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What’s the deal with the creator economy?

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A teenager presents a smartphone with the logo of Chinese social network Tik Tok.

Plenty of colleges have film departments already. Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

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By now you’ve heard the phrase creator economy. It includes everyone from TikTok stars to Twitch streamers and adult-content creators on sites like OnlyFans.

According to one report, more than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators, and it’s become the fastest-growing type of small business.

“The influencer marketing industry is projected to be over a $20 billion business in the next couple years,” said Taylor Lorenz, who covers tech culture and online creators for the New York Times. 

“For so long, it was really, really, really hard to build tech products for influencers or creators … because tech executives and tech investors really thought of it as a niche market. Now, obviously, there’s so many creators, the pandemic kind of pushed everyone online and the industry is, you know, reaches a sort of a maturation point where it makes a lot of money. And so you see the Silicon Valley investors kind of rushing in.”

Lorenz has been writing about the creator economy since the early aughts, and she’s writing a book on it called, “Extremely Online: The Rise of the Online Creator and Creation of a New American Dream.” 

Today, we’re doing the numbers on the creator economy and discussing how it’s not only changing the business world, but also changing how people think about democracy, misinformation, the anti-vaccination movement and, ultimately, whom people trust.

In the news fix, we’ll commiserate over airline customer service wait times, and is Kai a psychic? His “Jeopardy!” prediction comes true. Plus, we’ll hear from a listener who is the boss of multitasking, and another one calls in with a life update.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week, we’re explaining libraries, vaccines and Dolly Parton. You can hear all our explainers here. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Read the transcript here.

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