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10 Comments

Few creators are actually attaining financial security today.

  1. 3

    I am not surprised. Why would that be different than music, film, or sport "industry"? This is a competition where a winner takes (almost) all.

    1/3 of kids want to be YouTube stars.

    Although, it sounds "scary" it's actually yet another "be the one" job.

    There are many actors and actress playing small roles, musicians playing at weddings, sportsmen and sportswomen that have to go to a regular job to be able to pay the bills.

    Anyway, fingers crossed that future platforms will help us find more talented people and help them. It's already happening.

  2. 3

    I don't know how "creator economy" is defined, but to me the "winner-take-all" problems are due to the nature of specific platforms (e.g. YouTube, mobile app stores) not being a creator in general.

    I think there are definitely platforms and sales/marketing channels for creators that are NOT winner-take-all.

    1. 1

      Agree with you, but the numbers still the same. A handful of creators attract many millions of followers ( due to the nature of platforms); those creators get sponsorship deals; and thus, the rewards to individual users follow a rich-get-richer distribution. Do you have in mind a platform that is not a "winner-take-all" ?

      1. 4

        I haven't thoroughly thought this through, but I think creators and indiehackers are the same. You have to think about it as a business and follow the nature of business.

        Any business that doesn't have direct access to its customers is probably going to have a hard time. Any business that is dependent on a single source of revenue that you don't control is probably going to have a hard time. Any business when your revenue can be disintermediated from you by a platform is a weak business.

        Creators who expect to "just create" and magically earn a stable income are the same as indiehackers who want to just build product and not worry about marketing/distribution/branding/etc. You have to worry about the entire business.

        I would say that if you're a creator, you should own a mailing list and your own website; own your distribution. Build a brand. Sell through gumroad/stripe. SEO is a winner take all market for a specific keyword, but there are so many keywords that it's not winner take all as a whole. I think being an author or an info marketer is not a winner-take-all market, in part because there are so many niches in this category. So maybe Amazon for authors is not winner take all market. But if I were an author, I would still build a brand/business outside of Amazon. In terms of authors with brands, I'm thinking Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, Gary V, Simon Sinek, Austin Kleon... there are tons more.

        When you look at the iOS app store, there are two types of businesses – the ones that rely on iOS entirely for customers. That's a bad business. Then there are businesses that are self-sufficient – they would exist and thrive without an app – but they happen to have an app for the convenience of their customers. I use many of these apps e.g. Notion, Todoist, Basecamp, Headspace, Google/Microsoft apps, etc.

        When you look at successful creators on YouTube, most try to build a brand that extends beyond YouTube because they know that being dependant on YT for revenue is a mistake. YouTube is the worst because the algorithm punishes you for not producing consistently which is why many YouTubers burn out. At least with iOS apps, you can take a break for a few months and your sales won't tank. If your entire business is YouTube, you work for them and not yourself.

        As a creator, it's risky to be reliant on a platform, especially ones where revenue comes from a search-rank or algorithm. Successful creators build a brand that is self-sufficient and use platforms to extend reach.

        Sorry for the disorganized rant. I think the TL;DR is that creators should think about themselves as a business.

        1. 2

          I totally agree with your analysis.
          Creators should take care of their brand just like a company, they can't be limited to a specific social media platform.
          They should create their own AARRR channels (Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral).

        2. 2

          Interesting point of view, love it. 🔥

  3. 3

    This makes me think of the music industry. A few MASSIVE acts make a lot of money and the vast majority of acts (yes, even ones who tour and you hear/see on the radio/tv) make very modest amounts.

    1. 1

      I recently discovered BeatBread, a platform that allows people to fund artists. I guess it's one way to change this paradigm and let fans help more artists to grow and avoid this "winner-take-all" game.

  4. 1

    People are saying it's a winner take all market. Sure I can see that. But have you all seen the content on the Internet? I'm inclined to believe part of the major reason why people do not make money is that the quality isn't there. Many things are knock off derivatives that don't provide value.

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