Vine didn’t have to die. That’s what a group of the app’s biggest stars firmly believed when they met with the Twitter-owned company last fall and offered ways they felt could save it. Twitter recently announced it was sunsetting the once-popular app after losing the short-video wars to Instagram and other social sites.
Step one to saving Vine, according to earlier reports, involved Twitter paying the group of creators $1.2 million each to produce a dozen original videos per month. They believed a steady stream of fresh Vines from the app’s biggest stars would generate billions of plays and help keep users from jumping ship to rivals. Top Viners also proposed several product changes, including the ability to add links, better editing tools and most importantly, creators wanted Twitter to deal with bullying and harassment in comment sections.
Nearly 20 Vine stars were at the meeting, including Marcus Johns, Piques, Alx James and DeStorm Power. A few more Vine elites joined in after hearing of the proposal. “We told them how critical it was to implement these things right away,” said Piques in an interview with Mic. “They never made changes, or when they did it was too late.”
When it became clear Twitter was going to reject the proposal to pay the creators, nearly every major Viner just simply stopped posting on the platform. “We were driving billions of views — billions — before we left,” Power said. “The word Vine became shorthand for short sketch-comedy videos. We did that. Vine didn’t do that… It’s sad the way it went down, but nobody is upset, bitter or angry. Everyone moved on to other platforms.”
Creators instead focused their efforts on Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, where King Bach (the “King of Vine”) and sWooZie have been building big followings. “I like YouTube because YouTube is very in touch with creators,” sWooZie told Mic. “They do little things, like, ‘Here’s a $1,000 gift card for some camera equipment.’ Without personalities on your platform, all you have is cat videos and random things people send to each other. It’s junk, and people will leave.”
Ultimately, most Vine stars seem to be taking the app’s death in stride. “There ain’t a Vine star out there who isn’t a millionaire,” said Alx James. “We’ll be fine, but it’s sad the way things worked out.”