10% conversion rate.
  • In-app purchases will also be key, forecast to deliver over $130 million annually.
  • And merchandise sales, server boosts, and sponsors could provide tens of millions in incremental revenue.

If current trends continue, analysts predict Discord‘s revenue doubling year-over-year to over $400 million in 2022.

The Bottom Line

Backed by a loyal audience and strategic monetization, Discord has built a sustainable business model poised for continued expansion.

Conservative projections show Discord generating well over $300 million in 2022 revenue. With new features and further user growth, its revenue could rapidly scale upwards of $500 million to $1 billion.

For any entrepreneur building a community-driven product, Discord provides an instructive case study in converting users into a revenue engine. Unlocking this potential requires a thoughtful monetization strategy tailored to the audience, but done right, the returns can be tremendous.