Taking Root: The Growth of America’s New Creative Economy

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Last year, we conducted the first rigorous analysis of the millions of Americans who produce and disseminate their own creative content on the internet

Executive Summary

Last year, we conducted the first rigorous analysis of the millions of Americans who produce and disseminate their own creative content on the internet — from videos on YouTube and books through Amazon Publishing, to photographs on Instagram and handmade objects on Etsy — and earn money from doing so. We focused on nine major platforms for this new creative economy, finding that nearly 14.6 million Americans earned more than $5.8 billion in 2016 from posting their personal creations on those nine platforms. Those totals capture only one prominent piece of this new creative economy, since they cover only Americans posting on one of nine platforms.

For this updated study, we can now report that this new economy grew at a robust rate in 2017.

Here is a summary of the updated study’s principal findings:

  • In 2017, nearly 17 million Americans earned income posting their personal creations on these nine platforms, an increase of more than 2.4 million U.S. creators, or 16.6 percent, in one year. The numbers of income-earning creators grew most rapidly in percentage terms on YouTube, Twitch, and Instagram.
  • All told, these American internet creators earned a baseline of $6.8 billion on the nine platforms in 2017, a one-year increase of nearly $1 billion, or 17 percent. Those earnings increased most rapidly for the creators on Instagram, Twitch, Tumblr and YouTube.

Read more at ReCreate