How does Skillshare’s growth amidst COVID-19 impact teacher payments?

Teachers are paid every month based on a royalty model


Every month, 30% of Skillshare’s Premium Membership revenue goes into a royalty pool for teachers. Teachers are then paid through the royalty pool based on their share of the minutes-watched by Premium members. For example, a teacher who received 5% of all minutes watched would earn 5% of the royalty pool. 


This spring, Skillshare is experiencing unprecedented growth in new members and engagement as people around the world stay at home to protect against COVID-19: 


 As social distancing and stay-at-home orders have gone into effect, creatives around the world are turning to Skillshare to find inspiration and stay connected to the creative community from the safety of their homes. This is resulting in significant growth in new Premium members, and accordingly, growth in Premium minutes-watched as these new members discover your amazing classes. 


This growth has a proportional and sequenced impact on teacher payments, similar to the dynamic we’ve historically seen as a result of seasonal growth in January: 


New members joining this spring will start paying when their 2-month free trials end in late spring and early summer. So while minutes-watched across the site are on the rise thanks to these new members, Skillshare’s revenue — and the size of the royalty pool — has not yet grown proportionally. 


As a result of this sequencing, you may notice the amount you’re earning per minute-watched in your classes is slightly lower than what you were seeing in previous months. This is the same dynamic we historically see at the start of each year due to Skillshare’s seasonal growth in January. 


This does not mean Skillshare teachers are earning any less. In fact, total teacher earnings rose by 12% from February to March. The increase in teacher earnings is outweighed by the higher volume of minutes, resulting in the earnings-per-minute declining. We expect the overall teacher earnings to continue to grow, and now more than ever, is it important to us that Skillshare continues to be a growing source of income for creatives around the world. 


This growth in new members will result in the continued growth of the royalty pool for teachers over time: 


More members joining Skillshare via free trial and then becoming paid members when the trials end should continue to increase Skillshare’s revenue. This in turn, will increase the size of the royalty pool, which means more money paid out to teachers on the whole.


Note: For any even deeper look at these minutes-watched and royalty pool dynamics, check out this recent article on our blog that provides more details and data around what to expect in the coming months. 


What else is Skillshare doing to support teachers during this time? 


We recognize that the unique circumstances around COVID-19 are having rippling effects on artists, freelancers, and our community at large. In recent weeks, we’ve been inspired and heartened to see students and teachers like you coming together through creativity.


As a special thanks to our teachers for sharing Skillshare with their own communities during this unique time, we are offering an increased bonus for referrals made throughout the month of April. Make at least 5 referrals in April, and we’ll award you $15 per referral (a 50% increase from our normal $10 bonus), up to 100 referrals. You’ll see the additional amount reflected in your May 16th payment. 


To make sure teachers are equipped with our latest tips and best practices for making high-quality content and reaching an engaged student audience, we are regularly updating our Teacher Handbook. 


And as always, our team is available at to answer your questions, provide feedback on your class planning, and more. We look forward to hearing from you.