Who would not want that? Music legend Carlos Santana teaches you how to play the guitar, basketball god Steph Curry perfects the technique of the three-point throw, TV chef Gordon Ramsey reveals a secret recipe. Then the Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao sends a birthday greeting via video, and Snoop Dogg recommends that you don’t take life that seriously. In the evening you get behind-the-scenes pictures by artist Bella Thorne. What a day!
Isn’t it nice to be in direct contact with all the celebrities and to see content that not everyone gets – as if you were friends with them? This is the business idea of platforms such as Masterclass (celebrities hold courses), Cameo (personal greetings for birthdays or anniversaries) and Onlyfans. The latter is causing a stir and is therefore a lesson in how an idea is taken ad absurdum when the greed of the great becomes insatiable.
Onlyfans has been around since 2016. On the site, users can create subscription models for paying fans – for example, a hobby cook who publishes an exclusive recipe a week and receives five euros a month from her fans. At the beginning of the year, the American model Kahlen Ward, under the stage name “The Naked Philanthropist”, raised more than one million dollars for the fight against the forest fires in Australia by selling nude photos on the platform.
Thanks to the digital revolution, the creative process has been simplified so that anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection can create content. Success is someone who publishes things that as many people as possible want to see. During the pandemic, this offers all those who live from direct contact with customers the opportunity to build a relationship despite keeping their distance. Strippers and prostitutes, for example, can earn extra money despite the fact that the establishments are closed. For most of the almost 750,000 producers, it is not about content that is as unusual as possible – yes, there are lots of nude photos and also corresponding videos – but rather about exclusivity and the illusion of a private relationship.
Instagram influencers who were no longer able to publish travel pictures also post here
The platform retains 20 percent of the subscription fees, the producers receive 80 percent. But they say that this only makes up about 40 percent of their own income. The rest comes from tips and even more exclusive content. One of them is Erica North, who sells explicit pictures of herself. According to her own statements, she has made more than a quarter of a million dollars in the past year and a half. The key to success is the relationship with customers, says North. She is in constant contact with the subscribers, knows the birthdays or the names of their children. Onlyfans also became the point of contact for those Instagram influencers who, for example, could no longer publish travel pictures and changed their, well, picture portfolio a little.
So people don’t just buy photos or videos, they buy a glimpse that nobody else gets – just like in the analog era, a photo that someone gave you was an exclusive gift. Sure, some of the content on Onlyfans is more blatant than a pretty photo, and it’s not about friendship gifts, but about money – but so far there hasn’t been anything that couldn’t be found elsewhere. Until now.
Then the celebrities came.
Bella Thorne, who appeared in commercials as a baby and a star on Disney Channel as a teenager, broke a couple of records in August when she made more than $ 2.1 million in revenue in 24 hours with an announcement that she was going to post nude photos . As a result, the platform introduced a few restrictions, such as a maximum tip of $ 100 (previously $ 200), a maximum of $ 50 for pay-per-view offers (previously $ 200), and a maximum of $ 100 for private messages ( previously 200), as well as a delay in payment to 21 days from a week before. This angered all those who did not regard Onlyfans as an additional income or a gimmick, but had to live on every dollar of tip.
And that leads to one of the other aspects of the digital revolution, which is really noticeable during the corona pandemic: When the live music pub is closed, the artist can of course send a concert to all fans from home – But how big is the prospect of success if pop star Justin Bieber appears at the same time? Of course the punk band did The doctors advertised for help for artists in the Corona period when they appeared in the “Tagesthemen” – but also quickly advertised the new album that was released on that day.
Onlyfans is no longer a niche platform, the number of users is around 60 million. There is no longer just the stripper there, who otherwise has no income. No longer just the fitness guru flirting a bit. There are: actor Tyler Posey. Singer Aaron Carter. Rapper Tyga. And it’s like so often in life: One thing is only cool until mainstream celebrities find out about it and want to use it for their money storage.