The problem with free servers and channels is that anyone can join. If you’re trying to create an exclusive community, paid channels could be the way to go. This will help creators find an alternative source of revenue, where they can create channels with different subscription tiers that could offer different benefits and advantages for subscribers.
According to Discord, “With Premium Memberships, creators and community owners will have the ability to gate part or all of their server behind a paid subscription. This is one of the most requested features from creators and we’re already seeing many of our communities offering this type of experience through third parties.”
The feature is currently being tested and not everyone will be able to participate in it, but presumably if all goes well, Discord will eventually open it up to all users. Discord is already used by various creators, like those on YouTube and Twitch, to create an alternative platform for their followers and subscribers to gather and chat, so this could be a good way for those creators to generate yet another income stream.