When we talk about the creator economy — the ecosystem built by independent creators and the brands and audiences that support them — the word that most often comes to mind is “authenticity.” But how authentic can these streamers, musicians, artists, or writers really be in the face of the Web2 creator platforms that have been, for the most part, restrictive in their policies and secretive in their decision making?
With Web3 gaining ground, creators have an opportunity to take part in a better creative environment. If it’s authenticity they truly want to convey, then nothing is more authentic than removing themselves from the rigid rules of web2 intermediaries to platforms where transactions are transparent, where they can have creative freedom, and where audiences are more invested — in more ways than one.
Unfair profit models with little creative ownership
In Web2, whether you have a hundred subscribers or a million, they aren’t really yours — they’re the platform’s. And if or when they decide to transfer to another platform, they’ll have some difficulty bringing their audiences with them.
And then there are the centralised algorithms that ultimately determine who sees their content or not. The constant changing of their algorithms have a profound effect of the earnings of these content creators, who are already at the mercy of unfair profit models, earning little for producing a lot. But no matter how much content they churn out, it will always be owned by these platforms as they are housed in their private servers.
In Web3, you own what you create
Web3 shows us what a truly supportive creative platform can be. At its core, it’s about placing ownership in the hands of its users. Through blockchain technology and the decentralization of web curation, having a centralized platform that supervises everything won’t be necessary. This gives everyone, creators or not, the freedom to create, consume, and support platforms and their creators.
A decentralized model removes the risk of profit-based centralized manipulation. And by eliminating intermediary platforms between content creators and their fans, these creators will now own 100% of their data, brand, and most importantly, their work.
No longer will they be beholden to limited revenue models to stay afloat. In the web3 economy, their fans can directly compensate them for their work. Through social tokens — cryptocurrencies that are used as a form of patronage — creators can monetize their fan base. Depending on the platform, social tokens not only give a fan access to the creative product, but they can also redeem or resell it. Some tokens can also include platform privileges.
All these create value, increase fan engagement, and decrease creators’ reliance on third parties to monetize their brand. If their fans really love their work, they will be more than happy to pay for it as they would if they wanted to purchase a new shirt, an album, or a piece or artwork in the real world.
And when content creators are no longer driven by the pressure of advertisers or platforms to push out content, then their creativity can genuinely flourish.
Better revenue structures and establishing royalties
In Web3, creators can grant ownership to fans through fungible tokens or social tokens that come with incentives such as VIP experiences, exclusive events, and unique merch. As early as 2021, for example, the group Kings of Leon released their new album, When You See Yourself as an NFT, which also included a limited-edition vinyl and the chance to win a live band experience.
And then there are royalties. Typically, artists can only earn through the initial sale of their work. Reselling has no benefit to them. In Web3, they can get credit and compensation for all the transactions made in a creative work’s lifetime. With the transparency that Web3 brings, users can now track the journey of a creative asset. Secondary NFT marketplaces like FabriikX and OpenSea allow these creations to be sold and resold with the original creator being compensated for each sale.
For content creators, connecting with fans is an important aspect of the job. Through Web3, their relationship is no longer limited to a single platform. Because creators will own their data, if they do decide to move to another platform, they can also take their fans along with them, no longer having to start from scratch and build a community once again.
Redefining the creative economy for readers and writers
How then would this look like for a social network built around reading and writing like t2? As a network that showcases writers and their work, we recognise the important role that writers have in powering the world and inspiring the readers who consume their work.
Because of this, writers write for their audience and are fairly compensated. As readers invest their attention to consume their work, they also earn from the time they spend reading it. In the future, writers can also grant ownership of their work to their readers, providing exclusive perks and content.
Writers on t2 own their work from the moment of creation, and can choose to do whatever they want with it without the need for third party approval.
Human curated, building communities in the process
Because content on t2 is curated by humans, not algorithms, the decision on which creative work receives attention is based on the quality of the article and peoples’ reception of it. At the same time, t2 witnesses passive contribution from all readers and uses it to curate network content.
For creators on t2 — established and aspiring writers alike — they all stand on equal ground and have the same opportunities for their work to be showcased to all users. No need to pay for ads, artificially boost posts, or leverage one’s followers. If they produce good, well-written content, the audience will come.
But more than just producing content, this human-led curation can actually help creators build genuine communities around their subject subcultures, or what we call “territories.” United by their common interest, and the desire to curate better content within, they work together to create a richer reading experience for all.
Here, communities nurture their content subcultures, interact with not just writers but also their fellow readers, and in turn, build a community connected by their love for reading and writing.
The creative model is due for a change
We are coming from a primarily top-down community where those at the top manage everyone at the bottom — this of course applies to the creative economy as well.
Now we’re seeing the emergence of a primarily bottom-up model where users themselves will set and govern the rules, and the reward systems are to designed to promote the creation of better content.
The creation and continued growth of the creator economy not only shows us society’s primal need for creative exploration and appreciation. It also reveals that creativity is a key element in our everyday lives. And when we give creatives the freedom to own and actively participate in the economy, we empower them to create more, to connect with others more, and to enrich our lives more. And in the end, isn’t that more authentic?