What is the creator economy?

To get a clear picture of how the creator economy market map works, we need to look at the creator economy. This brings us to this question. What is it?

Creator Economy 

It is a group of people like content creators, curators, and community builders that comprises social media influencers, videographers, and bloggers.

Content creators have had to come up with tools to assist them in growing their work and also manage the diverse revenue streams.

What is the new Trend?

1.Creators own their fans. Lately, more creators are moving their content to their websites and apps rather than be held back by these large tech companies

2. They are becoming founders. Creators find more comfort in being their bosses by setting up a team of people to help them start their businesses from the ground up while still focusing on their art.

3. They are more popular. Fans want to have a one-on-one conversation with their entertainers rather than using the back channels to communicate.

Currently, more people around the world consider themselves content creators. Over 50 million creators are keeping in mind the creator economy only started being recognized a decade ago. 

With these numbers increasing rapidly, it has become one of the fastest growing small business industries around the world. From a survey that was conducted in America, it was clear that many children would prefer becoming a YouTube star to an astronaut.

Content creation: How did it Advance?

Lately, we have several people feeling they are not productive in their offices and want to do something that brings joy in their lives while still meeting their financial obligations. That said, everyone is shifting from their office cubicles to being social media content creators.

With the day-to-day advancement in technology such as better cameras on phones, larger screens, and faster mobile networks. Content creation has been made a walk in the park.

All you need right now is a phone, an idea and you can be the most paid creator on these big tech firms. To get there, you have to be willing to receive criticism from online strangers, be relentless, and also be a great storyteller.

Fortunately, many platforms have been created to assist the creators, especially the over 2 million people who have made it a full-time job.

What do the Numbers Say?

Today, we have 50 million content creators. This number is divided into two: Amateur Creators and Professional Creators. Let’s have a look at the breakdown of these numbers which adds up to 50 million.

Professional Individual Creators (2M+)

These are the creators that are making content full-time. From analysis, this is how the 2M comes about.

  • YouTube has more than 31million channels and from these channels, there are 1M creators with over 10,000 subscribers. 
  • Instagram has over 1 billion accounts with 500k accounts having over 100k followers who are considered active users.
  • Twitch has 3 million streamers with 300k streamers having either Partner or Affiliate status.
  • Other content creator platforms like musicians, writers, and podcasters from the remaining 200k.

2.Amatuer Individual Creators (46.7M) 

They comprise people who do this part-time.

  • From the 31M channels on YouTube, 12M have 100 to 10k subscribers.
  • Of the 1 billion Instagram accounts, 30M have 50 to 100k followers.
  • Of the 3M twitch streamers, 2.7M are non-Partner or Affiliate.
  • The others that comprise musicians, writers, and podcasters fill the 2M.

How did the Creator Economy Come into Existence: A brief history?

Before we jump right into the tools that make the creator economy, we need to look at the categories that build on each other.

Category 1. Foundational Media Platforms

Since the internet came into existence, we have witnessed the formation of platforms like YouTube, Instagram, iTunes, Spotify, and the most recent ones such as Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, and Medium.

These platforms have helped many creators showcase their skills which have, in turn, aided in their discovery. Now, they no longer have to rely on tech giants’ companies that hold them back by limiting the type of content they should produce.

Channel networks like Maker and Fullscreen have been introduced as a result of these platforms. They have equipped creators with the necessary tools for growing their audience and also polishing their work.

But as we have seen, they do not have the interest of creators at heart. So, if you are a creator, diversify on different apps to reduce the chances of ‘platform risk’ which will shield you from vulnerability such as reduction of opportunities, limiting the content you produce, etc.

Category 2. Monetizing Influencer Reach

After some time, the brands started to see the potential these creators had. They began recognizing their work by encouraging them to do more ads that otherwise create awareness of these platforms. 

Some used traditional ways of advertisements while others opted to let creators stick to their imagination and as a result, companies like Niche which sponsors content have since emerged. And how does this work?

Creators looked for sponsors that matched their ideas, brands, likes, and most importantly those who did not sacrifice their content.

Unfortunately, this became common. The creators noticed that they were losing the trust of their fans which was hurting their growth.

Category 3. Creators as Businesses 

This is the latest category where companies are supporting creators to grow their businesses by allowing them to sell products like books, coaching services, and newsletters. Although this might not be a win-win for both parties, creators have found a new way to solve the problem.

Currently, we have creators earning a lot more from their audience than from platforms like YouTube that pays you revenue for bringing in new members switching from the latter to embracing the idea of brand sponsors who pay them for reaching a particular audience on their platforms.

How did Media Platforms Come into Existence?

These platforms include:

  • Video/streaming: YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, YouNow and OnlyFans.
  • Photography/ Graphic Design: Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest
  • Music/Podcast: iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Soundcloud
  • Writing: Twitter, Medium, Quora

How has Covid19 Influenced these Platforms?

There was a rapid growth of the users of these platforms due to an increase in job loss. Job seekers needed to make a living so they had to seek alternative means like being a creator to meet their needs.

A Breakdown of Content Creation Tools (Without Network)

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram have tools that enable creators to have some cool effects on the videos and pictures they produce. However, not all apps have these features. Others will only provide you with the points to follow in enhancing your content.

The platforms that have these tools are the most successful. One of these companies is the Adobe Creative Cloud which switched from selling individual software licenses to selling subscriptions.

This change did not affect the company mainly because most users were business creators, unlike individual creators who post on social platforms.

Other platforms prefer to be ‘all-in-one’ meaning they offer services like discovering, creation and monetization. A company like Spotify 2017 bought Soundtrap which is a platform that offers music production software development. This software assists its users not only to make music but also distribute it.

Tools for Content Creation by Type of Media


Tools like inVideo and PlayPlay help in improving the quality of the video as well as assist in compressing the videos into shareable formats. On the other hand, Vochi improves the quality by adding unique video effects.

Other Apps like Trash and Quik have tools that enable you to edit short videos into mini-movies that are shareable on social networks.

Photography/Graphic design

Affinity is a UK-based company that has been giving Adobe’s throne a run for its money. It is more affordable and offers a wide range of features than the latter.   

Companies like Canva and Snappa only focus on providing graphic design editor services. Speaking of Canva, it is one of the most valuable content creation companies with its valuation standing at $ 6 billion.

What makes this platform outstanding is its ability to design and create beautiful content from its treasure chest.


Music has a small market and that is why there are fewer establishments surrounding it. GarageBand is the most commonly used platform by many musicians. 

With the advancement of technology, creating, marketing, and distributing music has been made easier. Artists do not have to rely on the traditional ways of record labels.


There has been a rapid increase in the number of users of the podcast in recent years. This increase has been brought about by companies like PodBean, Megaphone, Buzzsprout, and Anchor assisting creators in monetizing and advertising their content.

Effects of Covid19 on these Platforms

Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, many people embraced the idea of using social media to earn money, entertainment, and also communicate.

The Growth of Influencer Marketing

This type of market uses influencers to promote a brand to a market. There are a number of influencer markets. Which include:

 1. Specialized Influencer Marketing Agencies

These agencies are hired by companies to identify influencers, negotiate on their behalf and also carry out thorough campaign analysis assessments. Some of these agencies include Everywhere, WHOSAY, and Pulse Advertising.

Influencer agencies deal with creators directly and also act as a go-between the brands and creators. They are personalized in nature and for this reason, they are extremely expensive for both parties.

2. Marketing Platforms and Marketplaces for Influencers

Unlike the specialized platform, this platform offers a large database that influencers can pick from. The main downside of this platform is that it limits brands’ access to the largest influencer since they work only with agencies. They include marketplaces like The Shelf, Klear, Grin, and Captiv8.

Hollywood talent agencies like CAA, UTA, and WME partner with these influencers to ensure that their celebrities are available to brands.

Platforms like The Plug choose a different approach by allowing influencers to choose which campaigns to work with.

Other platforms like Pixlee help brands choose carefully content for their social media users which is more economical and authentic since the audience knows the content was created by another user.

CRM Tools

Most influencers have contracts with many brands. It can be a challenge managing all these brands simultaneously. CRM Tools like Tubular Labs, MoeAssist, and Cloutjam have been created specifically to assist influencers to manage their brands.

Impact of Covid19

Since brands could not do one-on-one personal shoots. They opted to get in touch with content creators. Other firms seized their marketing completely to conserve cash.

Creators as a Career

The number of influencers has increased over recent years. This increase has led to competition for brand deals by influencers and others being forced to seek alternative means of earning income.

Patronage Platforms

Being a content creator means you have to be smart and figure out ways to earn more money. And that means allowing your fan to assist you here and there. Here are ways you can allow them to do that.

  • Ad Hoc Project-Based Funding

We have all heard of GoFundMe, I mean who doesn’t? creators use this kind of platform      to advertise their books, short films, videos, and documentaries. Their normal charge rate is 5%

  • Subscription Based-Funding

This is subscribing to a content creator. Jack Conte of Patreon is known to have created the concept of “Subscribing $10/month to your favorite creator” and from the looks of things other companies are open to the same idea.

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube Channel Membership have enabled the creators to charge a certain fee to the subscribers. 

  • Tip Jar Concept

Platforms such as Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee enable fans to give creators as little as $5 instead of recurring donations.

Other networks allow fans to tip creators, especially through Livestream in exchange for shout-outs to other fellow fans.

Effect of Covid19 on Patronage platforms

There was a massive increase in the users of these platforms due to the different restrictions that were placed. For instance, Patreon added 30k new creators

What Else is there for Creators?

Selling Fan Engagement

This is where a creator uses their platform to sell some interactions with a fan, taking an example where Cameo made some good cash for arranging small video shout-outs from celebrities to their fans.

Selling Online Course/Webinars

There are different ways to access reading or writing materials, platforms like Kajabi, Teachable, and Thinkific offer creators the chance to advertise, engage and monetize their courses. 

Selling Newsletters/ebooks

Journalists can now set a subscription fee for their newsletters. Platforms like Substack allow writers to monetize their work.

As a writer, you can make up to $100k a year all you need to have 400 subscribers paying $10/month.

Community Engagement Tools

Creators are increasingly seeing the value of adding a community to their social media platforms. Many believe that it helps them with the ever-changing technology.

Platforms like DSM and Zebra enable creators to build an efficient communication network with their fans. Vibe creates challenges that enable the creator and their fans to interact while solving the problem.

Creators are using advanced techniques to monetize their communities such as developing revenue through subscriber community spaces.

Finance Management Tool

Now that we have creators wanting to switch from small to medium-sized businesses, managing their finances can be a challenge. They will need tools to help them with that. 

Since they have many sources of income, the banking infrastructure does not know how to underwrite them.

Thus, they need a financial system that channels all their sources of income into one platform and also offers services like loans, salaries, and financial advice.

We are living in a world where everyone wants to be an inventor. Not everyone is cut out to work the 9 to 5 hours. Many people are now embracing the new ways that have come up of making money without actually showing up to the office. Creators are also shifting from being artists to being founders. If you are a creator or aspire to be one, focus on being independent and not being at the mercy of these tech giants.

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