As TikTok began to grow and solidify itself as a top social media platform – especially for influencers – alongside Instagram and YouTube, it seemed its only setback was that it didn’t pay creators. Unlike YouTube, which allows creators to monetize their channel and make money from advertising revenue after reaching 1000 subscribers and accruing at least 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months, TikTok creators’ only means to payment was through sponsorship deals.
In July, TikTok announced its Creator Fund, which would be used to “encourage those who dream of using their voices and creativity to spark inspirational careers” and reward TikTok users for “the passion and dedication put into inspiring, uplifting, and entertaining the TikTok community”.
At first, it was announced that the fund would dish out $200 million to a variety of creators, as long as they met the requirements: be 18 or over, have at least 10k followers and have accrued at least 10k video views in the last 30 days. Due to the incredible response and enthusiasm for the fund, TikTok has now promised to spend $1 billion on their creators in the US over the next three years, and more than double that globally.
Yesterday, the first wave of 19 creators who will be receiving the fund were announced. The line up includes some creators with a background in the online entertainment industry, like David Dobrik, who has amassed 20 million followers on the app. It also includes “classic TikTok success story,” Brittany Tomlinson, who managed to gain 5 million followers after a video of her trying kombucha for the first time went viral. And, of course, they included a dancer and choreographer in the mix (would it even be TikTok without a viral dance?), Michael Le, who is known for creating original, viral choreography on the app.
It’s not clear how much creators will get paid or even how often the funds will be allocated – although The Verge reports that it will be an “ongoing payment system”. In-app applications for the Creator Fund will open mid-August, and, TikTok writes in yesterday’s announcement: “We invite you to turn your creativity into an opportunity to earn a livelihood, pursue another career, or simply, to be rewarded for doing what you love”.
This is a vital move for TikTok right now, as it strives to show its value to the United States and evade the executive ban which is set to commence on September 20th. “If TikTok can become a viable, economic platform for Americans, that’s another positive for the company’s presence in the United States,” remarks The Verge, and it’s true. If a potential deal with American-owned Microsoft or Twitter is to go ahead, and TikTok is to continue to grow in the West, TikTok must stake a claim in the national economy and prove its worth beyond mining data and entertaining Gen Zers.
If TikTok can do that, and win its forthcoming lawsuit with the Trump Administration, we might be able to see TikTok and its creators flourish, especially with the Creator Fund.