Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, and Addison Rae are among TikTok stars who out-earned leaders of many S&P 500 companies.
By comparison, the median salary for CEOs of S&P 500 companies in 2020 was $13.4 million, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from MyLogIQ. CEO compensation figures include stock and option awards, which typically make up the majority of executive pay, as well as annual salaries and bonuses, perks and some types of retirement-advantaged benefits. So far only a few 2021 CEO compensation figures have been released.
Ms D’Amelio’s compensation was higher than that of many CEOs of large publicly traded companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp.,
K Darren Woods ($15.6 million in 2020), Starbucks Corp.,
Kevin Johnson ($14.7 million), Delta Air Lines Inc.,
Ed Bastian ($13.1 million) and McDonald’s Corp.,
of Chris Kempzinski ($10.8 million), according to the Journal’s analysis of his most recent compensation figures.
Charlie’s older sister Dixie D’Amelio has almost half the TikTok followers of Charlie D’Amelio. But according to Forbes, she was the second highest TikTok earner last year with $10 million. It rivals the salary of Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines Co. The D’Amelio sisters were not available for comment.
“They’re building a really business empire,” said Mai Karowski, CEO and founder of Clearly Influence Marketing Agency. She noted that many top TikTok influencers run new companies, launch brands and diversify their income streams.
“The numbers we are seeing now are only getting bigger,” she said.
Some S&P 500 CEOs certainly make a lot more. Robert Kotick, who is the founder of videogame giant Activision-Blizzard Inc. are the heads of,
, earned approximately $155 million in 2020. Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook earned approximately $99 million in the year ended September 25. The CEOs of some smaller companies made even more.
With the rapid growth of the app, the cash flow of Tiktok Stars has also increased. According to Forbes figures, seven of TikTok’s top earners collectively earned $55.5 million last year, a 200% increase over the previous year.
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., has charmed people with its secret algorithm, which delivers video clips it thinks users will like. The Buzzy app said last year that it had over a billion monthly users.
TikTok did not respond to a request for comment.
Global policy makers Meta Platforms Inc. including are investigating Tiktok and its associates,
Instagram on data-privacy issues. The potential psychological damage caused by these platforms to young users is another risk for the company. A recent investigation by Businesshala found how TikTok’s powerful algorithms can lure people in, and lead minors — among the app’s biggest users — to content about sex and drugs.
Still, analysts say brands find the millions of followers of top TikTok stars irresistible. The top earners make most of their money from ads, product lines, and other deals outside the app.
“His followers are obsessed,” said Krishna Subramaniam, CEO and co-founder of social-media data company Captiv8. He said that at times TikTok influencers have stronger followers than fans of Hollywood stars, who tend to be more private.
Social-media stars give followers a daily taste of life, he said, by offering updates on breakups, victories and failures.
“They are emotionally invested in that producer,” Mr. Subramaniam said. “You’re more willing to do or buy the things they tell you to buy.”
Dunkin’, the parent of Dunkin’ Coffee Shop and Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream Store…