How to manage influencers on YouTube
Students publish research on influencer and artist management in the gaming industry
In the Creative Industries Management programme, we have visited Freaks4You Gaming in Berlin Spandau, one of the top players in the growing e-sports industry, in gaming and entertainment. They also worked for “Hand of Blood” one of the most famous German gamers. We have conducted several interviews with managers from the company to learn what it takes to manage “YouTubers”, also referred to as “talents” or “influencers” who work for Freaks4You Gaming. We have spoken to managers in the areas of human resources, marketing and general management of the company and have conducted two distinct interviews on the topic of influencer management.
Contrary to the widespread understanding of the artist as a lone genius, in today’s economy, an increasing number of creative and aesthetic processes are thoroughly planned, marketed and run and scholarly research has explored ways in which creative minds can be managed. Artist management involves “a manager who is a person who earns a living from helping artists build and maximise their careers”. Influencers or YouTubers also have managers responsible for marketing, financials, legal issues and the organization of their work-flow. Influencers’ work in the area of gaming requires a lot of time and broad range of work processes that cannot be executed by the influencer alone. Giving the increasing professionalization of this field and its growth and revenue potential, management also has gained relevance. For managers of artists and creative workers, it is common to receive far less attention than the glamorous star in the stage light but we have explored some structures behind the scenes.
A manager for influencers needs to fulfil a wide range of responsibilities: monitoring function, personal development, promoting professional exchange amongst other influencers for cross promotion and idea generation, providing the technological infrastructure, marketing management and fan management. Managers say that this particular industry allows you to do new things that may appear a little crazy or even “batshit insane” (“komplett bekloppte Sachen”) in videos. Managers also need to do some “parenting”, coaching young influencers to help them to comply with a corporate work environment, ensuring that they show up in the office despite working flexible hours, submit sick notes when ill and comply to all other administrative matters. This is only one example of many management areas that constantly emerge and develop in the creative industries. The full report can be found here soon: Publications and is published as Ditzel, S., Möller Palza, S. & Biehl, B. (2018) “Somebody has to organize their freedom”: Influencer and artist management in the gaming industry. In Kleiner, M., Welker. M. & Wünsch, U. (Hrsg). Atmosphären des Populären III. Perspektiven, Posen, Projekte, Performantes, Protokolle, Persönlichkeiten. Berlin: Gizeh.