A group of specialists from the HSE Institute for Cultural Studies, Vitaly Kurennoy, Alexander Suvalko and Maria Figura, have determined two main trends that are actively shaping the image of the creative economy and culture in 2021-2023: the creator economy and the maker economy.
The study was implemented as part of of the strategic project 'National Centre of Science, Technology and Socio-Economic Foresight', within the HSE University’s ‘Priority-2030’ programme.
The creator economy, also known as the passion economy, is the most powerful and fastest growing sector of the creative economy. This trend is associated with the active development of non-professional or semi-professional creative activity in the field of amateur content production on global digital platforms and social networks.
Intangible goods are central to the passion economy, while the personality of the creator is the key asset. From bloggers and video creators to course designers and streamers, this diverse sector attracts millions of creative minds. It is expected that by 2027 the volume of the creator economy will reach $480 billion, continuing to grow at an average annual rate of 10-20%.
The ratio between creators who monetise their activities and those who create for free is approximately equal (48 and 52%, respectively).
The maker economy, on the other hand, complements the trend of the creator economy. It is associated with the revival of crafts and the spread of the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture. This trend is determined by neo-craftivism and the philosophy of a slow lifestyle, emphasising the importance of manual work and the rejection of the capitalist maxim of profit.
Unlike the creator economy, which is focused on digital products and services, the maker economy is focused on the production of physical goods.
One of the main trends in modern culture has become the penetration of the digital world into our physical reality. Augmented reality technologies and digital means of communication have become an integral part of everyday life, moving communities into an online environment and providing new ways for them to represent themselves. However, in parallel, the phenomenon of screen fatigue can be observed, which in turn stimulates a growing interest in analogue entertainment, including the return of board games and other analogue forms of entertainment.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, zoomers are not the leaders in the monetised creator economy (13%). Their share in it is even slightly lower than that of boomers and older people (14%), while millennials are the leading generation (41%).
By analysing meaningful trends highlighted in the forecasts of 2023, experts have determined two cultural turns:
Nostalgic cultural consumption. This non-obvious trend is associated with the growing interest of consumers in old films, music and style of the 1980s. The influence of this trend intensified during the pandemic, when more than half of listeners began to prefer older songs, and, for example, ‘Friends’, a popular TV sitcom from the late 1990s, became one of the most watched programmes on Netflix.
The global spread of the ‘Korean wave’. A powerful cultural impulse is coming from South Korea, including the beauty industry, K-pop with bands such as BTS and BLACKPINK, as well as Korean TV series. Netflix has signed an agreement to release more than 40 upcoming Korean films. Korean virtual influencers and their unusual shows, such as ‘mokpan’ or ‘mukbang’ (eating a lot of food on camera), which reflect the peculiarities of the disintegration of traditional Korean culture provoke particular interest.
However, these fashionable whims cannot change the key trends. There is an active process of creativity democratisation in which amateurs, rather than professional creators, come to the fore and for whom monetisation of their creativity is only a side effect of their hobbies. The capabilities of neural networks, interest in which has been growing explosively since the end of 2022, will have an increasing impact on a variety of areas of creative production. The penetration of digital reality into the world around us is taking place in an increasing number of directions. However, this generates a reverse compensatory reaction: there is a growing demand for the material uniqueness of objects, craft products and the authenticity of the experience and ‘analogue’ communication.