#18 - Creator Economy Movement: July 12, 2021

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📰General News

Instagram rolled out ads on Reels worldwide. It had tested ads in select countries previously. Ads will appear in between individual Reels. (TheVerge)

TikTok ad business (and prices) and on the way up (Bloomberg)

Facebook’s Clubhouse competitor, Live Audio Rooms, launched late June. It borrows heavily from Clubhouse. (TechCrunch)

Podcasts are now on Facebook. (TheVerge)

Facebook announced Bulletin, its Substack newsletter competitor (TheVerge)

Facebook announced Fan Groups, for games to organize topics into threaded discussions and help people find others to play games with. (SocialMediaToday)

In an internal memo, Bytedance told its employees its 2020 revenue more than doubled from the previous year, from $16.3B in 2019 to $34.3B in 2020. Gross profit nearly doubled, too. (TheInformation)

TikTok will be the title sponsor for VidCon, taking place this year in October. VidCon has historically had YouTube as its title sponsor. (Variety)

Twitter to add a “subscribe” button for Revue (recently acquired) newsletters on profiles. (Mashable)

Spotify launched Clubhouse competitor Greenroom as its bid into the live audio space. (TechCrunch)

Gift.me, a RealGifts company, launched in June. Gift.me offers influencers and creators a way to wishlist luxury products from Gucci and Chanel for fans to buy for them. (PRNewswire)

Influence.co released a list of 438 creator economy companies across 20 categories such as memberships and merchandise. The list has grown more than 50% compared to its map in 2020 (Influence.co)

‘Doge’ meme NFT now holds the single NFT sale price record at $4M (NBCNews)

YouTube is poised to overtake Spotify as music’s biggest bankroller (RollingStone)

Facebook’s announced that the company would refrain from taking a cut of online events, fan subscriptions, badges and its Substack competitor for journalists until 2023. This is classic Facebook, as mentioned in the previous post. (Facebook)

Instagram is testing an affiliate marketing program that lets creators make money from purchase referrals and virtual storefronts. (TechCrunch)

Twitter is opening applications for its Super Follows feature, which allows account holders to charge followers for exclusive content. Requirements include being 18+, having10,000+ followers and tweeting 25+ times in a month. Twitter will take just 3% of subscription revenue until creators hit $50,000 in earnings. After that, its share will be the previously announced 20%. (Twitter) (TechCrunch)

Cameo says more than 80% of the celebrity shoutout platform’s revenue comes from web vs. its app. Cameo is among a host of apps complaining about the 30% platform fees from Apple and Google for digital in app purchases. (CNBC)

Facebook will test “visual search” soon, allowing users to use a photo to find similar products to purchase on Instagram, (similar to what Pinterest did 6 years ago). Mark Zuckerberg also announced virtual shops are coming to WhatsApp and Facebook Marketplace. (Engadget

Alessandro Paluzzi tweeted a screenshot showing that Instagram is exploring NFTs. An Instagram spokesperson said this is an internal prototype that is not being tested externally. (Twitter)

Snap has entered an agreement with UMG to secure certain licenses. Music is an important dimension of short-form videos, TikTok and YouTube Shorts have landed on similar deals with major labels. (TechCrunch

ByteDance rolls out Douyin to on web to drive new user growth. (TheInformation)

Kuaishou reached 1B global MAUs. The Tencent-backed Tik Tok competitor had a massive IPO in Hong Kong earlier in 2021. (PRNewswire)

Famous Birthdays, a wiki site offering bios and basic information about popular Gen Z creators and celebrities, is testing a paid version for social platforms, agencies, and brands by helping them identify rising Gen Z creators. (Tubefilter)

Twitch users watched 2.2B hours in May, up 37% compared to last year, according to StreamLabs and Rainmaker.gg. (GamesIndustry.biz)

Patreon CEO Jack Conte says that Patreon does not have a special deal to avoid 30% in-app purchase fees. “Why don’t we have to pay fees? I think it’s because, for whatever reason, we’re within Apple’s guidelines…” (TheVerge)

Spotify acquired Podz, a podcast-discovery platform. Podz will "complement and accelerate Spotify's focused efforts to drive discovery… deliver listeners the right content at the right time". (TechCrunch)

Beeple launched WeNew, an NFT platform that sells “iconic moments”. The platform’s first auction will kick off with Andy Murray’s Grand Slam match-winning point as an NFT. The winner will get an opportunity to play tennis with Andy on a court at Wimbledon along with several other perks. (VentureBeat)


💰$$$ 

LinkedIn invested in virtual-events startup Hopin, valued at $5.65B. (CNBC)

Seven Seven Six closed its $150M first fund. Seven Seven Six has invested in creator economy startups including short-form video app Clash and PearPop, where influencers can buy/sell collaborations with other influencers. (Forbes)

Dispo says Annie Leibovitz, Cara Delevingne, Sofia Vergara, Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, and Andre Iguodala’s F9 Strategies invested in its Series A. Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, which led Dispo’s Seed round, participated as well. (TechCrunch

IRL announced a $170M Series C, led by SoftBank at a $1.17B valuation. (TechCrunch

Spotify signed a three-year contract for >$60M for exclusive rights to the "Call Her Daddy" podcast by Alex Cooper. (Variety)

OnlyFans is fundraising at a valuation north of $1 billion, as it plans an expansion from adult content to become more mainstream. This would be the first outside funding the company takes. (Business Insider)

Harry Stebbings’ 20VC raised two funds totaling $140M from investors including the MIT endowment, RIT Capital Partners and early backers of Spotify. (Fortune)

Nate, a shopping app, raised $38M in Series A led by Renegade Partners. The startup is launching new social features to give creators cash back for purchases referred from their lists of recommended products (affiliate model). (BusinessWire)

WaitWhat, a media company founded by former TED executives, raised a $12M Series B led by Raga Partners. (TechCrunch)

Live-video platform Happs raised a $4.7M round led by BullpenCapital. (TechCrunch)

Spore, a startup offering a platform for creators to build white label communities, with chat rooms, CRM, and a bevy of other services, raised $1M in Pre-Seed led by SignalFire. (TechCrunch)

Convosight, a software provider that helps people monetize Facebook groups, raised $9M in Series A, led by Singapore firm Qualgro. (PRNewswire)

Hunter Walk and Satya Patel, Co-Founders of HomeBrew, are launching Screendoor, a $50M fund to support underrepresented venture capital investors. (Screendoor)

Engine Media, a Toronto-based media company focused on esports and gaming, is acquiring Atlanta-based influencer marketing agency Sideqik. (PRNewswire)

Vungle, a mobile advertising firm, is acquiring JetFuel, an influencer marketing agency. (VentureBeat)


💭Recommended Reading

TikTok changed the shape of some people’s faces without asking (i.e. user did not apply filters) (MITTechnologyReview)

YouTube Shorts is taking on TikTok and minting a new constellation of concise video stars (Bloomberg)

Young creators are burning out and breaking down (NewYorkTimes)

You may not want to get beauty tips from TikTok (NewYorkTimes)

Is Clubhouse the Next Foursquare? (TheInformation)

Platforms roll out tipping features, vying for user engagement and ad dollars (Digiday)

The shady, secret history of OnlyFans’ billionaire owner (Forbes)

Big Tech moves in on the creator wars (Axios)

The creator economy comes of age as a market force (Entrepreneur

Why social media platforms are getting in front of the growing creator economy (Digiday)

Why Instagram is starting its first training week for creators (Digiday)

Apple is encroaching on Facebook’s territory like never before with new social features (CNBC)

Will Apple Mail threaten the newsletter boom? (Platformer)

Even Amazon wants in on the Creator Economy. (eMarketer)

The creator economy is running into the Apple Tax. Apps such as Fanhouse are fighting back (TheVerge)

A new wave of dating apps take cues from TikTok and Gen Z (Wired)

How influencers fit into Twitter’s plans to double revenue by 2023 (CNBC)

Hello, Content Creators. Silicon Valley’s Investors Want to Meet You (New York Times)


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