What’s going on in the world of content creators this week? Let’s look at some interesting stories hitting the creator economy, like TwitchCon returning to San Diego, Taylor Swift hitting a major milestone, and new regulations against Italian creators.
TwitchCon Returning To San Diego
TwitchCon — a celebration of all things Twitch and live streaming — is returning to San Diego from September 20th-22nd, 2024 after a one-year stint in Las Vegas In 2023. The massive convention began in San Francisco in 2015, with the addition of a European convention beginning in 2019.
The return to San Diego marks the fourth TwitchCon to happen in one of America’s convention capitals. Last year’s event in Las Vegas was the first outside the state of California. It was met with mixed reviews, with a significant number of attendees posting that while they enjoyed the event, they don’t want it to be in Las Vegas again. Some of the biggest factors included the limited walkability of Las Vegas and the higher cost of visiting the city. (While Las Vegas hosts a ton of conventions, a lot of them also attract a lot more people who travel on the company dime, whereas TwitchCon attracts a lot of people who foot their own bill).
The announcement comes only a week after Twitch also announced some major layoffs, cutting about one third of the company overall. And last month the company had a bit of an embarrassing snafu related to its nudity policy changes. In other words, it makes sense the company went ahead and spilled the beans on the good TwitchCon news.
Taylor Swift Hits 1 Billion In Less Than Two Weeks
Taylor Swift reportedly hit one billion streams on Spotify in just the first 12 days of 2024. Of course the only people who know the exact number of streams she’s had in that time period are Spotify and anybody who has access to her Spotify for Artists account, but it’s pretty believable.
Bad Bunny supposedly hit one billion streams in 21 days to begin 2023. Given Swift only seems to be getting more and more popular amid a global stadium tour, record-breaking concert film, and relationship dominating social media and sports headlines — well, one billion streams in such a short amount of time feels completely plausible.
What does this mean for everybody who isn’t Taylor Swift? Well, probably not much. But it’s a stark reminder of not only her popularity, but just how top-heavy the streaming world is. A report compiled by research firm Luminate and shared by Music Ally revealed more than 7.1 trillion streams last year. And Taylor Swift accounted for about 1 out of every 78 audio streams. Given the volume, it’s hard to imagine an equivalent in other sectors of the entertainment industry.
Italian Influencers Will Soon Have Much Tighter Regulations
Content creators and influencers in Italy may soon be bound by the same regulations as traditional media outlets, particularly when it comes to sponsored content. According to BBC News, the new rules will initially apply to creators with more than one million followers and will result in serious fines if a creator fails to disclose any promotional content or “commercial interests.”
The new rules come as influencer activities now fall under the authority of the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM). ”The Wild West of influencers is over,” AGCOM head Giacomo Lasorella said in La Repubblica. ”We are starting with the big ones, but other influencers will also have to adapt.”
While the specifics aren’t clear just yet, fines could reach as high as a quarter of a million Euros for failing to disclose commercial interests or relationships.
It’s a tricky spot, especially given influencers haven’t typically been given the same protections as traditional media outlets. Most influencers don’t control the means of their content distribution — that’s up to social media platforms. At the same time, those platforms have fought very hard to not be considered “publishers” so that they don’t have liability for particularly harmful or erroneous content. And there are plenty of creators who may do a collaboration with a brand for nothing more than free products or a few hundred dollars.
And what exactly constitutes a “commercial interest” is up for debate. But Italy isn’t the first country to impose such harsh fines or guidelines. France recently announced influencers could face jail time if they violate new advertising laws in the country. It was the first time the role of “influencer” was legally referenced in the country.
One can only hope that these countries will also look to provide more protections for these content creators as they also crack down on the commercialization of their content.