We review the economics of superstars, originally developed for stars in traditional media, and discuss whether they are applicable for the (allegedly) novel phenomenon of stars in social media (influencer, micro-celebrities). Moreover, we analyse potentially new factors for creating social media superstardom that may be special to the nature of social media. Our overall result is that the economics of superstars, like the role of talent, market concentration effects, MacDonald-style and Adler-style effects, remain applicable and relevant for social media stars. In line with this assessment, we find that several (allegedly) new star factors in social media, like user-generated content, prosumption, disappearance of gatekeepers and authenticity, turn out to be only partly applicable or just slightly different to traditional concepts. However, algorithm management and upload strategies represent novel success factors relevant for social media superstardom that are not captured by traditional superstar theories.
social media digital media popularity superstars cultural economics media economics influencer micro-celebrities creators user-generated content prosumer algorithm management YouTube Instagram entertainment markets