Despite the general view towards the creator economy being that the hype has slowed down, Stripe data suggests that the economy has not only evolved but is also thriving.
Following its 2021 creator economy index, which identified the US as a breeding ground for content creators, the consensus in 2023 is that the economy has taken a dive. One reason for this comes in Stripe’s updated findings. Providing financial infrastructure for businesses and content creators alike, the fintech has found a 25 per cent decrease in the number of new US creators year-over-year. In fact, the data shows a 13 per cent decline in the number of US-based content creators (from 85 to 72 per cent).
However, from a global standpoint, the number of content creators in Thailand, Brazil and Romania has grown by roughly 11 per cent. Even countries like Tanzania, Mozambique and El Salvador have started monetising content. Stripe has suggested one reason for this could be the accessibility of X, and its monetisation programme to share ad revenue with creators.
Commenting on how the economy has changed over the years, Simon Ellington, cofounder of Ko-fi, a UK-based Connect platform said: “In 2012, Ko-fi started as a weekend project to let developers accept contributions of coffee.
“Since then, creators have signed up from six continents. They’re accepting tips for PlayStation streams and selling online jazz club memberships. Creators are now earning $100million a year on Ko-fi. Last year, that number was less than half.”
In 2021, Stripe noted that over the 50 platforms it analysed, there was a total of 668,000 creatos in the space. It also estimated that creators would amass over $10billion in total earnings.
At the same time, the fintech pointed out that two years ago, there was a 41 per cent increase in the number of content creators making a living wage off of their content (over $69,000 a year).
The viability to live off content creation is still as true today as it was in 2021… to an extent. Despite a drop in content creators, the US continues to have the highest monthly recurring revenue (MRR). This helps individuals in the long term as instead of a biweekly paycheck, users are able to plan ahead and ensure financial security. However, the number of US creators earning a US living wage is down 2.8 per cent from four per cent in 2021.
In its updated data, Stripe has found the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to be a hotspot for content creators. Hong Kong and Japan saw the second and third fastest-growing MRR, behind the US. However, Hong Kong creators have the highest average MRR at $6,600. The Netherlands has $3,200 and the UK $2,600.
Here to stay
Despite the arguably worrying signs in the US, Stripe remains confident in the content creation scene. New businesses and platforms continue to venture into the space, giving creators across the globe new opportunities.
Stripe identifies AI and crypto as taking the limelight away from the content creation industry, however, it does suggest it can adopt and use the technology. For example, Runway, a subscription-based AI platform for content creators, announced it was equipping creators with new tools. Furthermore, Braintrust has enabled the gig economy to be paid in crypto.
With all this taken into consideration, there should be optimism for the content creation economy.