The new model Media Star is famous only for you


Cameo is, at first glance, a service that allows housebound idiots to waste money on silly yelling. Seen from another perspective, however, this is a new model of media business, sitting at the intersection of a set of powerful trends that are accelerating in the current crisis. There is the rise of simple digital direct payments, which are replacing advertising as the main source of media revenue. There’s the growing power of talent, moving from superstars to half-forgotten former athletes and even working journalists. And there’s the old promise of the old Internet that you could make a living if you just had “1,000 real fans” – a promise that advertising-based businesses, from blogs to YouTube channels, have broken. .

In fact, in this new economy, some people can make a living with just 100 true fans, as Li Jin, former partner of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, recently argued. Ms. Jin calls this new landscape “the passion economy”. She argues that apps like Uber and DoorDash are designed to erase the differences between individual drivers or food deliverers. But similar tools, she says, can be used to “monetize individuality.”

Many of these trends are well developed in China, but here in the US, the passion economy covers everyone from small merchants using Shopify to drawing teachers on the Udemy education platform.

At the heart of the media industry, artists and writers are moving rapidly to find new business models, as huge swathes of the media industry have been injured or shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. At Patreon, the first and largest of the great services connecting writers and performers to the public, co-founder Jack Conte said he was delighted to recently see one of his favorite bands, Of Montreal, release music on the platform.

“The traditional music coming to Patreon is a defining moment,” he said.

In the field of information, journalists are blazing new trails on Substack, a newsletter service. Its most successful individual voices – like Chinese expert Bill Bishop and liberal political writer Judd Legum – earn well in six figures per year for sending regular newsletters to subscribers, although no individual has crossed the threshold. million dollars mark, the company said.

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