Reports Media & Marketing

Consumers as creators The artist / audience line is blurring

Report by Hanna Kahlert
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20,000 foot view:  The growing independent artists sector, the rise of user-generated content (UGC), and the proliferation of basic creator tools on social platforms are all interlinked parts of the same cultural trend: creativity as a product. Enabled by intuitive creative tools, platforms to share on, and direct, easy ways to engage with creators, the barrier between artist and audience has been dramatically lowered. This is the basis of the creator economy.

Key insights 

  • The release            iMovie in 1999 and GarageBand            2004 took digital entertainment creation            the hands of professionals and            into the hands of consumers
  • A wave            consumer platforms followed, transforming entertainment            pure consumption to something with            to interact, and entirely consumer            This is the origin of            consumption
  • The recent            of accessible creator tools made            even easier to learn, create,            collaborate, and share at any            level, amongst any audience –            or mainstream
  • The evolving            between social platforms and creator            is now acting as the            of the funnel for audiences            engage in creative behaviour
  • Platforms are            fostering community, consumption, and creative            to convert users, with consumers            to choose apps that better            their creativity
  • Viewing content            engaging still dominates social media                       of all consumers), but leaning            – e.g., likes, comments, shares            is catching up on           
  • While lean-through            is still niche at            posting            or photos            is the early            of how big the trend            be with the mainstreamification of           
  • What started            the niche opportunity afforded by            is now in the hands            any user with a smartphone            and it is only a            of time before they grow            to using it, changing their            for all entertainment propositions moving           

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Ableton, Adobe, Apple, BandLab, Bridgerton, Clubhouse, Discord, Facebook, GarageBand, Glee, Harry Potter, iMovie, Instagram, Logic Pro,, Netflix, OBS Studio, Premier Pro, Pro Tools, Reddit, Reels, Roblox, Shorts, Splice, TikTok, Twitch, Vine, Voisey, YouTube

Methodological note: 

  • MIDiA Research            lean back as passive consumption            watching live TV)
  • Lean-forward consumption            defined as on-demand consumption, with            further engagement (e.g., watching Netflix,            to music on Spotify)
  • Lean in            defined as interactive consumption (YouTube            comments, Facebook shares, etc.)
  • Finally, lean            is defined as creative behaviour            to consumption (creating replica and            user-generated content (UGC) for distribution            social apps)