The Truth About Wages in the VTuber Industry - Dere★Project

The Truth About Wages in the VTuber Industry

Hey there, folks! Vishwas here, back again to dive into the nitty-gritty of the VTuber world. Today, we’re delving into the controversies surrounding talent compensation in this ever-evolving industry. Are VTubers really being exploited for profit, or is the reality more complex than it seems? Grab your detective hats, and let’s unravel the intricacies!

The Truth About Wages in the VTuber Industry

From Idealism to Realism

I once viewed the VTuber world through rose-tinted glasses, envisioning it as a realm of super kawaii girls playing games, singing songs, and cracking jokes. VTubers were living the anime dream, or so it seemed.

However, as I ventured deeper into online discussions and forums, I discovered a darker side to the industry. Whispers of unfair practices, including agencies siphoning off profits, overworking talents, and exercising control akin to idol management, cast a shadow over my initial perception.

The image of VTubers rolling in wealth while living out their magical lives started to crack. Was this all a facade? Were my beloved talents struggling while agency CEOs lived the high life? My innocence was lost, and I began to see the VTuber world as a corporate machine rather than a realm of magic and fun. As an aspiring talent, my enthusiasm started to wane.

But I can’t let disillusionment hold me back. As a future businessperson, it’s time to don my detective cap and seek the truth about working conditions in this cutthroat capitalist landscape, not just for myself but for VTubers everywhere.

Origins of the Pay Controversy

When did these whispers of wage theft start circulating? Early on, vague comments from talents hinted at their frustration with compensation from agencies. Fans began to speculate about unfair revenue splits that seemed to favor the corporations over the talents.

However, without transparency, rumors flourished about agencies exploiting their talents. Many still assume that talents are left with mere breadcrumbs while the agencies feast on the bountiful harvest of content.

But is this narrative entirely accurate? Do we have solid evidence of wage theft, or are these claims mere conjecture? It’s time to examine some specific cases.

Case Study: Nijisanji

Nijisanji Project

Nijisanji is often criticized for its merch revenue split, where, according to fan speculations, talents reportedly receive a minimal 5% compared to Cover Corp’s more equitable 50/50 split. If this is true, the disparity is substantial. However, drawing definitive conclusions can be challenging since we lack a complete picture.

While the optics may not be favorable, we must consider the broader context. The limited involvement of talents in merchandise sales may suggest an imbalance in creative control, but whether it amounts to active exploitation remains uncertain.

Pushing Back Against Exploitation Narratives 

While it’s essential for fans to criticize agencies they believe are not supporting talents, we shouldn’t assume that all agencies are inherently sinister. Some may indeed have questionable practices, but others genuinely nurture their talents. It’s crucial to recognize the nuances that exist in this complex landscape.

As an aspiring talent myself, I plan to approach agencies with an open mind, conducting thorough research and due diligence. It’s time to explore the brighter side of the VTuber world.

Hololive: Debunking the Myths

Hololive is often regarded as the gold standard for treating talents well, and there is evidence to support this perception. They offer competitive base pay and a revenue split where talents allegedly receive 70% of the remaining earnings after Cover takes 30% of Superchats. Collaboration opportunities, albums, and special projects further demonstrate management’s support for talent growth.

Few talents leave Hololive even after their initial contracts expire, indicating satisfaction with their treatment. While no agency is perfect, the notion of evil corporations profiting at the expense of talents doesn’t seem applicable to Hololive. For Hololive, the future seems promising.

Indies: Going Your Own Way

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have independent VTubers who enjoy 100% of the revenue from streams, merch, and other deals. This increased potential for earnings, however, comes with the challenge of covering all expenses independently, including equipment, models, and marketing.

For newcomers like me, going independent might mean limited startup funds, but it also means reaping all the rewards of our hard work. While I won’t have the financial backing of an agency, I can focus my time and effort on growing my channel without corporate constraints.

The Problem With Fans

It’s important to remember that, as outsiders, fans can’t definitively determine fair revenue splits. There are nuances and costs that we can’t fully comprehend. What might appear as an unfair 70/30 split might be reasonable when considering the agency’s investments.

Additionally, different talents have varying needs, and what constitutes fair pay for a college student might not be enough for an experienced professional with higher expenses. While discussing working conditions is essential, demanding specific revenue splits as the sole ethical standard may overlook critical contextual factors.

Signs An Agency Cares About Talents

Ultimately, revenue splits alone don’t determine how much an agency supports talent success and growth. Funding quality models, promotions, debuts, musical releases, and special projects are also indicative of their commitment to talent development.

I’m looking for an agency that values my growth and success, seeing it as intertwined with their own. While I hope for genuine support, I’m also aware that VTubing is a business, and agencies have their financial interests to consider.

Remaining Open Yet Realistic

In conclusion, VTubing is a business, and while I can’t expect agencies or talents to act as charitable entities, I also shouldn’t assume that they are all solely profit-driven entities. The reality lies somewhere between these extremes.

I aim to avoid subscribing to paranoid narratives of systemic abuse while still carefully vetting agencies to ensure our values align. As long as they provide fair compensation and creative freedom, along with opportunities for personal growth, I can accept the profit-driven nature of this industry.

If you’re having second thoughts regarding joining an agency or going indie, check out this YouTube video by Depressed Nousagi:

Wrapping Up

There you have it, my thoughts on wages and working conditions in the VTuber world. While the concerns about agency exploitation are valid, it’s essential to recognize the nuances that exist. As a fledgling VTuber, I primarily seek stability and room for growth, with luxury coming as a future goal.

Thanks, as always, for joining me in this exploration of the VTuber universe. Until next time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are agencies exploiting talents with unfair contracts?

There are some concerning stories, but the full context is complex. Poor splits alone don’t prove systemic exploitation. We can’t fully judge without insider info.

Don’t talents deserve the majority of revenue from their content?

Ideally yes, but agencies have costs to cover too. There’s no objective standard for a perfectly “fair” split. It depends on the situation.

Should I avoid joining any agency as a new VTuber then?

Not necessarily. Many agencies provide valuable support and growth opportunities. Just vet contracts thoroughly and don’t assume the worst.

What % revenue split should I look for as a rookie VTuber?

As a beginner, you likely won’t have leverage for a high % immediately. Aim for a split that covers costs as you build an audience. 

Are indie VTubers better off than those signed to agencies?

Indies have more control and keep all revenue, but lack support. There are pros and cons to both paths.

How much money do VTubers actually make on average?

Income varies wildly based on channel size and audience support. Top creators earn millions, while smaller ones may earn just enough to get by.

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