Entitled Mana Talent Group, YouTubers MoistCr1TiKaL, Gibi ASMR and Jimmy Here have merged their management teams to start their own talent management firm.
Each creator brilliantly represents a different sector and niche within the YouTube creator field. MoistCr1TiKaL is a gaming creator, known for his videos breaking down gaming and esports community drama; Gibi ASMR is a humorist whose initial fame came from popularising the “It Is Wednesday My Dudes” meme; and Jimmy Here is a leading performer in the genre of autonomous sensory meridian response, or ASMR. He also operates his own esports team, Moist Esports.
“Diversification is always going to make the company a little stronger,” said Sarah Lavender, an ASMR performer who is signed to Mana Talent and requested anonymity due to safety concerns. “I just started a Twitch channel, and I’m just dabbling in playing video games on there — but it is nice knowing that I have some professional resources to reach out to if I decide to go further with that.”
Mana Talent Group’s main aim is to help their clients more easily experiment with new types of content and inspire cross-genre collaborations between the creators in their roster. Furthermore, each creator’s pre-existing manager — Zach Russell, Matt Phillips, Alex Press and Ben Deaney, Klein’s husband — are also investors and co-owners, with each taking on a C-level role in the company.
The agency is a fantastic example of creators leveraging their followings and experience to enter the business world and there have been similar groupings and agency births in the past eighteen months. In October 2021, for example, the top Twitch streamer Imane “Pokimane” Anys announced the formation of her own talent management agency, RTS. In July, the streamer Ali “SypherPK” Hassan co-founded the content production studio Oni Studios with his wife Daniela Ali. And in September, a group of creators including the YouTuber Ludwig Ahgren founded their own creative agency, Offbrand, among other examples.
For each of Mana Talent’s creator-owners, their motivation to join forces was at least partially a desire to expand their revenue streams beyond Twitch and YouTube and create a potential offramp for themselves to escape the content creation grind.
“It’s hard to say the longevity of a content creator, because this industry has only been financially viable for 10 to 15 years,” Jimmy Here said. “Whereas, Hollywood actors, as they age, they fit in different roles and can just go until they’re done. It’s hard for me to say that, 10 to 20 years from now, I’m still going to be making YouTube videos.”
Founding a talent management agency is also a financial back-up plan for creators who must otherwise rely on relatively fickle platforms such as YouTube and TikTok for the bulk of their income. This is a particular concern for Gibi, who has occasionally received pushback from prospective brand partners due to her choice of video genre.
“Now, there’s thousands and thousands of ASMR creators — but during that growth, there were definitely periods of time where everyone was getting knocked with limited monetization or complete demonetization,” she said. “Behind the scenes, someone would be like, ‘ASMR is not brand-friendly’ for a month, and then it would be fine.”
Mana Talent has been operating quietly since August, but it plans to enter the limelight with a joint charity stream featuring all three of its creator-owners on December 16th. As the success of creator-powered businesses such as Mana Talent Group becomes readily apparent, more YouTubers are likely to follow in the company’s footsteps.