Just a year ago, as the creator economy was blossoming into a monetized industry in its own right, generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E were barely a thought for most. When the tools appeared early this year, the initial reaction of many professional content creators was that GAI, with its own rough but evolving content-creation ability, would do away with brands’ and businesses’ need for external content soon enough. But now, a few months into the GAI revolution, creators’ attitudes—and productivity levels—are changing.
Adopting a true “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” spirit, new research from full-workflow audio and video editor provider Descript finds that creators are figuring out how to use GAI to make their own content more valuable. The firm’s inaugural Creativity in the Age of AI report shows that nearly two-thirds of more than 1,000 podcasters, YouTubers, and social media video creators surveyed say they have used those tools to make higher quality, more creative content.
As AI generation and creation tools for audio, video, writing and ideation become more mainstream, Descript, in partnership with Ipsos, surveyed these professionals to learn about their use of and feelings about AI that could soon be as common in creative workflows as ring lights.
Among the key findings:
Creators are (almost) all-in on generative AI tools
Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of creators surveyed have used generative AI tools in their creative work, and 78 percent say they are likely to use the tools moving forward.
Creators believe AI tools will lead to better, more creative content
The creators we surveyed understand the benefits of generative AI and expect it to lead to positive changes in the creator economy over the next year:
- 80 percent of respondents predict the time savings from generative AI will be a significant change for the better
- 77 percent say it will better the quality of content
- 75 percent say it will better the creativity of their content
- 74 percent say it will better the quantity of content
- 71 percent say it will better the accuracy of their content
They’re already seeing the benefits
The survey respondents already using generative AI tools are seeing the impacts:
- 53 percent say it’s improved the quality of their content
- 52 percent say it’s enhanced their creativity
- 52 percent say it’s saved them time
Early adopters of generative AI tend to be more successful as creators
Respondents who say they’ve used generative AI in their workflows report a median of roughly 4,800 followers compared to roughly 1,400 among those who haven’t started using AI tools. These early adopters also report a median income of nearly $16,000, versus just over $2,000 for creators who say they haven’t used AI tools.
Text tools get the most use (so far)
Creators surveyed are more likely to use text generation tools like ChatGPT than any other type of AI tool, with 22 percent reporting regular or somewhat regular use. Only 13 percent of respondents say they have never heard of text generation tools. And 45 percent of respondents say they have either tried, or regularly use, AI text generation tools.
“We’re already seeing a huge wave of adoption of generative AI tools among creators, and this is just the beginning. The technology is advancing so rapidly and it’s getting better and more accurate every day,” said Ashley Hamer, managing editor at Descript, in a news release. “And as creators get more hands-on experience with it and ease into adopting the tech into their daily workflow, the sky is truly the limit for the type and volume of content we’ll see.”
“A lot of people are afraid that AI will replace our ability to create content, or that there will be so much AI-generated content that there’s no place for humans,” said video creator Meredith Marsh, a YouTube creator with nearly 75,000 subscribers, in the release. “But for me, it’s actually amplified my creativity and my ability to put out content—when I have a seedling of an idea, I’ve used AI to help me expand on that idea.”
These are the findings of a Descript poll with data collection by Ipsos conducted between March 29 and April 12, 2023. For this survey, a sample of 1,004 podcasters and video creators from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. To qualify, respondents needed to be 18+ and create and publish original podcast or video content on their own personal account, a business account, or as a part of their job for a business or brand at least once a month.
After the survey was concluded, Descript performed qualitative interviews over the internet with six creators—three podcasters and three video creators—sourced within their professional networks. Each conversation was 30-45 minutes long, and Descript asked each subject the questions within the survey and to share their thoughts about the results gathered from the original survey respondents.