As the influencer industry evolves, creators are cashing in with ‘content collectives’

A growing number of influencers are forming groups to capitalize on their followers and establish brand partnerships.


March 11, 2020

TikTok’s most popular creator, Loren Gray, has more than 40m followers. On YouTube, PewDiePie has more than 100m followers.

By lip-synching along to popular songs and playing video games these 2 creators built valuable personal brands: Gray earns an estimated $175k per TikTok; PewDiePie makes $15m+ a year. 

(YouTube revenue comes only from ads. TikTok revenue — though less consistent — comes from live streams, sponsored posts, and fees for song integrations.)

But despite the huge success of these individuals, some creators now believe they can build bigger brands around groups.

Enter the ‘collectives’

They take several forms, but they’re based on the same idea: That influencers who band together can grab more eyeballs — and more money — than individuals.

The collectives have big ambitions, too: They hope to become full-blown media companies.

So, what do they look like?

Here are 3 forms of “creator collective” we’ve seen:

  • Collab houses: Creators move into a so-called “TikTok mansion” — such as the Hype House — so they can make cameos in each other’s videos and develop a reality TV-esque atmosphere that plays out over several accounts. It’s like the Marvel Cinematic Universe… but for influencers.
  • Talent incubators: Creators form a talent-management company and hire in-house influencer marketers so they can negotiate brand sponsorships, lines of merch, event partnerships, intellectual-property deals, and even film rights. In some cases, talent incubators are affiliated with their own collab houses (one company called TalentX puts up 6 of its influencers in Sway House for free — as long as they hit their content quotas).
  • Content studios: Creators form full-blown studios that promote big brands with custom content. Amp Studios develops a roster of both creators (actual influencers) and characters (fictional personas such as Zapp the superhero) to promote partners — which have so far included Chipotle, Coca-Cola, and Disney.

While some collectives are informal… others are super serious

The Hype House doesn’t formally exist as a financial entity — so anyone living there who wants to sell HH merchandise is on their own.

But Amp Studios — whose team generates 1B+ monthly social media views — collects a percentage of revenue earned by each member across every channel.

So, what’s the endgame? 

Brent Rivera, Amp’s founder, and his business partner told Business Insider the group’s goal is simple: To be the “Disney Channel for the YouTube age.”

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