The online creator economy provides income for at least 11 million Americans.

As advocates for creators’ rights, we know digital creators make enormous contributions to shaping culture and society, and deserve an equal playing field to earn from their work. The time has come to better understand the state of the digital creative economy, and for policymakers and industry leaders to pay attention. 

Online creators earned over $23 billion in 2020 by posting and selling their work on web platforms across seven sectors: video, music, podcasts, writing, crafts, art and design, and influencer marketing. Tech companies herald their platforms as a democratization of industries that, for centuries, were reigned by biased gatekeepers. Our findings cast doubt, however, on claims that these platforms have delivered true racial or gender pay equity to online creators. 

Our first-of-its-kind study reveals both progress and potential. In some sectors, earnings and representation gaps are narrower than in their traditional counterparts, and although most online creators earned less than $1000 in 2020, the vast number of income-earning creators shows their potential and value to our economy and culture.

Dive into the Executive Summary of our report, and Micro-Reports that closely examine each creative sector featured in our study. Follow us on Instagram to hear from creators themselves about their experiences and challenges navigating the digital creative economy. 

Executive Summary

Art & Design