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Is Cameo a Good Income Source for Entertainers?

Paola Bassanese is an author and freelance writer. She is interested in healthy living, work/life balance, and the performing arts.

Could filming short videos for fans be a good source of income for entertainers?

Could filming short videos for fans be a good source of income for entertainers?

Making Extra Money in Entertainment

Entertainers tend to be self-employed, often living project-to-project, making it difficult to have a stable and sustainable income. By "entertainers," I mean actors, singers, musicians, sports personalities, drag queens, and so on. Many in this field tend to have multiple sources of income, from merchandise and sponsorship deals to Patreon and other subscription services.

Are you an entertainer looking to make some extra money? Could Cameo be a good way to make some extra cash?

What Is Cameo?

Cameo is a relatively new platform for bespoke online greetings (see Forbes’ profile). These come in the form of short selfie videos from anyone who is anyone in their niche, including YouTubers.

Cameo is the brainchild of former Vine influencers (Vine was the short-lived 6-second video app within Twitter). One of the founders, known as Cody Ko on social media, is currently enjoying a 5 million following on YouTube.

Cameo started in 2017 but it was only after a series of successful investment rounds totaling more than $65 that the platform really emerged as a force to be reckoned with in 2019 (source: Crunchbase).

Do we live in a celebrity-obsessed society? Great, that can be monetized. While the term “celebrity” can be used loosely if you have a decent following the natural next step is to monetize it.

Prices range from $1 to $2,500 – at the time of writing Olympian, reality TV star, and LGBTQI+ campaigner Caitlyn Jenner is the most expensive celebrity to book at $2,500 per video (note that prices may vary). She is listed in the Featured, Athletes, and Actors category as an “icon”.

Reality TV star Carole Baskin from the Netflix series Tiger King, for example, can command $300 per video to wish happy birthday to her “cool cats and kittens” fans.

Customers can book video greetings from talent by credit card, which is put on temporary hold. Talent has seven days to complete the video request; if the request is not fulfilled, the temporary hold is lifted so the card does not get charged.

Customers can leave a review, which can give a good indication of the quality of the video messages and whether the purchased greeting was value for money.

Talent receives 75% of the booking amount and Cameo retains 25% for hosting and payment processing. Because video requests are backed by credit cards in advance, using the platform is a very low risk for the talent.

Some Categories at a Glance

The most prominent category is “Featured”. It tends to push the most established celebrities as a way to entice you to browse the website for your favorite star. For example, featured celebrities include TV personality, dancer, and singer Paula Abdul and actress Lindsay Lohan, both commanding more than $200 per message.

The most popular categories are:

  • Actors
  • Athletes
  • Reality TV stars
  • Creators
  • Musicians
  • Content Creators.

Finding Your Niche on Cameo

Scrolling through the categories listed on Cameo, it’s easy to spot which types of “celebrities” are popular based on how much they can command per video message.

It’s also useful to check which niches have the least competition, as you are more likely to get noticed.

For example, under Creators, YouTubers and Influencers are over-subscribed with thousands of available profiles, but under Comedians the competition is really low with fewer than 200-100 profiles in each subcategory.

Saturday Night Live comedian Jon Lovitz is a clear success story on the platform: he can command $175 per Cameo video greeting and currently has about 500 reviews on the site.

Digital greetings with comedy content and celebrity impersonations tend to do well on the platform.

In terms of how much to charge, it all depends on your notoriety and the frequency of your bookings. At first glance, $30 seems to be a good price point to start with depending on experience.

Is Cameo Worth It?

Due to the unpredictable volume of bookings, it is difficult to assess whether Cameo is a good revenue source. However, you will only be as successful as you are willing to promote your Cameo profile on social media to your followers.

If you treat Cameo as a side business alongside other revenue streams, it has the potential of being a good earner if you remind your audience of your Cameo profile regularly.

Have you ever tried Cameo?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Paola Bassanese