In an increasingly digitized world, a new and globally significant economic sector is emerging: the creator economy. This phenomenon, which encompasses the vast business ecosystem built around social media stars, has become a benchmark in the landscape of modern industry. According to Goldman Sachs estimates, the value of the creator economy amounts to $250 billion this year, with growth prospects reaching $480 billion by 2027.
The origins of this sector date back to the mid-2000s, as outlined in the book “Extremely Online” by technology journalist Taylor Lorenz. Since then, the industry has experienced exponential growth, transitioning from fashion and lifestyle influencers promoting products to creators in various fields such as personal finance, gaming, and travel, many of whom are earning substantial incomes.
But it’s not just the creators who are profiting from this economy. A range of professionals working for them, such as agents, managers, assistants, or video editors, as well as startup founders and tech executives who have built platforms and companies to help creators earn and build an audience, are also benefiting from this growth.
According to Goldman Sachs analysis, the creator economy could reach $480 billion by 2027, driven by investments in influencer marketing and the growth of revenue-sharing models, particularly in short videos, on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
The primary way many creators earn money today is through influencer marketing. According to Insider Intelligence forecasts, influencer marketing spending in the United States will reach $5.89 billion next year, and its growth “will remain in double digits until 2025.”
From trendy new brands like Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty to e-commerce giants like Amazon, many companies are leveraging influencers to drive sales.
However, not all creators earn substantial sums. A recent survey conducted by influencer marketing platform Mavrck of 689 creators revealed that about 51% earn less than $500 per month. In the survey, nearly a quarter of creators said they earn more than $2,000, and about 4% claimed to earn more than $10,000 per month.
Some of the highest-earning creators, especially YouTubers, have built large teams, like the approximately 250-person operation assembled by MrBeast, which Forbes estimated earned $82 million between June 2022 and June 2023.
Indeed, YouTube has been the source of a significant number of jobs, according to research by Oxford Economics. The company estimated that last year, the YouTube business ecosystem represented 390,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the United States. A dedicated job site focused on YouTube, YT Jobs, lists dozens of job opportunities with salaries of up to $130,000.
The latest innovation driving the creator economy forward is artificial intelligence.