Created Briefs: January 28, 2022

TikTok influencers are upset over creator funds, YouTube and Reddit getting into NFTs, and we talk to Koji's CEO about its new $20 million fundraising round.

Created Briefs: January 28, 2022
Watch "Created Briefs" every Friday at 8:00 a.m. PT to hear analysis on the latest creator news.

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This Week's Creator News

Twitter Testing Flock, A Close Friends Feature You Can Share Tweets With

Twitter is working on a feature similar to Instagram's Close Friends allowing you to share tweets to up to 150 people. Those chosen to be a part of this private group would be alerted that a tweet has been shared with all members and denoted with a marker. It was formerly called "Trusted Friends" but now has been rebranded to "Flock."

Twitter Experiments with a New ‘Flocks’ Option for More Enclosed Tweet Sharing
The option would provide another way to control who can see and engage with your tweets.

Spotify Integrates Stripe to Help Creators Monetize Subscriptions

Spotify is adding Stripe integration into its Podcast Subscriptions feature to allow artists to better monetize their work, accept payments and earn recurring revenue. While this is good for the music streaming service, the real benefit is to Stripe as it's built up a healthy ecosystem of platforms useful for creators — those on 50 powered platforms have earned close to $10 billion, according to Stripe.

Stripe, Spotify Team on Subscription Monetization
Global payments processing firm Stripe is partnering with Spotify to help creators monetize subscriptions, accept payments and launch recurring revenue streams.

Substack Testing Native Video Player

Substack started off with newsletters, then moved into podcasting. Soon it will launch a native video player. Creators will be able to either directly upload videos record them onto a Substack post. Such content can be viewed by everyone or those with paid subscriptions. Videos will only be playable online. If they're in an email, it will be a clickable image with links to the video.

Exclusive: Substack adding video to lure new creators
The move comes as Big Tech platforms muscle in on the creator economy.

Jellysmack Spending $500 Million to Buy Creators' YouTube Catalogs

The creator startup is buying licensing rights to old catalogs of videos from influencers in the hope of monetizing them for the future. Jellysmack will use its algorithm to identify which evergreen video content is worth purchasing before paying creators an upfront sum based on what it believes the libraries are worth. Payments could be between $50,000 and $50 million.

Why creator startup Jellysmack is setting aside $500 million to buy up old YouTube videos from influencers
Creator economy company Jellysmack plans to shell out up to $500 million in the coming years to buy the rights to YouTubers’ back catalog videos.

Koji Raises $20 Million For Its Creator Economy App Store

Dmitry Shapiro, the CEO of Koji, was the second guest on "The Created Economy" and explained what his company does. He returns on this episode to give more insight into Koji's latest fundraising round. This week it announced a $20 million Series B investment, led by Jump Capital and participation from HBSE Ventures and Electric Feel Ventures.

Koji plans to use the new funding to grow its team and says it has plans to build Web3 products. It already has a set of apps targeting NFTs.

The company counts more than 150,000 creators on its platform, up from 70,000 in September. Its Creator Economy app store has more than 200 mini apps including those from Patreon, Fanfix and Subtext.

Koji, the Creator Economy’s App Store, Raises $20 Million from Jump Capital
Koji, a startup that hosts a virtual store for apps used by creators, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Jump Capital. New investors include HBSE Ventures and Electric Feel Ventures, a venture firm set up by rapper Post Malone’s managers.The San Diego-based startup offers what’s ...

'A Result of Apple's B.S.:' Fanhouse Introduces 50 Percent Surcharge on iOS In-App Purchases

Last summer, Fanhouse publicly complained about Apple's tax on in-app payments, arguing that the App Store owner's 30 percent cut hurts individual creators. On Wednesday, Fanhouse announced that it would introduce in-app purchases to its iOS app along with a 50 percent surcharge. Co-founder Rosie Nguyen explained on Twitter that the changes were "a result of Apple's B.S."

The aim of the new surcharge is believed to discourage users from making purchases directly from the iOS app, directing them to buy from Fanhouse's website instead.

Fanhouse adds a 50 percent surcharge to in-app purchases to cover Apple tax
Fanhouse tried to push back against Apple’s fees last year.

TikTok Creators Upset About Low Payouts For Massive Views

Vlogger Hank Green created waves this week by publishing a YouTube video calling out TikTok, saying the payouts from the creator fund was disproportional to the views his video earned. His criticism was echoed by MrBeast, Safwan AhmedMia, Beau Brown and others.

Funds like TikToks are made to incentivize creators to produce content for these platforms. But the rewards don't always match up with the efforts. While TikTok, Snap, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all have similar offerings, none appear to pay out more than YouTube.

Related reading:

TikTok Creators Air Grievance Over Fund Payouts
TikTok has long been cloudy about how the money in its $1 billion Creator Fund, announced July 2020, is distributed. Some creators have told us they generate meager earnings through the fund, despite accumulating millions of views on the app.In recent days, they’ve used their social media ...

YouTube CEO: More Than '5 Trillion All Time Views' For Shorts

In her annual letter to the community, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki shared that 2022's focus will be on Shorts. "More people are creating content on YouTube than ever before," she says. "We’re seeing momentum across the platform, including on Shorts." Updates that YouTube will work on are how to make Shorts more discoverable and offer creators ways to edit and remix content.

Staggering YouTube Shorts viewer numbers dominate latest YouTube CEO letter to community
Oh, and she also mentioned NFTs.

YouTube Considering Adding NFT Support?

Another tidbit in Susan Wojcicki's letter to the YouTube community was acknowledgment of NFTs. She stopped short of saying the company would offer support for these digital artworks, but said, "We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube.”

The discussion about NFTs comes as Twitter recently announced such support through its Twitter Blue subscription service.

YouTube is considering NFTs, CEO’s letter suggests – TechCrunch
In a letter published today by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, the executive suggests the video-sharing platform may embrace Web3 technologies, including NFTs — or non-fungible tokens, a way to certify digital assets stored on the blockchain — as a means of helping YouTube creators make mon…

Reddit Says It's Testing NFT Support for Profile Pictures, Just Like Twitter

Reddit profile pictures could soon be NFTs. The online forum is testing a feature similar to Twitter, but cautioned that the test is in very early stages and hasn't been made available to the public. Reddit does have its own Ethereum-based NFT called "CryptoSnoos."

Reddit tests allowing users to set any NFT as their profile picture, similar to Twitter – TechCrunch
Reddit is testing a feature that would allow its users to set any NFT they own as their profile picture — not only its own Ethereum-based NFTs, called “CryptoSnoos,” released in limited quantities last year. A similar feature allowing users to set their NFTs as profile pictures re…

OpenSea Could Soon Add Solana NFTs

Leaked information suggests OpenSea could soon support the Solana cryptocurrency wallet and its blockchain. OpenSea claimed the news was "old speculation."

OpenSea Is Adding Solana NFTs, Phantom Wallet Support: Leaked Images - Decrypt
Solana NFTs may soon be coming to the leading Ethereum marketplace OpenSea if leaked screenshots are any indication.