#9 - Creator Economy Movement: May 10, 2021

Welcome👋 I write about the ideas, products, and tech advancing the creator economy. If you aren’t subscribed, join below to get new editions in your inbox every week.

The creator economy is also in a unique moment. Relevance is at an all time high. The whole world seems to be rooting for it to succeed, and every week another company is raising $50M or $100M to serve the needs of creators and communities.

Here are a few key updates to keep you informed.

General News

Established players

Twitter starts rolling out Tip Jar, which lets users transfer money through third party payments services including Cash App (Verge

Twitter rolled out expanded access to Spaces, allowing users with 600+ followers to host a live audio conversation. Users with large followings can use “Ticketed Spaces” to monetize. Hosts determine # of tickets available, and ticket prices, and Twitter gets an unspecified cut of the revenue. (TechCrunch)

Instagram reveals captions stickers, which turns your words into text subtitles in Stories. Instagram says it will also begin testing them Reels. TikTok recently launched this feature to make its app accessible for more people, while increasing the entertainment value of video outputs. (Verge)

TikTok, Snap, and Facebook now each has a platform owned marketplace to connect creators with brand sponsors. The influencer marketing agency space has grown tremendously in the past decade, but now face competition from distribution platforms, which may offer much better pricing to creators due to their infrastructure. For now, the big platforms have taken a stance to not require a cut of sponsorships that creators ink off-platform. (Variety)

Twitch, like other video platforms, was a beneficiary of the pandemic stay-at-home period. Its mobile appsaw 22M downloads in Q1 (+62% YoY). (SensorTower)

Snap snags Charli & Dixie D'Amelio as part of its new original shows lineup. (Variety)

The Epic and Apple war rages on. Tim Sweeney (Epic CEO) is framing the debate as Apple harming not only Epic, but also a variety of businesses, including creators. “Epic is trying to build a metaverse where the majority of the profit should go to the creators themselves. With Apple taking 30% off the top, it makes it very, very difficult for Epicand creators to exist in this world.” (TheInformation)  

Start up scene

Clubhouse’s had about 900,000~ downloads in April, down 66% compared to March, and down 90% compared to February. Can Clubhouse survive? (BusinessInsider).

Clubhouse announces a variety of different creator shows as part of its accelerator program, complete with a monthly incentive package for creators. (Clubhouse)

Popshop Live and Supergreat continue to double down in the US on live commerce, a ~$100 billion dollar global industry. (Glossy)

Bright, a new live video platform enables creators to monetize interactions with super fans through Pay Per View live-video, in exchange for a 20% revenue cut. The D'Amelio sisters and Ashton Kutcher are among early users. (TechCrunch)

Antler Capital released an updated map of creator economy companies, covering 220+ global companies. Audience monetization showed up strongly, as did creators business operations tools that strive to help creators run the backend of their business. (Antler)

Creativity Trends

Creative execution

Whether it’s TikTok, YouTube Shorts, or Instagram Reels, Music and Short Form Video are inextricably tied.

The latest reminder of this is the new trend that gave new life to “Hope” feat. Faith Evans. TikTok creators started the trend by spoofing movie endings where updates are flashed on screen about what characters do after the movie ends. (examples: TikTok,Instagram Reel

Another example of a music bolstered trend features “A Thousand Miles”. Creators are pairing the song with ridiculous remarks from family members, students, or bosses as “inspirational quotes”. (TikTok, TikTok

TikTok is diversifying beyond comedy, dance and music videos. Recent popular genres include #TeachersOfTikTok (9.2B views), #MentalHealthAwareness (3.3B views) #EarthDay (4.5B views), and #SupportSmallBusiness (2.1B views).” (Forbes)

Keeping up with Gen-Z

TikTok creators without traditional media affiliation are acting as curators who aggregate and deliver news in entertaining fashion to their massive audiences on TikTok. This is the TikTok wave of homegrown Philip DeFrancos. (WashingtonPost)

“I want to be the translator from mainstream media to teenagers.” - DiPaola

Bonus: Know ‘Cheugy’ means? Neither did I, fellow old person. (NewYorkTimes)


Kajabi, an eCommerce startup enabling creators to sell memberships and online courses, raised $550M in its latest round led by Tiger Global, with a >$2B valuation.

Mighty Networks, a community building platform for creators to engage with and own their audience, closed a $50M Series B, led by Owl Ventures.

Genies, a platform for creating 3D avatar, closed a $65M Series B led by Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital. Genie will launch a new NFT platform in partnership with Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot and CryptoKitties.

Discord, a popular community / communication platform, announced a Series H round a short while ago, making it a $7B company. Sony participated in the round, and is integrating Discord with PlayStation Network.

Twitter acquired Scroll, a $5/month subscription service that removes ads from participating news websites. The deal is Twitter’s 6th deal in 6 months to bolster its subscription offerings and general efforts toward serving the creator economy.

Bitski, a service that lets people make and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain, raised $19M in a Series A led by Andreessen Horowitz.

Metafy, a marketplace for competitive gaming coaching, extends its Seed round to $8.65M, led by Forerunner Ventures, Seven Seven Six and DCM.


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