Huge Creator Economy Launch Derailed by Lack of Disclosure

This Week: Come to my Baltimore meetup – in partnership with Brendan Gahan and Avi Gandhi on Sept 27 – RSVP here. Also, my most meta headline ever tops the QUIBI section. It’s the second week of September 2023 and here’s what you need to know.

A person holding a paper money on fire

Description automatically generatedMr. Beast Pumped a New ESports League. It Didn’t Go Well: A flashy new league, anchored by top creators including Bella Porch, Clix, Vinnie Hacker and CDawgVA — and promoted by Mr. Beast — imploded when its secret crypto underpinnings were revealed. Turns out fans were enticed to purchase $20 community passes, which were secretly tracked on a blockchain and sounded like NFTs. Nothing wrong with that in theory – but the subsequent uproar caused many creators to abandon ship. So many lessons. First, crypto, blockchain and NFTs are still toxic to many creators and fans. Second, if you’re building on Web3 tech, don’t obfuscate. Disclose early and often. NFTs offer great promise for the creator economy, argues Peter Csathy, but clearly much work needs to be done. I wonder how much money “Creator League” parent company eFuse just lost? Investors Seth Curry and Ezekiel Elliot can’t be happy.

Media’s Jurassic Age is Over: If you are reading this newsletter, you probably know this, but media cartographer Evan Shapiro’s latest map makes it abundantly clear: the Dinosaurs are doomed. Eshap charts revenue and audience for today’s global media ecosystem, starkly depicting how traditional TV has already lost to online video. There’s no going back. This is good news for creators, as more doors opens up as gatekeepers fade away. Adjust your worldview and your financial models accordingly. RELATED: Interesting LA Times story on film-school graduates opting for the creator economy over traditional media.

Spotify’s Big Podcast Bet Failing: With more than a billion dollars spent, Spotify has shockingly little to show for that investment. Reported by the WSJ ($), and summarized by the Daily Mail, those high-profile bets on Kardashians, Obamas and Prince Harry just haven’t paid off. It reminds me of YouTube’s “Original Channel” program, a $200M bet on mostly non digital stars with disastrous results. Ironically the WSJ’s analysis is best digested on Gimlet – one of Spotify’s $230M whiffs. Podcasts remain strong for creators, but mostly as part of a balanced mix of formats with incentives aligned on performance, not glitz.

Private Communities Accelerate: Last week’s jibe at the Insider’s “Social Media Is Dead ($)” story only lightly touched on their second theme: the rise of private communities. But the growing trend was accelerated last week by Clubhouse, TikTok, Instagram and Patreon.

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And don’t forget to listen to The Creator Feed – the weekly podcast Renee Teeley and I produce – get it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher!

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