Reports Media & Marketing

Consumers as creators The artist / audience line is blurring

Report by Hanna Kahlert
Cover image for Consumers as creators
Synopsis PDF PowerPoint Excel

Our clients have full access to all of our reports. Clients can log in to read this report. Click here to become a client or, you can purchase this individual report.

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 of iMovie in 1999 and GarageBand in 2004 took digital entertainment creation from the hands of professionals and aficionados into the hands of consumers
  • A wave of consumer platforms followed, transforming entertainment from pure consumption to something with which to interact, and entirely consumer generated. This is the origin of lean-through consumption
  • The recent explosion of accessible creator tools made it even easier to learn, create, edit, collaborate, and share at any skill level, amongst any audience – niche or mainstream
  • The evolving crossover between social platforms and creator tools is now acting as the edge of the funnel for audiences who engage in creative behaviour
  • Platforms are better fostering community, consumption, and creative inspiration to convert users, with consumers beginning to choose apps that better fuel their creativity
  • Viewing content without engaging still dominates social media behaviour        of all consumers), but leaning in – e.g., likes, comments, shares – is catching up on       
  • While lean-through creation is still niche at        posting statuses or photos        is the early indication of how big the trend can be with the mainstreamification of tools
  • What started with the niche opportunity afforded by YouTube is now in the hands of any user with a smartphone – and it is only a matter of time before they grow accustomed to using it, changing their expectations for all entertainment propositions moving forward

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 defines lean back as passive consumption (e.g., watching live TV)
  • Lean-forward consumption is defined as on-demand consumption, with no further engagement (e.g., watching Netflix, listening to music on Spotify)
  • Lean in is defined as interactive consumption (YouTube likes, comments, Facebook shares, etc.)
  • Finally, lean through is defined as creative behaviour adjacent to consumption (creating replica and interactive user-generated content (UGC) for distribution on social apps)

Unlock critical media insight and intelligence for competitive advantage

Our clients have full access to all of our reports. Become a Client

Already a client? Login to read this report

Or, purchase this individual report

Purchase this report