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Creator Economy, a phenomenon one cannot ignore

Welcome to the world of content creators, entrepreneurs, and creator economy.

Well, creator economy is not a recent concept. Its origins date back to 1997 when some artists uploaded their works on DevianArt. It was a very limited market back then and hence the concept was nascent.

This offshoot was coming and going with all its limitations and challenges until social media took over the bandwagon in the late 2000s. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram brought the lost spark among content creators.

Thanks to the pandemic that preponed virtual interaction and transaction, creator economy is now growing, spreading, and blooming with content creators, users, apps, and digital platforms.


Believe it or not, creator economy has already crossed 100 billion USD. YouTube is expecting over 30 billion in revenues as 2022 ushers in, as reported by Forbes.com

Now, this certainly means business!

According to the Benchmark Report 2021 by Influencer Marketing Hub, Creator Economy startups have attracted over 850 million USD from VCs since October 2020. April 2021 observed the highest turnaround of investments with a total contribution of 338.8 million covering Series A to Series F of fundraising rounds.

Besides Creator Economy, Gig Economy is roughly valued between One Trillion to around 4.5 Trillion US dollars by 2023.


But first, what is Creator Economy? How is this economy different from Gig Economy?

Creator Economy is part of Passion Economy that presents itself in the digital space through various apps and platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, etc. It is an influencer-driven economy with unlimited scope for revenue. This economy depends on fans and subscribers who are the direct consumers.

Gig Economy originates from freelancers. Much before mobile apps and social media platforms bought ‘on-demand’ services— freelancers’ used phones. This economy is usually based on tangible products with a well-defined revenue structure.

The key difference lies in the consumers. In Creator Economy, the content creator / influencer offers services directly to their fanbase.

Uber, TaskRabbit, Instacart, and DoorDash are some examples of Gig Economy whereas, SkillShare, Patreon, Shopify, and teachable are examples of Creator Economy.


Understanding Creator Economy

The influencer-driven Creator Economy got its booster shot sometime in 2020. Notably, one million professionals earn through YouTube and nearly half (500,000) on Instagram. Twitch, an American live streaming domain has some 300,000 professionals making money.

The Big-picture is, more than 50 million (according to Influencer Marketing Hub) across the globe consider themselves ‘creators’. As many as 46.7 million out of them consider themselves ‘amateurs’. Around two million claim to be full-time professionals.

As mentioned already, Creator Economy is not something that has emerged out-of-the-blue. The expanse of Gig Economy has encouraged Creator Economy. Although Gig Economy differs from Creator Economy with the former being more structured and rewarding on a regular basis, Creator Economy, however, is more unpredictable on rewards and revenues.

Aspirants choosing Creator Economy have practically no entry barriers or prerequisites.  It all depends on the content and how well it is received. Creator Economy demands more understanding and fine-tuning of the content for a prospective fanbase. A newbie might find challenging what his or her audience wants.


What drives Creator Economy?

The answer is, content entrepreneurs. Let us understand this further

Content Entrepreneurs are not influencers. They build businesses with the sole objective of monetizing and growing on their fanbase. This, they do by fulfilling a specific informational need. This is what media companies do, isn’t it?

According to a study published by The Tilt, 40 per cent of those surveyed are Gen X, 32 per cent are Millennials, and Baby Boomers (23 per cent) and Gen Z (5 per cent) are also starting content businesses. Among all content entrepreneurs, there is a split between those who do it full-time (52 per cent) and those who do it as a hobby (48 per cent).


What motivates Content Entrepreneurs?

The study further reveals that 78 per cent do it to remain independent, 73 per cent do it out of pure passion, 69 per cent because of flexible work hours and 43 per cent say ‘I choose where I live.’ Further, some 18 per cent feel motivated to prove themselves to others while 59 per cent do it for pure adventure by challenging themselves.

As many as 57 per cent of Content Entrepreneurs revealed that they want to employ some people to build their business while 36 per cent are okay being solo. Just six per cent wanted to keep their passion as a hobby.


Four laws of Creator Economy

Attention is the new currency! The world-wide-web not only overloaded servers with information, it overloaded the soft matter beneath our cranium as well. This certainly has disrupted our attention span altogether.

We are scrolling our thumbs more (on the touchscreen) than we used to a decade ago. This has reduced our attention span considerably from 12 seconds in 2008 to 8 seconds as of today.

Experts say that the attention span of humans is one second less than that of a goldfish. 


Some 10 years ago, top shared videos were a bit over 4 minutes. Today it is less than two minutes.

  1. Content is a strategy, not an execution: Times have changed; so has the audience. Content is no more an afterthought of strategy. If you consider your content as an outcome of planning and execution, the final product might not work the way you think. Your content should be smart enough to move your strategy. Your business / monetization goals, I mean.
  2. Build for the audience: If your content is just a mouthpiece for your brand, you may not find a lot of takers. Lip service and pep talks don’t necessarily bring responses or returns.

Even if content is king, audience rules! The audience clicks on the like button, hit comments on your posts and, share it (your content) on their network. Actually, it’s your audience who promote you for free and build your fanbase.

  1. Little and often: Attention span is linked to the shelf-life of content. Since attention span is reducing, so is the shelf-life.

The average shelf-life of a Facebook post is 6 hours. The post tries to gain maximum visibility within the first 2 hours and then it fades into oblivion, usually.

Instagram is different. Although owned by Facebook, post visibility is around 48 hours. Know your hashtags and, Insta is yours!

Now for Twitter, things can be tricky. Twitter can give you ‘30 seconds of fame’ or many days of shame. It depends who you are and how your followers relate to you.

A, average tweet lasts for not more than 18 minutes. You need to feed Twitteratis with frequent dosages of tweets in a day to keep your presence and your charm.

The message being, deliver content that is crisp and has got variety.

Deliver them frequently too.

  1. The audience is up for grabs

Content has to feel fresh when employed with changing landscapes and scenarios. Having a psychological moment in your videos and infographics can provide a cutting edge to your communication.

All-in-all, your content must match the EQ of your audience. Their hearts must beat to your content. Once this begins, your audience is up for grabs for the moment.


Ways Content Entrepreneurs may monetize their audience


Teaching online

Teaching online is a good career move. According to Skillshare, the scope of revenue can touch 100,000 dollars in a year. Online learning platforms such as; Udemy, Skillshare or Teachable may add reputation and influence. Moreover, teaching online is a great way to engage more audience.



You can share tips and tricks in your line of expertise to gain acceptance and subscribers via YouTube, Instagram and Facebook short videos. This will help in monetizing your audience further through one-on-one meets digitally (Google Meet / ZOOM/Facebook Live etc.) or in any way that suits you. You can charge on a per-hour basis for such meets and consultations.


Selling exclusive content 

Show something unique that you have. If you have a unique ‘sense of humour’, show it. You can show your unique style of storytelling as well. Any special skill that you want, World to know.

Believe me, the audience love originality. Remember, being peculiar is not negative. All you need is to try and check for yourself. In the entertainment business, it’s called ‘getting a break’. You don’t need anybody’s permission or consent for a break.

You have YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and a barrage of online platforms and apps. Patreon for instance allows you to post exclusive content for a few dollars. You can monetize content through paid subscriptions.


Selling Art & Merchandise

Apart from traditional ways, one can sell ‘work-of-art’ online. This opens a world of opportunity for the artist. The artist begins drawing followers. Buyers and Collectors can make out the real thing from the digital view. You might start selling as well.

PayLoadz, Esty, DeviantArt, Imagekind, Redbubble and Zazzle are some of the most preferred platforms for selling art.


The uprising of NFT in Creator Economy

On March 11, 2021 Centuries old Christie’s auction sold artwork for a whopping 69 million dollars! Not Rembrandt, not Van Gough or Tintoretto… but a digital piece. The piece was an NFT designed by Mike Winkelmann called Beeple.


But first, what is NFT?

NFT stands for Non-Fungible Tokens.

Fungible is an adjective drawn from the word ‘fungi’ first used in the late 17th century. The origin routed to a Medieval Latin word ‘fungibilis’ meaning, to perform, to enjoy.

In a modern sense, a fungible item that is up for barter. A fungible unit is identical and therefore is interchangeable.

Banknotes and coins you use are fungible assets. Do not forget crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. They too are fungible assets.

Besides being interchangeable, fungible assets are also divisible. This of course has no impact on the nature or value of the asset. For example, you pay 100 cash for something or pay in two 50 notes, the transaction has no bearing on the value of cash.

Non-fungibile is just the opposite

They are unique, not interchangeable or replaceable and indivisible.

Non-fungible item is tied closely to their identity be it; the identity of the asset itself or its owner or creator.


What is NFT?

NFT, i.e. Non-fungible tokens are based on blockchain technology. Each token represents a unique identifiable asset like a work-of-art, digital content or multimedia. NFT can be understood as a digital certificate of ownership and authority; digital or physical.

Blockchains are growing lists of records called blocks connected through cryptography. Each block includes a cryptographic hash of its predecessor, a time stamp, and its exchange information. Using blockchain technology, we can safely store information on a shared system, where everyone can see but cannot alter its contents. Blockchain will track every transaction referred to as a ledger, and it uses a distributed system to verify the results.

NFT started somewhere in 2012-13 with the inception of coloured coins (CC) derived from Bitcoins. Some usage of CC includes property, coupons and subscriptions. Thanks to coloured coins, that aggravated Bitcoin’s capabilities paving way for Counterparty.

Counterparty is a P2P platform that allows creators to make custom-named assets with their own digital tokens.


CryptoPunks are NFT assets (24X24 bit images) numbered ten thousand on Ethereum blockchain, created by Matt Hall and John Watkinson of Larva Labs in 2017. They began offering these for free. They became so popular, they started attracting price. Prices have skyrocketed ever since, at time even reaching 7.57 million USD. (Source: Larva Labs)

NFTs undoubtedly are the in-thing. They are very popular and they will continue to grow exponentially. Companies and Content Entrepreneurs keeping away from these new trends will miss out on huge benefits NFTs promise.


How NFT is upscaling Creator Economy

Before Creator Economy, Attention Economy was the big cheese.

Attention Economy is a term coined by Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon. This was a model where the most valuable commodity was considered fit for audience attention. This concept was further explored by Michael Goldhaber in 1997. According to him, the economy would be shifting from a commodity-based model to attention focused.

Big corporations like Google, Facebook and Apple used the Attention Economy model where ads in the sidebar drew, focus of audiences worldwide. User action such as a click meant huge revenues for these corporates. They have monopolized the global ad market after all.

In, last some years, there’s been an overload of infomercials, content and mindless scrolling.

This paradigm shifts then moved further to Creator Economy. In this model, users have taken control of the content and big corporates have more or less taken a backseat.

The monopoly of the global ad market has been decentralized. Attention has given way to Passion.


Creator Economy is part of Passion Economy.

Creator Economy has been well-explained on the pages above.

The focus is how Content Entrepreneurs can benefit from using NFTs

NFTs seem to have democratized Creator Economy and added transparency. Full freedom is there for content entrepreneurs to create content and exploit avenues for big earnings without an intermediary sniping a cut and the issues of copyrights.


How to go about creating and monetizing content via NFT

Go beyond tangible pieces

Monetizing your content isn’t just restricted to a GIF, an audio or a video clip. It can be made for domains and virtual gaming items.

Choose the platform for minting your creations

Minting your creation requires an NFT platform. You might choose self-serviced platforms like Rarible or OpenSea. You might consider SuperRare as well. Well, this one requires approval.

Use Crypto wallet

Creating content via NFT comes with a price. Pay using a cryptocurrency.

Get Social. Promote your NFT

Once your creation is minted, start promoting your NFT on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.

NFT doesn’t limit your ‘creation’. You need to determine how many editions of a particular NFT you want to issue. It’s up to you whether you opt 1-of-1 route for one original or release several limited-edition copies of a particular NFT.


NFT & Businesses

NFT is not just for artists and creative wannabes. Businesses and brands can also tap its unlimited potentials.

NFT has moved beyond the new digital trend to a trading commodity with a face value. Global brands like Taco Bell and Charmin have used NFT in their campaigns.

Pringles launched ‘CryptoCrisp’ flavor with NFTs whereas Taco Bell sold NFT Taco GIFs, a newspaper column for hundreds of thousands of dollars.


NFTs undoubtedly have decentralized revenue flow of digital goods. Now it is anybody’s game since NFTs have proved to create a perception of scarcity vital for establishing a purported value of certain digital goods. NFT is becoming a new vehicle allowing brands to market themselves.



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