Why not be creative AND rich

For people working in the creative industries, there is this myth that we all don’t really care about money. We do what we do because we try to reach deeper goals than to become rich. But I think we need to stop our suspicion towards making big money.

This summer, HopperHQ – a website helping you to schedule your Instagramposts – presented a list of the celebrities and non-celebrities that earn the most money per post on the photo and video platform, based on HopperHQ’s own data.

Let’s start by stating that being on Instagram means contributing in a sense to the creative industries. Instagram can be considered a media company when we take in account the definition of that term by Thomas Hess in Bozena and Shaver (2014): “organizers of public, media-based communication”.

Now as Lampel (2000) suggests, there’s an ongoing tension in the creative industries between making creative content and being commercial. On Instagram, however, the border between being your true self and presenting a certain image of yourself is very thin. One could say that making media content on Instagram is always in a sense commercial, since you are trying to ‘sell’ a certain look to convince other people of you being on top of the world.

However, also real money is made by posting pretty pictures on the platform. HopperHQ’s list shows us Selena Gomez makes about half a million dollar per post. The biggest earning non-celebrity on Instagram is beauty blogger Huda Kattan, making about 18 thousand dollar per post.

Making media content just with the goal of making money is maybe an insult to traditional media workers, but it’s reality. As idealistic media critics we should not look down upon it by just calling it a tension. Instead, let’s see what’s in there for us.


Lampel, J., Lant, T. & Shamsie, J. Balancing act: learning from organizing practices in cultural industries. Organization Science 11(3) (2011), 263-269.

Mierzejewska, B. & Shaver, D. Key Changes Impacting Media Management Research. International Journal of Media Management 16 (2014), 47-54.

Leave a Reply