Famous YouTube stars are barely scraping by


#1

[Read the post]


#2

So when everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, no one makes any money.


#3

“My Instagram account has 340,000 followers, but I’ve never made $340,000 in my life collectively.”

I feel your pain…


#4

27 yrs old - so say five years out of college. $340,000, approx. makes $60,000+/yr. Doesn’t sound like “scraping by” to me.


#5

It’s a bad feeling, to work your ass off in a business that’s not making any money. I’ve done that. The worst part is the supportive friends cheering, “You can do it! Never give up!” I had a dozen of those friends but these poor characters have thousands.

Pro tip: if you can’t pay for groceries, you’re doing the wrong work.


#6

Gee, maybe “followings” are a waste of time and effort. I am tired of people who need to be bribed into social activity, as if they had something better to do.


#7

that is literally why i ‘sold out’. music or computers? fuckit it, why not both?


#8

But she’s in L.A., because you can’t make videos in St. Louis, Detroit, or Cleveland. It’s a pity she’s FORCED to live in a location where a bagel sets you back, what, $5 as opposed to 50 cents?


#9

Not everyone gets to be PewDiePie and the expectation that you can turn a heavy social media presence into a profession is hilarious to me. I can’t be the only person who see a logical flaw in “Where’s my money? I have 300,000 Instagram followers.”


#10

I thought that this is what’s supposed to happen in Capitalism? Some businesses fail.


#11

I haven’t had a giant Instagram following, but back in the day of discussion boards, I ran a very popular discussion board. I did expect some kind of pay out from it that never arose.

There’s a lot I’m learning from that experience now, which is first that it’s not really about the 340,000 people who visit your thing, but the 100 or so you live there. Get their names and figure out how to get those people to help you turn your venture into a business.

The other is that you do need to come up with a plan for how you will make money. The ad revenue is not going to do it. You have eyeballs, so you have to figure out how to get some of those eyeballs to paid content.


#12

That’s really smart. (But pretty vague.)

I’ve heard it said most restaurants fail within three months because the owners think like chefs, not like business owners.


#13

Yeah, right now I’m in business school and I’m learning about how to finally make money off this thing that I’ve spent my life doing for free. The good news is, from my discussion board moderating I have the most incredible contact list that I figuring out is really my business. I also have a reputation, which makes it possible for me to do some more high end stuff. The bad news is, it’s hard to figure out real dollars to put to things for my business plan.


#14

Isn’t this exactly what Patreon is for?


#15

Working hard and barely scraping by sucks, but it’s hardly a rare problem. I feel a lot more for people in that situation who are doing things like educating our children, caring for our elderly, etc., but not so much for twenty-somethings in L.A. who make comedy videos.

On the other hand, I really do feel for my 30-something friend who spends 12-16 hours a day literally trying to cure cancer while living off the very meager stipend as a post-doc.

I almost don’t even want to live in a world where “Go make funny videos for youtube” actually is sound financial advice. I don’t think it’d necessarily say anything good about our priorities as a society (not that the Kardashian-Jenner model has me loving the modern world either).


#16

I would love to have a successful YouTube Channel in my spare time. Trouble is that I’ve edited video before. Five minutes of video needs at least fifteen minutes of editing, and that scales up pretty well. I couldn’t do it in my spare time. This is the reality of production, and once you’re on the content hamster-wheel you can never get off. If you’re someone playing a sociological angle like thunderf00t, people will throw money at you for being a GamerGate true believer. But things that are pure entertainment are going to have a harder time convincing people to throw money their way.


#17

Oh no! What a shame you can’t financially benefit from projecting a meaningless facade as efficiently as you’d like!


#18

actually I don’t think I would want to make $340,000 collectively, I would prefer to do it singly. I guess I’m just an asocial loner.


#19

Back in the day when I was in entertainment, my friends all accused me of being a sellout as well. Art or food? Hmmm…I think I’ll take food thank you. There were genres I’d have liked to have been in, but selling 20k albums when you have to split this (at least) three ways wasn’t going to cut it. I’d rather be an anonymous cog in a wheel where I could live comfortably.

In the end, you do what it takes to survive, and if surviving requires coming up with a different business model, you come up with a different business model.


#20

yeah. i’m really finding it hard to be empathetic, when i sometimes make povery-level income as a freelancer and i still manage to buy groceries without 300,000 social media followers of any sort.