This summer, I went straight VidCon – Largest Creative Conference – For Labor Journalism Seminar with Sydney Hillman Foundation. One day, I was chatting with famous TikTokers about their financial concerns (what if they accidentally got banned from TikTok tomorrow?), and the next, I was learning about the history of the American labor system.
These topics are not unrelated: At its core, writing about the creative economy is labor journalism. The creative pulse is a working pulse.
Creators are rebelling against the traditional way of making a living in the arts industries, taking control of their income to make money for themselves rather than the big media companies. Consider creators like Brian David Gilbert, built a devoted fan base as a disturbingly hilarious video producer for the video game publication Polygon at Vox Media. Perhaps Gilbert quit working full-time on other creative projects because he realized he could make more money with his audience than the media salary. Then there are YouTube channels Defunct land And Growing entertainment, which are essentially investigative journalism outlets run by individual video producers. We see chefs who go viral on TikTok and build their brands, or teachers who supplement their income by sharing educational content on Instagram. In an arts industry that pays poorly for the expertise its workers provide, YouTubers, Instagrammers and newsletter writers are proving that creativity is a monetizable skill — one that deserves to earn more than a living wage.
This belief—that the creative economy is a labor pulse—has guided my coverage of the industry this year. Below, I’ve rounded up some of our best stories about the state of the creator economy.
Like most teenagers, Chris McCarty spent a lot of time on YouTube, but he had a serious question. How can children of influencers protect themselves when they are too young to understand what it means to be a constant fixture in online videos? As part of their Girl Scouts Gold Award program, McCarty partnered with Washington State Representative Emily Wicks to introduce a bill to protect and offset children’s appearances on family vlogs.
As early as 2010, amateur YouTubers realized that “cute kiddo stuff” was a genre that could go viral. David DeVore, then 7, became an Internet sensation when his father posted a YouTube video of his reaction to anesthesia.David after the dentist.” David’s father turned the public interest in his son into a small business $150,000 within five months Through advertising revenue, merchandising sales and a licensing agreement with Vizio. At the time she told The Wall Street Journal that she was saving money for her children’s college expenses and charitable donations. Meanwhile, behind the family “Charlie bit my finger”The video made enough money to buy a new house.
A decade later, some of YouTube’s biggest stars are young kids who don’t understand the life-changing responsibility of being an Internet celebrity with millions of subscribers. Seven years old NastyaHis parents run his YouTube channel, which ranked sixth among the highest-paid YouTube creators in 2022. $28 million. Ryan GhaziA 10-year-old boy has been making money playing with toys on YouTube since he was 4 years old $27 million From various licensing and brand agreements.
I was inspired by Mr. Beast, but a “watching car crash”. Mr. Beast is still cruising down the highway comfortably, but I’m worried about the guy (… not too much. I mean. He’s fine). That’s his business model Doesn’t seem stable For me, despite his immense wealth and irreplaceable success. As he tries to raise a unicorn-sized VC round, let’s see if he can up his stunts without becoming another. David Topric.
Is going bigger always better? Mr. Beast’s business model is like a snake eating its tail – nobody makes money like him, but nobody spends like him. He described his edges as “Razor-thin” In conversation with Logan Paul, he reinvests most of his profits into his content. His audience expects each video to be more interesting than the last, and from the outside, it looks like MrBeast just can’t keep up (and for other creators, this has led to Disaster) So, if MrBeast’s business is indeed a unicorn — and I’d bet it is — then he has two choices. Will he use the $150 million cushion to make his business more sustainable so he doesn’t have to? He buried himself alive? Or will he push harder until there is nothing left?
Speaking of David Tobrick, longtime YouTuber Casey Neistad debuted a documentary about the 26-year-old YouTuber at SXSW this year. When Neistad began working on the documentary, he wanted to capture the phenomenon of YouTube royalty like Dobric and his vlog squad. The documentary took a turn after Insider came out Allegations of sexual assault Later, Dobric almost killed his friend Jeff Wittek in a stunt – on the set of Dobric. Neistat does a wonderful job capturing the fall of the creator, and how the lack of regulation on YouTube movie sets sets the stage for disaster, especially when creators are forced to pull crazy and outlandish stunts to stay relevant.
TV serials likeHype House” and “The D’Amelio Show” devote entire storylines to creators’ fear of being “cancelled,” but Dobric is still right, questioning how far a creator will go to lose his fans. Tobrik opened a Pizza shop in LA and owned by him Discovery TV show. Wittek has undergone at least nine surgeries to date as a result of the accident on the set of Tobrik.
“I think there’s always a pursuit. It’s appropriate for a musician — how do you keep your music interesting?” Neistat said. “But what makes people like David Dobric different is that their pursuit isn’t coming out with the next song or making the next movie. Their pursuit is, how can I be more sensational? It’s a very, very, very dangerous pursuit, because the minute you achieve something crazier than the last one, you to pass.
The biggest secret in short-form video is that you can’t get rich on TikTok alone, because even the most viral creators earn a small portion of their income from the platform itself. TikTok has long dominated the short-form scene, but YouTube Shorts could give TikTok a run for its money next year as it becomes the first platform to share ad revenue with short-form creators. The ad revenue doesn’t look all that attractive, but I couldn’t be more excited to see how this project changes the short-form game in 2023.
A big reason why TikTok and other short-form video apps have yet to roll out a similar revenue-sharing plan is that figuring out how to properly split ad revenue across an algorithmically generated feed of short videos is tricky. You can’t embed an ad in the middle of a video — imagine watching a 30-second video with an eight-second ad in the middle — but if you run ads between two videos, who gets the revenue share? Who created the video that appeared directly before or after it? Or, did a creator deserve to cut a video you saw earlier in the feed because their content encouraged you to keep scrolling?
At TechCrunch Disrupt, I interviewed Fans CEO Amy Kahn and Chief Strategy Officer Kaylee Blair about the future of the platform, specifically sex workers. Due to the success of adult creators, Only Fans has paid creators more than $8 billion since 2016. By comparison, Patreon, a mostly safe-for-hire competitor, has paid out $3.5 billion since 2013. Online sex workers are some business-savvy, high-income creators, but they are also extremely vulnerable. Changing credit card company regulations and internet privacy laws could destroy their business, and last year, it happened almost at fanfare. The company said it was banning adult content, then reversed the ban — but still, doubts remain as to how long adult creators can survive on the platform. On our platform, I asked Kane if adult content will be exclusive to fans in 5 years. She said yes.
Fans Only are doing more to improve its image from an adult content subscription site to a Patreon-like home for creators of all kinds, but it’s far from alienating them as users. Today the site’s CEO Ami Gan confirmed that adult content will still have a home on the site in five years, and those creators will be able to continue living it up.
The confirmation, made onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt today, is notable because of the rocky relationship fans have had with adult-only creators. Last year, the company announced Block adult content On site after pressure and efforts from card payment companies is reported It is raising funds from outside. And then it was sudden The decision was put on hold A week after the outcry from users.