Charli D’Amelio is the first TikTok creator to reach 100 million subscribers. She is also the first by far – only two other creators have cracked 50 million. On TikTok, that 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 that it reached 100 million subscribers in record time. On YouTube, it took 14 years for a channel to reach 100 million. D’Amelio didn’t start posting on TikTok until May 2019, and the app has only been available (under its current brand, at least) since August 2018.
It’s a big milestone for her and for the app, but it also comes at a time when Charli – and her family – are increasingly trying to go beyond TikTok. The last few months have seen the launch of a podcast, another expansion on YouTube, the announcement of a book deal, and more.
Creators often branch out into other social networks and more traditional media formats once they find success on one platform. This allows them to expand their reach, speak to fans in more places, and provide some reassurance if a platform makes a change that hurts their ability to thrive. The creators of YouTube, for example, have seen algorithm changes come and go that seem to prioritize and later de-emphasize certain genres of video.
It also often has to do with their ability to make money. TikTok started offering payments to creators, but creators were disappointed with the returns. Creators also 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 recording native ads or leaving the app for opportunities elsewhere.
The D’Amelio team was quick to build a media ecosystem around not only Charli, but the whole family. Dixie, Charli’s sister, released a debut single in June that quickly jumped on BillboardTable of emerging artists. (As of this writing, the music video for the song has over 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 create followings. there as well. Charli is also working on a book that will be released next month.
Heidi and Marc, their parents, also began to build an following. They each have their own TikTok, Instagram and Twitter accounts, and they feature prominently on “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 brought the whole family with her.
This time last year, Charli had around 6 million subscribers on TikTok. In the year that followed, she and TikTok enjoyed a meteoric rise – but TikTok also faced a barrage of political concerns that called its future into question. It looks like TikTok will eventually succeed – but if the platform starts to falter, Charli and her family have already found plenty of other places to go.