Charli D’Amelio is the first TikTok creator to reach 100 million followers. It is also the first of some distance: only two other creators have grossed 50 million. On TikTok, this makes her more than twice the size of Will Smith, three times the size of The Rock, four times the size of Selena Gomez and five times the size of Kylie Jenner and Ariana Grande.
It also means it has reached 100 million subscribers in record time. On YouTube, it took 14 years for a channel to hit 100 million. D’Amelio only started publishing on TikTok in May 2019, and the app has only been available (under his current branding, at least) since August 2018.
It’s a milestone for both her and the app, but it also comes at a time when Charli – and her family – are increasingly looking to go beyond TikTok. The past few months have seen the launch of a podcast, further expansion on YouTube, the announcement of a book deal, and more.
Creators often expand to other social networks and more traditional media formats once they have found success on one platform. It allows them to broaden their reach, talk to fans in more places, and provide a certain amount of assurance in case a platform makes a change that hurts their ability to thrive. YouTube creators, for example, have seen algorithm changes that appear to prioritize and later belittle certain genres of videos.
It also often has to do with their ability to make money. TikTok began offering payments to creators, but creators were disappointed with the returns. Additionally, creators don’t have the ability to sell merchandise directly from the app. This means that the two main ways TikTok stars can make money are by posting native ads or by leaving the app for opportunities elsewhere.
The D’Amelio troupe was quick to build a media ecosystem around not just Charli, but the whole family. Dixie, Charli’s sister, released a debut single in June that quickly jumped on Scoreboardthe ranking of emerging artists. (To date, the song’s music video has more than 92 million plays on YouTube alone.) The sisters started a podcast together and both experimented with traditional YouTube formats (“My Slime Review”, “I went surfing with Casey Neistat”, “I tried these snacks for the first time”) to build followers over there as well. . Charli is also working on a book due out next month.
Heidi and Marc, their parents, also started building an audience. Each of them has their own TikTok, Instagram and Twitter accounts and they are featured in the “D’Amelio Family” accounts on those same platforms. Perhaps the biggest sign of their success as a family is that when Triller signed a deal for Charli to start posting on his platform, he took the entire family with him.
By this time last year, Charli had around 6 million followers on TikTok. Over the next year, both she and TikTok saw a skyrocketing rise, but TikTok also faced a flurry of political concerns that questioned its future. It looks like TikTok will eventually make it, but if the platform starts to falter, Charli and his family have already secured plenty more places to go.