If you needed a new reason to shake your head in wonderment about how Generation Z are living their best lives, the headline ‘Posting Instagram Sponsored Content Is the New Summer Job’ might provide it.

The Atlantic’s piece explores a new trend in digital marketing: for brands to seek out teenagers who don’t even see themselves as ‘influencers’, but who in aggregate can form the bedrock for an effective marketing campaign on Instagram.

“According to teens, all you need to do to make money this way is make at least one of your Instagram accounts public, amass a thousand or so followers (an easy threshold to meet), and reach out to brands you like on Instagram,” explains the piece.

“If you have enough followers, the brands—typically small clothing and accessories start-ups aiming to court Generation Z—will even come to you. Negotiation usually takes place entirely over Instagram direct message, and teens rarely sign formal contracts. Some companies send an article of clothing for the teen to wear in a picture; others just send images of items to be worked into a post…”

This is the world we live in now, where brand managers say things like “Teenagers are more affordable to work with because of their follower count and age”.

We’re caught between suggesting this is a trend music companies should be getting in on, and wondering whether the risks (for example, expecting teenagers to adequately disclose paid-for posts according to regulations in their country) are a concern.

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