It is a type of business built by over 50 million independent content creators, curators, and community builders like social media influencers, bloggers, and videographers. It also includes the software and financial tools that help them grow and make money.
Put more simply--Imagine a world where you are your own boss and free to do what sense to you.
The three most important creator economy trends are:
- Creators are moving their biggest fans away from social networks and toward their own websites, apps, and ways to make money.
- Creators are becoming founders and putting together teams and tools to help them start businesses while they work on their art.
- Creators are getting more power in the media ecosystem because fans want to connect with real people instead of faceless publishers.
Even though the creator economy has only been around for ten years, more than 50 million people around the world think of themselves as creators. It has become the type of small business that is growing the fastest, and a survey found that more American kids want to be a YouTube star (29%) when they grow up than an astronaut (11%).
Content creators can make money on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitch, TikTok, Substack, Patreon, and OnlyFans by:
- Advertising revenue shares
- Sponsored content
- Product placement
- Paid subscriptions
- Digital content sales
- Live and virtual events
- VIP meetups
- Fan clubs
Here is our TAM (total addressable market) analysis from the bottom up, which comes to 50 million creators:
Professional Individual Creators (about 2 million or more) – They make content full-time
YouTube: About 1 million of the 31 million channels on YouTube have more than 10,000 subscribers (source)
Instagram: Out of the 1 billion accounts on Instagram, about 500,000 are considered active influencers because they have more than 100,000 followers (source)
Twitch: About 300,000 of the 3 million people who stream on Twitch are Partners or Affiliates (source)
Others: including musicians, podcasters, writers, artists, etc. total of about 200,000 amateur creators (about $46.7 million) – Monetizing content creation part-time
YouTube: About 12 million of YouTube's 31 million channels have between 100 and 10,000 subscribers (source)
Instagram: Out of 1 billion accounts, 30 million have between 50 and 100 thousand followers (source)
Twitch: About 2.7 million of Twitch's 3 million streamers are not Partners or Affiliates.
Creators are now the new founders
At this turning point in history, one of the most wanted jobs is to be a professional creator. Creators do what they do because they love making things. As their audience grows and they add more ways to make money, it gets harder for them to run their business day-to-day. Startups that focus on making it easy for content creators to make money while still doing what they love (making content) will be the ones that lead the next stage of this change.
To be a creator in the modern world, you need to move beyond being an artist and become a founder. In addition to being an entertainer, the job now includes product management, design, community engagement, ecommerce, and data science. You need to put together a team of experts and vendors to help you manage the tools you need to build a diverse business that works on multiple platforms.
But with this diversity comes the ability to deal with change. By having a direct relationship with their fans, creators are less likely to be affected by changes in the priorities of tech giants or their algorithms. No matter how niche, each creator can put together a different mix of ways to make money that fits their style. That's a big win for everyone, because people who make things for our weird interests can make a living doing it. We don't just get homogeneous, lowest-common-denominator primetime sitcoms. Instead, we get content for every subculture in the rainbow. Now, there are finally enough creators for a whole ecosystem of startups to help them turn their passion into a job.