From Makeup Tutorials to Live Streaming Video Games, How Life Online Pays Off

Instagram, YouTube, and other popular online platforms helped 17 million Americans earn a total of $6.8 billion in 2017, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by Re:Create Coaltion, an advocacy group for fair use and copyright law, looked at just how lucrative the new creative economy can be for the millions of people who have made content creation their full-time job or side hustle. The content creators earned the income through nine popular online platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, WordPress, and Twitch, according to the study.

More people than ever are making money off of their creative content, whether it’s through a YouTube channel or by live streaming themselves playing video games on Twitch. The study excluded celebrity creators, such as Kim Kardashian or Chrissy Teigen, and instead focused on everyday people who were able to build a following online. Researchers found that 2.4 million new content creators started earning money in 2017. Total earnings were up $1 billion over 2016, according to the study.

The biggest earnings increase came on Instagram, which netted influencers 49.5% more money than the previous year, according to the study. Twitch came in second with a 30% increase.

The bad news? Most content creators can’t quit their day jobs—yet. Less than 117,000 of the 17 million content creators earned more than $10,000 in 2017. Still, the supplemental income isn’t too shabby. After all, your mom never thought you would make a living off of playing video games.

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