MIDiA 2022 predictions: the year of the creator

With 2021 almost behind us, and 2022 just around the corner, it’s the year of the MIDiA forecast report. We’ve been posting our prediction reports since 2016, and aside from being a lot of fun to do, we’ve also had a pretty good track record of success. We had an 84% success rate for our report 2021, and Facebook’s transformation into Meta certainly played a role in the title of the report: The year of the immersive web. The full 29 page report is available exclusively for MIDiA customers here. But, like every year, here are some of the high profile highlights to help you get a feel for what 2022 could bring.

In addition to the prediction sets for music, video, games, and sports, the report features the ten cultural meta trends and trends that will shape 2022.

  1. The year of the creator: all eyes are now on the economy of creators
  2. Hybrid Futures: the growth of AR and mixed IRL / URL experiences
  3. Reasons, not means, to devote attention: the competition for time intensifies
  4. The metaverse is getting closer to prime time: the push beyond games
  5. NFT grows, but meets exaggerated expectations: arrow and backlash
  6. Competition asymmetry: big tech will dig a protective moat
  7. Bend over: fans lean forward, creating their own fan content
  8. The pay revolution: creators need compensation, not monetization
  9. The whole world is a game: everything we do becomes gamified, even if we don’t realize it
  10. The internationalization of culture: Money Heist, BTS and Squid Game are the beginning, not the end, of the trend

I’ll dive into two of them here.

The year of the creator

2021 has been a great year for content creators, fueled by the increasing accessibility of quality production tools and the fragmentation of consumption. 2022 will be even bigger. From social video to game streamers to independent artists, 2022 will be the Year of the Creator. But there will also be a growing need for a duty of vigilance on the part of platforms towards their creators. Platform business models operate by accumulating income from a large number of smaller contributing parties, which in turn contribute little individually, but form a majority as a whole. Creator platforms (from Splice to YouTube and TikTok) are no different. The upshot is that creator platforms can thrive even when the majority of their contributors don’t. Of course, the majority of creators will never be big, but the essence of the new designer economy is that success no longer has a fixed definition. The burden of designer platforms is to set realistic expectations for creators – not to exaggerate a dream, but rather to enable every creator to realize their potential, whatever they may be. Creator platforms need to think of their creators not as wheat to be harvested, but as flowers to be nourished.

Bend over

Prior to the digital age, content could only be passively consumed in a one-way flow from the distributor, through a designated channel, to a listener, viewer, or player consuming alone in a limited number of contexts. This one-sided style is “lean-back”. Digital has sparked ‘learning’ behavior, where consumers can interact with content by multitasking: socializing with friends online, pursuing the franchise, or following other forms of the same IP. From now on, the creation tools invite a third method: “lean-out”. Consumers are now empowered to take the content they love and own it in new ways outside of immediate consumption, such as writing a fan musical on TikTok (e.g. Bridgerton), joining Discord servers , sampling for their own tracks, participating in an online debate (eg, “Did Karol Baskin kill her husband?”), playing chess (eg, The Queen’s Gambit), or simply creating and share memes. In 2022, this simplified form of consumption will become a distinction between content that is simply good and content that becomes culturally important.

As a reminder, the full report is available here.

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