I came across this BBC news item about Lele Tao, a 24-year old Chinese woman who reportedly earns about $450,0000 per year live streaming. What does she do? This is not a porn site nor is there any nudity or sex. Instead she talks, she sings, she eats, and chats to her fans, and in return her fans, mostly male, send her gifts. Apparently this is a huge business in China.
But don’t get the idea that it is an easy gig. The video describes a grueling schedule where she is streaming about 10 hours a days and spends a lot of the other time grooming herself, practicing songs and dance moves, and thinking up ways to keep her fans interested and loyal. She is always anxious, worrying about up-and-coming even younger women who are perhaps cuter than her and will steal away her audience. She also has to fight with her manager about finances. You can watch a clip of her life at the above link.
I have discussed before my puzzlement at the appeal of people like Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh who manage to get huge audiences and money just by ranting for hours on end. Tao and her fellow live-streamers are tapping into the same kind of need. I can understand watching any of them briefly to get an idea of what is going on. But repeatedly, for hours on end? Surely the novelty soon wears off? Are the people willing to be part of this audience lonely people who think that they have some kind of relationship, friendship even, with these performers? The third part of the BBC series talks with a huge fan of hers and there is something a little creepy, even stalker-like, about his devotion to her.