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TikTok’s rising star doesn’t need to say a word

Are you watching Logan Paul box Floyd Mayweather this weekend? Speaking of knockout winners, did you catch that Etsy is buying fashion resale app, Depop, for $1.6 billion? The app is home to Gen-Z creators and is used by over 30m people. Today Max shows us one size does not, in fact, fit all with creators. Enjoy ✌🏻✌🏽.

In Today’s Issue 💬

→ Breaking Down Khaby Lame’s TikTok success

How Poparazzi turned hyping your friends into a business

Why one YouTuber is selling his earnings like music royalties

Khaby Lame’s Path to Fame

TikTok’s newest superstar gained 60+ million followers in one month

In the last 30 days, Khabane Lame, known by his TikTok username @khaby.lame, has become the fourth most-followed person on TikTok, behind Bella Poarch, Addison Rae, and Charli D’Amelio. The 21 year-old Senegalese national worked in a factory in Italy until blowing up online. After posting 90 videos in the last 30 days, he’s amassed 62m followers and ~800m likes. Khaby creates mainly reaction videos using TikTok’s stitch feature to parody some of the most overproduced social media trends. He’s on track to surpass Bella as the third most followed TikTok creator by the end of the weekend, and could surpass Charli as #1 by the end of the month.

So why are people loving Khaby?

  • A Universal Appeal → As Khaby himself puts it, his muted reactions help his videos speak a “global language.” Khaby parodies absurd viral content that appeals to a global audience. His reactions are like the TikTok version of America’s Funniest Home Videos - underproduced, unaffiliated, and easy for everyone to enjoy.

  • The Bottomless Well of Content → Khaby has an almost unlimited supply of ideas by using the platform's most viral videos as the basis for his content. Reaction-based content is also worth watching over and over, which is part of the reason Lame’s hashtag (#learnfromkhaby) already has over 2.5 billion views.

Our Take

Compared to the platform’s other top creators, a majority of whom are white Americans, Khaby breaks the mold of what it means to be big on TikTok. While it remains to be seen what kind of future reaction-based content can provide Khaby, the platform has already shown us that something as simple as dancing in your bedroom can lead to a massive creator career - so who’s to say comedy videos can’t do the same?

Poparazzi Goes #1 on the App Store

How one photo app turned hyping your friends into a hit product

Poparazzi, a new social photo app launched last week and holds the #1 spot on the App Store. Branded the “Anti Selfie Selfie Club,” the app only allows users to take pictures of other people by disabling the front-facing camera. Since its public launch last Monday, the app hasn’t left the Top 10 of Apple’s Photo & Video app store ratings, and has been downloaded over 200k times. The app’s successful debut was thanks in part to its TikTok pre-launch campaign, with the company’s profile already growing to over 16k followers and generating buzz from popular creator publications and investors.

But why is an app that just like Instagram’s tagged photos tab generating so much hype?

  • No Filters, No Problems → Much like social photo app Dispo, Poparazzi brands itself on living in the moment. It’s why the app doesn’t have follower counts, witty captions, complicated filters, or even a front facing camera. It just gives users a simple interface to snap pictures of their friends.

  • Friends First → With Poparazzi, the product prioritizes interaction and feels like a multi-player game. Everyone wants to be famous - this app forces friends to make each other famous.

Have you downloaded the app? Hit reply and let us know what you think of it!

Our Take 

With it’s snap-and-go product design, Poparazzi makes it easy for passive content consumers to become creators. The features create a truly social experience. And, growth hacks make users invite their friends. It’s easy to see why the app has gone viral. But as with all new fast-growing social apps like Dispo and Clubhouse, the question remains: is this a feature or an app?

Investing in CJ So Cool

Why the YouTuber is selling 35% of his earnings to grow his channel

Late last week, prank YouTuber CJ So Cool announced an auction for 35% of his monthly YouTube earnings in return for an investment of $500k. The deal is taking place via Royalty Exchange, a marketplace that allows creators to share future earnings for immediate investments, and will be capped at $55k in returns each month. The platform has previously sold a cut of the royalties for major artists like Slipknot and Rihanna, but CJ is the first YouTuber to put his channel up on the site.

But why is CJ looking to share the pie?

  • By the Numbers → In the last 12 months on YouTube, CJ earned nearly $500k. His channel has 8.7m subscribers, 2 billion channel views, and averages around 30m views a month. It can be hard to keep growing at a faster rate when you’re already so big. Selling his earnings will give him the push he needs to take the next step.

  • Go Big or Go Home → Some of the biggest creators are heavily investing in increased production value and quality for their content. By forgoing a little bit of money in the short-term, CJ can up his game to the level that he wants, without having to sign his channel away to a sponsor, network, or third party in the process.

Our Take 

While selling future royalties isn’t new to Hollywood or the music industry, we’ve never seen a YouTuber do it. By selling his future earnings via auction, CJ is one of the first to allow fans to invest in a creator like buying stocks in their favorite company. As the lines between celebrity and creator blurs, internet native superstars continue to redefine what it means grow an audience and earn a living as an entertainer. 

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