New Hires, Clubhouse Clones & Streaming Talent
Spotify & Facebook enter live audio space & streaming gets some changes & talent
Welcome to the The Midweek Creator Roundup!
This is the Wednesday edition of Creator’s Digest mainly focused on creator news.
In addition to this edition, I also write a deep dive on a single creator that goes out on Sundays. I’ve written about Emma Chamberlain, a TikTok talking dog named Bunny, Liza Koshy and more. Subscribe below to get that edition straight to your inbox:
With that, let’s just jump into it!
New Hires Across the Creator Economy
Substack goes pro with comics
Substack hired Nick Spencer, an experienced comic book writer behind “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “Captain America”. Substack Pro has launched and the company hopes Nick can help bring a wave of comic writers to Substack to keep interest afloat and more people on the platform.
Snap goes fashion-forward
Snap hires Rajni Jacques as new head of fashion and beauty partnerships. Snap has slowly been making strategic moves and hires to compete with TikTok in creator partnerships. Last week, they hired Varshini Sheth & Sam Carrao Clanon to head up partnerships and content strategy respectively. Jacques previously worked at CondeNast’s Teen Vogue and Allure before that - she brings a wealth of fashion knowledge and connections to Snap.
WME signs another Clubhouse star
WME signs Nait Jones to their Clubhouse roster of talent. Jones is a partner at VC firm a16z but his talents outside of VC are in running The Speakeasy, the hottest nightclub on Clubhouse. With over 4M on the Clubhouse platform, Nait is one of the most followed people on the app and he’s interviewed heavyweights like MC Hammer, RZA, Deepak Chopra and Wesley “I’m getting too old for this s***” Snipes. This is WME’s 2nd signing from Clubhouse. Back in April, WME signed the NYU Girls to their roster from Clubhouse, a collective of 8 mid-20 year old girls who roast tech bros and host a live bachelor type of room where listeners “shoot their shot”.
FaZe Clan answers the call of duty
Esports org FaZe Clan signs Kalei Renay to their team. FaZe made news for two big things this week, the first was for being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first time an Esports organization has ever been on the cover of the magazine. The second is for signing Kalei Renay who now goes by FaZe Kalei to their roster of talent. Their talent list includes an insane amount of people including FaZe athletes Bronny James (son of LeBron James) and quarterback for my hometown team Arizona Cardinals, Kyler Murray. Renay has 388K followers on Twitch and joins their Call of Duty team.
Now onto the latest news
Spotify makes three major announcements
The streaming giant launched their clubhouse clone, Greenroom. Greenroom looks quite similar to Clubhouse and works in a similar fashion. Back in March 2021, Spotify acquired upstart Locker Room for an undisclosed amount. Locker Room was Clubhouse for sports talk. Many people used it to talk about the NBA, NFL, NHL and more. At the time, Betty Labs (the makers of Locker Room) had raised about $9M dollars before the acquisition. Greenroom gives users the ability to have live conversations much like Clubhouse, only time will tell if this actually gets users to get away from Clubhouse and use Spotify more.
Second, Spotify launched a Creator Fund supporting the launch of Green Room. Creator Funds are now on almost every platform from Facebook to TikTok to YouTube. They’re the way a company supporters their creators directly. The best part is that it gives the power back to the creators. Want to get paid more for your content? Create your content on our platform vs. elsewhere. However, the next wave of creators (and some now) will look to Creator Funds as multiple income streams for the same content. For example, if you create a great room on Clubhouse and are streaming to that service, why not stream to Green Room simultaneously to get paid by that platform and maybe on YouTube to get paid by that platform for live content. The creator funds are emerging and every platform is trying to solidify which creators they can get to theirs.
Third, Alex Cooper, host of the Call Her Daddy podcast signed an exclusive $60M/3 year deal with Spotify. You read that right. Alex Cooper and Sofia Franklyn launched Call Her Daddy back in 2018, getting paid a reported $75K a year for the podcast by host company Barstool Sports. They covered sex, dating stories, their own lives and were a top 5 podcast in the world. In 2020, the podcast duo hit some rough waters as conversations about unfair compensation started with Barstool, specifically with the face of Barstool, Dave Portnoy. What happened next was Alex Cooper broke with Sofia and Cooper retained the Call Her Daddy podcast and became a solo host. After a few months of hiatus, Franklyn launched her own podcast called “Sofia with an F”. Alex Cooper continued Call Her Daddy loosely under Barstool and the podcast gained more popularity as Cooper’s unadulterated personality shined. Now she is leaving Barstool to sign exclusively with Spotify, the season finale of the most recent season was on May 19th. But fear not, Cooper (who goes by Father Cooper on her podcast) just released the first episode of the new season exclusively on Spotify.
One final note: Spotify is betting big on a few big shows to be Spotify exclusive. They signed Joe Rogan to a $100M deal with no length reported back in May 2020. Rogan has an almost 11 year library of content that comes over to Spotify with him. The main takeaways here are: Podcasting is worth a lot if you are in the top 1% of podcasts. Rogan & Cooper are the biggest signings by Spotify so far. In January 2021, it was reported the Spotify had spent $1B dollars on podcast-related acquisitions collectively in 2019 & 2020.
Facebook launches Clubhouse clone, Live Audio Rooms
Yesterday, Facebook publicly launched Live Audio Rooms. The event was hosted by Zuckerberg himself and Facebook executives talking in the room. Visually looking at the product, it’s almost identical to Clubhouse down to the rings around users and formatting. The main difference here is captions, something that Clubhouse strangely has yet to integrate to their platform. Twitter Spaces launched with captions making their rooms more accessible to those hard of hearing. Even Clubhouse users have spoken against the platform’s decision to not include captions and self-organized to inform the team that captions must be prioritized. One such user is Rachelle Dooley, a fantastic human being who happens to be deaf and is a great advocate for captions. Her club on Clubhouse is called Deafinitely Inclusivity and with almost 5K members, she’s a strong community voice for making Clubhouse more inclusive.
Disney+ changes release days to Wednesdays
There is a shift in the matrix of content streaming. A week ago, Disney+ premiered Loki on June 9th and the premiere of the new Marvel show became the platforms’s most watched series premiere. In an effort to keep the momentum, Disney+ is shifting all their new episode releases to Wednesday rather than the typical Friday for every other platform. The shift makes rational sense for three reasons:
Wednesdays have less competition in terms of evening programming. Many events happen on Friday or Sunday. Wednesdays are largely untouched.
No weekend competition with other streaming giants. Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, Apple TV+ drop new episodes of their shows on Fridays. The competition is fierce to fight for eyeballs.
This newsletter drops on Wednesdays. Ok this one is mostly joking, but I had a similar thought process on why I wanted to publish this newsletter on Wednesdays.
Expect an uptick in streaming platforms to try to own a release day much like cable companies still compete to own a day of programming.
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