Delayed Moves, Poolside Videos and Postmates Spon: The State of TikTok Collab Houses - The New York Times
The way most young creators see it, to make it big on the internet you need to be in Los Angeles, even if you’re stuck indoors in the midst of a pandemic. “You’re just surrounded by influence,” Mr. Conte said. “In L.A., if you talk to four people, one is probably going to have over 100,000 followers on Instagram. Even people that don’t prioritize social media have 20,000 followers from just being here in L.A.”
That feeling has driven the rise of dozens of TikTok influencer collab houses: palatial dorms where the platform’s young stars live, work and hustle to expand their social media empires. Influencer collab houses are nothing new — several generations of YouTubers, Vine stars and streamers have lived and worked together since 2009 — but Gen Z TikTok stars have embraced them to an extent that their predecessors did not.
Collab houses make it easy for new arrivals to Los Angeles: They have a nice place to live, a built-in friend group and constant access to collaborators. And, if a management company or brand is sponsoring the house, the tenants may only have to produce a few TikToks and a YouTube video every week as a form of in-kind rent.
Many creators have pushed back their plans in light of the pandemic. The Girls in the Valley, a female-only TikTok house, was on track for a late-March move and even held an opening party on March 12 at the Sugar Factory in Los Angeles featuring the pop star Doja Cat. Now, with their move-in date to be determined, the house’s members have turned to weekly Zoom calls to stay in touch.
Meanwhile, several new houses, including the Young Finesse Kids, the Alpha House and the Kids Next Door, have announced their formation over the last two months.
Influences, a talent management firm, has invested in TikTok houses including the Girls in the Valley, the Drip Crib and the Kids Next Door. The company has taken a hit on expenses since the virus began, but Ariadna Jacob, its founder and C.E.O., sees the situation as temporary.
“We already had the concepts out to brands, and when coronavirus first happened there was a lull. But now more campaigns are launching,” she said. “When the houses are presented as a media company, brands wrap their heads around it. The Drip Crib, for instance, is like GQ and Sports Illustrated. Girls in the Valley is like Seventeen magazine.”
Lucas Castellani, 22, is currently recruiting TikTokers to live in the $5 million Beverly Hills mansion that his parents own, which he has renamed the Vibe House. He worked with a legal team to set up talent contracts and has found someone to act as a house manager. “We’re going to follow C.D.C. guidelines about gatherings,” Mr. Castellani said. “I’m planning to launch the house at the end of this month if everything goes well.”
Ms. Jacob said that influencers looking to move into a collab house managed by her company must first quarantine for a number of weeks and get tested for the coronavirus. (No collab house has yet had a confirmed case of coronavirus.)