Apple’s fees may not be a huge burden to Green and other creators who earn a good living. But Jasmine Rice, a co-founder of a service called Fanhouse for people to subscribe to video creators, said that payments to Apple can amount to months of rent or other expenses for the vast majority of people hustling to earn income from their online work.
Fanhouse picked a public fight with Apple last year to pressure the company to change its fees for creators. Rice told me that her company tried to persuade Apple to waive its commissions or take its cut from the 10 percent commission that Fanhouse collects from creators rather than the full amount that fans pay. Apple said no, Rice said, and gave Fanhouse a six-month grace period to pay the full fees.
One thing that I’ve repeatedly heard from these online professionals is that Apple is standing in the way not only of creators’ earnings but also of promising ideas.
Li Jin, an investor in internet creator companies, said that she comes across business ideas that can’t get off the ground because Apple’s fees erode the profit potential.
“There are many mouths to feed, and the cut of in-app revenue is really, really high,” Jin said. (She wrote more about this topic last year.)
The internet economy and income potential for creators would be far smaller if Apple didn’t help make smartphones the most popular computer in history. But we are now seeing the norms and financial systems established in the early days of digital life at times holding back the internet of 2022.
Tomorrow in On Tech: how one online personality makes money from digital work a zillion different ways.