Inaugural Study Finds Nearly 15 Million Americans Earning Billions in the New Creative Economy

Study highlights that economic impact is just “tip of the iceberg” with independent creators in every state

WASHINGTON – Today a new report released by the Re:Create Coalition finds that 14.8 million independent, American creators earned a baseline of almost $6 billion from posting their music, videos, art, crafts and other works online in 2016. The research is only a snapshot of the entire New Creative Economy, analyzing just some of the biggest online platforms: Amazon Publishing, eBay, Etsy, Instagram, Shapeways, Tumblr, Twitch, WordPress and YouTube.

“Before the internet, a creator was forced to rely on traditional gatekeepers like movie studios and the recording industry to be successful. Today, anyone with a creative idea and a wifi signal can be successful and make money on the internet, reaching millions of people around the globe almost instantly,” said Re:Create Executive Director Joshua Lamel. “This analysis is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the full economic impact of the New Creative Economy. However, its findings demonstrate that millions of Americans rely on the balanced copyright policies that support internet platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Etsy in order to earn billions of dollars from their creative work.”

“The development of this multi-million user network and multi-billion dollar ecosystem for independent new creators reflects the power of the internet. Even with these highly conservative estimates, this study demonstrates the economic power of the new creative economy and its enormous potential for continued growth,” said study author Dr. Robert Shapiro.

For each platform, only a single component of how users can earn income was studied, due to limited public data and insufficient information. Independent creators earn billions of dollars each year online through website ads, sponsorship/influencer compensation, social media traffic, direct sales and other methods, but this study analyzed only one revenue-sharing model per platform. Members of the New Creative Economy are located across the country in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

This first-of-its-kind analysis of the New Creative Economy was conducted by Dr. Robert Shapiro, Chairman of Sonecon and former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

For the full report, click here.

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