The Internet Has Opened Up The Creator Economy To New Heights

from the creativity-enhanced dept

One of the most dramatic differences between the traditional, analogue world of creation, and the modern, digital one, is the democratization that has taken place in this sphere. Until recently, writers, musicians, artists and filmmakers collectively formed a relatively select group that was hard to enter as a professional. Today, anyone with an Internet connection can spread the word about their work and make money from it. In effect, everyone who is online, to a greater or lesser degree, is a digital creator – even with the most ephemeral of posts on social media. Although it is clear the creative field has been opened up enormously, details are hard to come by. That makes a new “Creator Report” from Linktree particularly useful. Linktree describes itself as:

a tool for connecting followers to your entire online world – not just one feed.

A Linktree not only points followers in the direction of your choosing – to your other social profiles, eCommerce store, or content you want to share – but it helps hold followers within your online ecosystem for longer. It allows users to share more, sell more, curate more and grow more.

Linktree claims to have over 23 million users worldwide, which means that it should be in a good position to observe how the new world of digital creation works. Here are some of the highlights of the Creator Report.

Out of 4.2 billion social media users, Linktree says there are 200 million creators, which is defines as “individuals who use their influence, creativity or skills to aggregate and monetize their audience”. Naturally, most of those creators have a limited number of followers. Linktree says there are 23 million “recreational creators” with fewer than 1,000 followers; a massive 139 million creators with between 10,000 and 1,000 followers; 41 million in the next category, with up to 100,000 followers; and finally 2 million each of creators with up to a million and more than a million followers. Around two thirds of creators are active part time, with 43% who spend up to five hours per week creating material. Some 36% have been active for less than a year.

The other key aspect is naturally the money they make. According to Linktree, 12% of full-time creators make more than $50,000, and 46% make less than $1,000. Among the part-time creators, only 3% make more than $50,000, while 68% earn less than $1,000.

None of those figures is particularly surprising – you’d expect only a small proportion of creators to make a living wage, and for full-time creators to find it easier to do this than for part-time creators. The central message of this report is a positive one: that the Internet has unleashed creativity on an unprecedented scale. When the digital world is criticized for its flaws and failings, which undoubtedly exist, that’s something that should always be borne in mind – and celebrated.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon.

Originally posted to the Walled Culture blog.

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Comments on “The Internet Has Opened Up The Creator Economy To New Heights”

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Anonymous Coward says:


This article is about copyright, as most Glyn Moody articles are. Too often, copyright laws (and other laws which carelessly attempt to regulate the internet) treat the internet as the enemy even though the internet helps authors (i.e. potentially anyone) find inspiration and share their works. There is also a lot of misinformation on the web, but it is worth dealing with for the good information that is also available on the internet. Government officiala often are so eager to get rid of the misinformation that they put the availability of good information at risk.

Bruce C. says:

Re: Re:

Like most tools, the internet and social media (and government, for that matter) are inherently neither good nor evil. The basic evolutionary imperative to use (or abuse) any system to one’s own self-interest is what generates the conflicts that we see.

If we could discern intent with an algorithm, content moderation of things like disinformation vs. satire would be so much simpler. But then someone would start abusing that algorithm for scams, pre-crime prevention and other purposes.

OGquaker says:

Thumb opposes forefinger

I suppose using the thumb to hold a cell phone is why nature picked humans. s/ This minor form of “Creativity” on a small display sounds like a self-referential circle-jerk on a scale never possible before 1995. The small sport of growth off this two-dimensional “Creativity” universe are the “Makers”, relegated to stitching together junk ordered from China. After decades of instructional TV teaches that owning objects past 3 months is Hording: a venal sin… what would we use our hands to make? What would we build anything out of? HANDS ARE FOR TYPING! Let Bill Gates and the third world grow our food.
Where i live, young men walk around with their hand down their pants, and No Man ever zips up his fly in Jamaica. Sounds like TicTok to me.
The average piece of clothing is worn only seven times before being..
Disclamer: My AA degree is in theater, and making movies and TV commercials was only half of my work life, all a small fraction of living on this world.

Yes, I Know I`m Commenting Anonimously says:


the internet has unleashed creativity on an unprecedented scale

Likely, the creativity was always there but only the very top got money and/or fame in the age of big business. Before that period, some the creativity could be profitable locally, e.g. the local carpenter and backsmith or self made clothes. Nowadays, one can seek a global audience, which makes niche markets profitable enough to earn a living.

There may be a bit more creativity but the big change is not more creativity but more options for the exposure of that creativity. There are more and better chances for monetization, which means a bigger part of the long tail turns pro creator (as was before). The rest of the tail also has more incentives for expressing their creativity, not only financial but also in the form of more appreciation.

So: “the internet has unleashed the visibility and monetization of creativity on an unprecedented scale” would have been a more nuanced claim. (imo).

Anonymous Coward says:


Likely, the creativity was always there but only the very top got money and/or fame in the age of big business.

More a case of only those who got accepted by a publisher got a chance at fame and fortune. J.K. Rowling was running out of publishers to try when Bloomsbury took her on. Pre-Internet, most works submitted to a publisher were never looked at.

Yes, I Know I`m Commenting Anonymously says:

Re: Re:

That is a good example of what I mean. She was writing the books (or at least a thorough outline of them) without getting anything in return, untill a publisher decided to promote it. The creativity happened anyway (also, all those other rejected authors were creating their manuscript).

It was just not visible for a large audience. That exposure is the big game-changer, not the creativity. (imo 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:


Yes and no.

Yes, in the sense that there is more exposure.

No, in the sense that corps still can and will try to either limit how much money does flow to creators.

Hey, guess how AO3 came to be. That’s just one example, and there’s still Nintendo being Nintendo when it comes to streaming and short-form content.

Yes, I Know I`m Commenting Anonymously says:

That is a good example of what I mean. She was writing the books (or at least a thorough outline of them) without getting anything in return, untill a publisher decided to promote it. The creativity happened anyway (also, all those other rejected authors were creating their manuscript).

It was just not visible for a large audience. That exposure is the big game-changer, not the creativity. (imo 🙂

Thomas Black says:

Look at the bigger picture

Think for a second before you go aggrandizing the state of affairs for creatives. It’s a cesspool for most right now. While there are certainly success stories, there are more gatekeepers today than there were before the internet took charge.

While anyone can create and publish content, marketing said content is still expensive. Yes, you might stumble into a viral video that raises your online profile, but it’s not usually a long-term gain.

Posts like this are misleading and even dangerous because they make creators who haven’t broken through feel like they’re failing, when in fact the gatekeepers are still in full effect today. Besides, LinkTree wants to promote success as that will drive more customers to them, much like lotteries.

Anonymous Coward says:


So’s your post.

There are definitely more gatekeepers. Disney, Nintendo, for starters. And their horrendous actions towards independent creators. There are also the IP laws Disney, the RIAA and their copyright maximalist ilk have funded.

However, the Internet has created a pathway for smaller creators to showcase their work. And it’s definitely hard work, but there are a lot of part-time creatives who work a full-time job and do the art/writing/music/design stuff on the side and are happy living this dual life.

Sturgeon’s Law is still in effect. And being a cynical bastard doesn’t change the fact that the internet has created this pathway.

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