Creator Economy: Now vs. Tomorrow
The decentralization of the creator economy aims to tweak the relationship between content creators and their fans, followers, and listeners. Core to decentralized platforms are the governance models that withhold them.
- Centralization (Get right or get left)
- Decentralized (Collaboration is Multiplication)
What is the creator economy?
The creator economy is just another way of thinking about the content economy. It’s the marketplace where people and communities create, distribute, and profit from content. Platforms, where intellectual property is shared for other users to engage with, make up the creator economy. They come in many sizes — be that behemoths like Spotify, Netflix, Youtube, or just personal blogs.
How does the creator economy work?
Web 2.0, the social web, shifted work culture and enabled millennials to live their lives by doing what they´ve always wanted. Whether that were creating videos, making music, or writing the next best-seller, all of these activities fit under the buzzwords content and content creation. Authors, artists, producers, and filmmakers all fall under the “Content Creator” umbrella.
Platforms, on the other hand, provide the infrastructure for distribution, leveraging users’ behavioral data to optimize and create revenue streams for both creators and themselves. Such as shared ad revenues, product placements, tips from engaging fans, and brand sponsors that match with creators’ personal brands. As a result, social media platforms allow for massive content distribution and rapid growth.
What’s the catch? For content creators to reach the traditional definition of success– paying their bills by means of their creative potential — they’re expected to have the storytelling skills, marketing strategies, and the relentless hustle required to engage, grow, and monetize their fans. To make matters more difficult, the ever-growing amount of creators coming into the industry only widens the gap between newcomers and top tier creators, concentrating the profits for the top 10% (or less, depending on the platform)
The other part of the business relies on the users. Since platform algorithms enable recommendation and curation models, the more users engage, the more they feed said algorithms with data. Of course, no amount of data will ever create an exact copy of the user (right?), but their profiling can be alarmingly precise. This data scheme birthed many revenue models and, unsurprisingly, content distribution platforms.
Decentralizing the Creator Economy
The decentralization of the creator economy isn’t explicitly aimed toward rejecting all platforms as a whole but rather tweaking the relationship between content creators and their fans, followers, and listeners. Core to decentralized platforms are the governance models that withhold them, these are, in essence, the social agreements under which the relationships of the centralized creator economy may begin to change.
When mediated by major platforms, the conversation between creators and followers is merely an exchange of content for attention intercepted by the ruling policies of the platform at hand– not to mention that such policies are usually in favor of the platform’s leaching from creators bringing in the biggest amount of users.
A decentralized creator economy, on the other hand, is an advocate for a transparent relationship between creators and followers withheld by ensuring efforts toward building decentralized relationships. It envisions a creator economy whose only fees are either a result of a direct creator-to-fan relationship or a matter of technicalities like gas fees when minting an NFT. The decentralized approach to the creator economy focuses on the growth of its community as a whole rather than creating a business model looking to maximize profits.
How is decentralization an alternative for creators?
The creator economy interferes with third-party platforms, and too often in an unfair manner. But that’s not new, it’s just the 20th-century media patronage model. The gamechanger here is the emergence of NFTs, blockchain technology, and the crypto economy — enabling new ways for creators to engage seamlessly with other platforms, other creators, and most importantly their own communities in a peer-to-peer fashion. Imagine what you could achieve by removing the gatekeepers of the content economy.
Different from Content Distribution Platforms, Decentralized applications (DApps) and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) seek participation to be as open as possible. Their ethos is empowered by a collaborative spirit which is why the incentive within the very structures of these protocols is to look for the well-being of the community rather than unequally empowering individuals within them.
Opposed to ad revenue in exchange for personal data models that content distribution platforms benefit from, scalability with decentralized projects rests on the value of community building. Therefore the value of decentralization for creators rests exclusively on the quality of their work, and the engagement with their community.
We can confidently say then, that the future of content creation and distribution currently lies in the hands of Web 3 and DeFi protocols that are able to incentivize newcomers and creators alike to join their mission and enhance the new culture for the creator economy spectrum.
Closing thoughts moving forwards:
It’s been evident that there are benefits to the centralization of content distribution platforms. Creators have the possibility of making money off of their passion but, like most things in life, there are risks.
Creating content for mainstream media platforms implies that creators must have the creativity for it all and the knowledge to market it as well. And the bottom line for most creators is how to do so without tampering with one´s true authentic self or depending on the revenue models created by platforms.
As far as alternatives can go, the decentralization of the creator economy is undoubtedly an option for content creators to consider. The frictionless peer-to-peer composition of DApps and DAOS is even more promising when creators consider the potential growth not only of their own communities but those of communities engaging with each other.
About THEOS: The THEOS ecosystem is managed and sustained by our Association, a team of both traditional finance and blockchain virtuosos. We envision a new way of thinking, minting, and trading NFTs, and have developed what we believe is going to become the next-generation community-governed NFT platform.
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