Creator Economy: Where It’s Headed Next

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Long before anyone heard of overused terms like “creator economy” or “influencers,” Dan Weinstein was at the forefront of the once tiny business of turning digital-native celebrities into household names.

If you remember early YouTube sensations like Fred Figglehorn or the Annoying Orange a decade ago, Weinstein played an instrumental role in their rise as part of Collective Digital Studio, a spin-out of a former Hollywood management powerhouse. Earlier this year, he reunited with his former Collective partners to launch a new firm, Underscore Talent, dedicated to discovering the next wave of emerging talent, albeit on a playing field very different than the one where Weinstein started.

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“We’re lucky if they were earning a $1 million a year or $2 million a year, that was the top half of 1%,” said Weinstein on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” “Now you’ve got the top half of that same 1% earning $20, $30, $40 million and building companies that I think arguably could be the next unicorns. And that’s just a really exciting place to be.”

A keen observer of the influencer business based on his extensive experience, Weinstein discusses what he sees as the developing arms currently taking place in the creator economy, as platforms from Snapchat to Clubhouse vie to attract the best talent.

Said Weinstein, “I think with the exponential growth of TikTok and all the value that TikTok is providing to creators and influencers, you see a lot of the more established platforms that may have been behind the eight ball in that regard, starting to try to play catch up.”

“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

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