Charli D’Amelio is a TikTok creator that reach 100 million followers. She’s also the first from a distance — only two other content creators to score 50 million. On TikTok, that makes her twice as big as Will Smith, three times bigger than The Rock, four times bigger than Selena Gomez, and five times bigger than Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande.
It also means she’s hit 100 million subscribers in no time. On YouTube, it took 14 years before any channel hit 100 million. D’Amelio only started posting to TikTok in May 2019, and the app has only been available (with current branding, at least) since August 2018.
It’s a huge achievement for her and the app, but it’s also happening at a time when Charli and her family are increasingly trying to surpass TikTok. The last few months have seen podcast launches, further expansion to YouTube, book deal announcements, and more.
Content creators often branch off to other social networks and more traditional media formats once they have found success on one platform. Allows them to expand their reach, talk to fans in more places, and provide some insurance if one platform makes a change that hurts their ability to thrive. YouTube’s creators, for example, have seen algorithmic changes come and go that seem to prioritize and then remove the emphasis on specific video genres.
- YouTube will run ads on some of the creators’ videos but won’t provide them any revenue
- Twitch is testing ‘multiplayer ads’ that content creators can use to make money
- YouTube AI test Bad Guy with endless Billie Eilish mashups
Too, every time has to do with their ability to make money. TikTok has started offering payments to creators, but creators have been disappointed with the returns. Nor can creators broadly sell merchandise directly from the app. That means the two main ways TikTok stars can make money is by recording native ads or leaving the app for opportunities elsewhere.
The D’Amelio crew quickly built a media ecosystem around not only Charli but the entire family. Dixie, Charli’s sister, released a debut single in June, which jumped onto the Billboard Emerging Artists chart. (To date, the song’s music video has over 92 million views on YouTube alone). The sisters have started a podcast together, and the two have experimented with traditional YouTube formats (“My Slime Review,” “I went surfing with Casey Neistat,” “I Tried These Snacks For The First Time”) to build a following there as well. Charli is also working on a book that will be released next month.
Heidi and Marc, their parents, have started building audiences too. They each have their own TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, and they stand out prominently on the “D’Amelio Family” account on the same platform. Perhaps the biggest sign of their success as a family is, when Triller signed a deal for Charli to start posting to her platform, it took the whole family with her.
This time last year, Charli had around 6 million followers on TikTok. In the years since then, she and TikTok have seen strong advances — but TikTok also faces a barrage of political concerns that question its future. It looks like TikTok will eventually make it — but if the platform starts to falter, Charli and her family have secured plenty of other places to visit.