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Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Venture capitalists are plowing money into startups that help content creators to directly monetize their work.

Driving the news: Patreon, a platform that connects creators with fans, today will announce $155 million in fresh funding at a $4 billion valuation.

  • Audio platform Clubhouse, which just launched a payments feature for creators, reportedly is raising new money at a $4 billion valuation.
  • Last week: Newsletter platform Substack snared $65 million at a $650 million valuation, celeb messaging app Cameo added $100 million at a valuation north of $1 billion and music distribution startup UnitedMasters secured $50 million in an Apple-led round.
  • Roblox, which paid more than $300 million to game creators last year, in January raised $520 million from VCs before going public.

Many of these platforms are seeking to both disintermediate and become the new intermediaries.

  • One loser in this new paradigm is the digital advertising model.
  • Marc Andreessen, whose venture capital firm has backed both Clubhouse and Substack, has argued that the internet is in a "third wave" of content monetization, where direct-to-creator spend will dominate.

The bottom line: This trend is only accelerating, including into burgeoning areas like NFTs. The more money that goes in, the more that may go out to creators.

Go deeper

Clubhouse teams up with Stripe for payments feature

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Clubhouse is rolling out the ability to send payments directly to other users, partnering with digital payment company Stripe to facilitate the feature.

Why it matters: Clubhouse has touted plans to help conversation hosts generate revenue on the app amid a growing push for creators of digital and social media content be better compensated. Hosts receiving money will get to keep the entire amount for now.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 7 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.