The billion-dollar ‘creator fund’ wars, explained

The social giants are playing a game of ‘who can invest the most in creators.’


May 13, 2021

Figuratively Literally throwing money at the problem (Source: Scott Barbour / Getty Images)

More than ever, it feels like everyone will soon get paid to post on social media. (Some consider this “Heaven on Earth”; others, “Hell”.)

In the past year, social giants like Snap Inc. and TikTok have launched massive creator funds, aimed at incentivizing big-name social stars to stay on the platforms.

Now, YouTube is saying, “Hold my beer.”

This week, the company announced its YouTube Shorts Fund

That may sound like a nonprofit for khakis, but it’s actually a $100m incentive for creators to spend less time on TikTok and more time on YouTube’s TikTok clone.

YouTube is no rookie when it comes to building out creative platforms. In 2019, its creative ecosystem contributed:

  • ~$16B to the US GDP (equivalent of 345k full-time jobs)
  • ~$2B to the British GDP (30k jobs)
  • ~$622m to the French GDP (15k jobs)

Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are also on the fund train

  • Snap divvies up a daily $1m pot to top creators and has minted multiple millionaires in the process
  • Instagram offered top TikTokers the big bucks to switch to its TikTok clone Reels
  • TikTok currently has a $200m Creator Fund for popular users

TikTok also plans to boost its fund to $1B+ in the US over the next 3 years and more than double that globally.

While everyone’s busy copying TikTok, the company is building a ‘LinkedIn for Gen Z’ video job platform and Instagram-like ecommerce features.

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