If you use the Japanese messaging app LINE then surely you’re familiar with stamps, or stickers, a series of colorful illustrated icons that are often accompanied by a word or two. Stamps and their popularity have been solely responsible for the explosive growth of LINE to capitalize on this trend the company, in May of this year, launched “Creators Market,” a platform which allows anyone with basic illustration skills to design a set of stamps and sell them each for 100 yen. The artist pockets half of the revenue while the company takes the other half.
Since the launch, LINE has raked in an astounding 3.6 billion yen (for simplicity’s sake let’s use 100 yen to the $ and call it $36 million). And that means big bucks for some of the top artists. According to the Nikkei, stamps in the top 10 averaged 36.8 million yen (about $368K) which equates to about $180K in income for the artist. Even artists in the top 1000 made a little over 1 million yen ($10K).
Mori Moriko, who worked in sales, hit it big with her illustrations featuring a needy girlfriend often pestering her boyfriend over texts marked as “read” that receive no response. After making roughly 8 million yen ($80K) she quit her job in July and is now a full-time illustrator. She even published a book of essays last month.
At a reception in Tokyo last week, LINE recognized some of the top artists and illustrators, noting that the popularity of the stamps is creating a new ecosystem. Popular stamps are branching out into standalone apps, books and merchandise.