The new American dream is to be the next YouTube star.

Platforms like YouTube continue to profit as more and more creators flock to the endless gold rush of likes and subscribes. But while the value and popularity of these platforms has gone up, the value of the creators – those people working hard to improve the platform – remains vague.

The creator is always more motivated to upload a video to where the eyes are. Why else would so many people upload videos to YouTube instead of Vimeo? And, if we were to pretend it exists, why else would so many people upload tiny videos to TikTok instead of Vine?

Platforms provide creators incentives to keep creating. Fans know this (even if they’re not aware they know it), because fans keep returning to YouTube everyday to watch a new video.

But there’s a problem. Creators are starting to see that the value of 1,000,000 subscribers is set by the platform. Set by the systems designed to incentivize creators. 1,000,000 subscribers (which means more ad money for YouTube) does not always mean $100,000 a year. Far from it.

What to do about this?

I’ll let Austin Calvert take it from here.

Austin’s stellar videos are now on Ideafront. They keep getting better and better. He’s a storyteller at the vanguard of the new relationship between creators, platforms, and fans. Highly recommended.

And here’s our conversation for those who want to explore these ideas further.


P.S my newsletter sent out this morning. Are you subscribed? Each week I send out podcast clips, essays on content creation, music, art, goofy stuff, and more.

Cheers.

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