As Twitter, the social media company struggled to find its influencer niche. While YouTube had pranksters and beauty gurus, and Instagram had fashionistas and travel bloggers, Twitter had grouchy journalists, political flame wars, and niche humor. Before Mr. Musk took over, the company dabbled in different ways to attract creators. It provided funding for aspiring podcasters to create shows on its audio discussion feature, Spaces, and made an appeal to digital artists during the 2022 NFT boom.
“We are all in a war for people’s time,” Mr. Weitz said.
Some of the creators who X hopes to woo have been skeptical about potential earnings. Jimmy Donaldson, the YouTuber known as MrBeast, said in December that sharing his videos on X was unlikely to earn enough to finance his productions. “My videos cost millions to make, and even if they got a billion views on X, it wouldn’t fund a fraction of it,” he said in a post.
But this month, Mr. Donaldson decided to experiment, sharing one of his old YouTube videos on X. The post racked up 169 million views and earned him $263,655. “It’s a bit of a facade,” he said in a post. “Advertisers saw the attention it was getting and bought ads on my video (I think) and thus my revenue per view is prob higher than what you’d experience.”
Because its paid partnerships with creators are new and relatively untested, X has not required its creators to sign exclusivity agreements that would prevent them from posting content on other social media platforms, and some intend to share their shows more widely.
“Our feeling was, it was a great bet. Do we have guarantees or anything like that? No, we don’t,” said Peter Micelli, the chief executive of Range Media Partners, which represents Mr. Rome, the sports radio host. “They know they have to deliver upside for artists, or it won’t work.”
Ryan Mac contributed reporting from Los Angeles.