LAS VEGAS—Years ago, no one would have believed it: row after row of young people on laptops, performing for customers all over the world, in real time, bypassing tech crews, major studios, post-production, QC, duplication, distribution and retail sale and going direct to the consumer—from the show floor at AVN Adult Entertainment Expo.
Live cam shows and clip sales have become a vital part of the adult industry, and so too at the AVN Expo.
Cams.com has a conspicuous spot in front of the stage at the Joint, with a step-and-repeat wall and online radio hosts the Chorizo Bothers webcasting near a lounge where performer Alora Jaymes is getting jeweled glittered pasties applied piece by piece by a makeup artist. “I started with Cams.com in 2013,” Jaymes tells AVN. “I started with another model and we did girl/girl shows and threesome shows with her guy, and after a few months I earned enough money to get my own laptop and go solo and build my own fan base. I love it. I love the freedom to set your own schedule and make your own money. The schedule is very key because your fans want to know when you’ll be on.”
Veteran performer Inari Vachs is here, back from retirement. “From death and rebirth and regrowth, I’ve come to the point where I’m ready to pick up where I left off, bringing my career full circle. I started my partnership with Cams.com about a year and a half ago. I’m working one to three times a week and can also do private shows. I’m in Vegas, so people should plan their timing.”
Cams.com Assistant Development Manager Courtney Rudolph tells AVN, “We do this booth for our models, so they can have a chance to interact with their fans. We wanted to promote that interaction. They see them online all the time, but how often do they get a chance to meet them? We’re going to have three to four girls in the booth at all times. One of our girls got a 10-minute foot massage the other day. I was jealous about that. You’ll notice one of our girls has a violet wand in her hand right now. We have interaction with toys now, and our girls can sell prerecorded clips besides their cam shows. You can also do phone sex and texting though our site. It’s safe for the girls and protects their privacy, and it’s another revenue stream.”
In Muse Hall and the corridor outside, dozens of MyFreeCams models are lined up, focusing on their laptops. The area is illuminated by flattering halo lights, and a remote-controlled camera suspended by a cable takes shots of the crowd. A model spanks a fan with a soft mallet as other fans watch and take pictures with their phones. A model opens her top for the camera, carefully covering her nipples. Fans walk by, snap pictures as the performers divide their attention between the in-person fans and the fans online. The counters are filled with a constantly replenished collection of MFC-branded promo items: shot glasses, pens, pencils, lanyards, corkscrews, bottle openers, 3-inch vibrators, tubes of lip balm, tote bags, sunglasses, lighters, stick-on rhinestones that spell out MFC. Brochures on becoming a webcam model stand neatly in plastic holders every few feet along the counter.
Behind one counter, statuesque model Alexa Starr is wearing a painted-on football jersey in MFC green, with her name stenciled on the back and rhinestone pasties. Nearby, MFC model Kristie Bish observes, “I really like camming because I get to interact with my friends every day. I was really bullied a lot as a kid, and now I’m being celebrated. I have a bunch of people who like me and they’re my friends. I find it exhilarating to be here. I’m an attention whore through and through. I love to entertain, I love to make people smile. I also love to see my members, people who know me and follow me. It’s great to put faces to names. It strengthens the relationships. One member brought me a little panda bear, because I love stuffed animals.”
Inside Muse Hall, the ManyVids.com booth faces a large wall backing another booth, drawing all the attention toward ManyVids. The floor of the booth is covered with eye-catching bright pink carpet, and performers interact with fans passing by. CEO Bella French tells AVN, “We have our beautiful ManyVids stars, and we consider them our business partners. We have clips for sale and we have memberships. We offer services like sexting and participating contests, and we have MVLive where some of the models can go live.” French says fan interaction at Expo has been “awesome. The fans want to see their favorite models. ManyVids helps facilitate communication, so that makes them very happy, and it’s empowering to the content creators. It’s their business within the platform. We came here because I wanted to meet the models, I wanted to thank them, give them a hug and thank them for everything they do for ManyVids.” French takes pride in ManyVids being “a very inclusive platform. We represent the gay community and the trans community. Everyone is welcome at ManyVids, and I think that’s what makes it such a great platform.”
Also in Muse Hall, Chaturbate’s booth features models interacting with fans online and in-person. One through-the-looking-glass moment had two female performers kissing in front of a laptop as one of them webcast the moment for her fans with a hand-held camera, while spectators photographed the moment on their phones, all being watched by a pro crew recording the action on a professional tripod camera. “Any gender, anything you identify as, we’ve got a home for you and a great community,” company rep Steve said. “Any age, 18 or over. No top limit. It’s great to be here. Our models get to meet fans face-to-face, they get to meet each other face to face. They can hop on each other’s cams all day here. One user likened it to the ‘Porno Avengers’: all his favorite cam girls in the same place. We’ve had 85 performers here so far. They get creative. Five on a cam, getting on chairs. We haven’t turned anybody away. We’ll figure something out.”
“It’s like herding cats,” Model Coordinator Ramona Flour tells AVN with a laugh. “Model time is very lax. We have 250 models here for the show. You can watch the girls talking in their chat rooms and they suddenly look up and they see a whole bunch of cameras taking pictures of them. They get fangirled over. 18-year olds are so excitable, it’s cute to watch. We’re the most diverse platform out there. We allow couples, trans, men, and we have a huge variety of types of people: every race, ethnicity, age group. Our company culture is very different. I all it a ‘camily’ — a cam family. Everybody is really supportive: our models have Christmas dinner together, show up at each other’s weddings and baby showers. It’s amazing to see the love and support they have for each other. If you include everybody and don’t exclude anybody, you’ll have a safe place for people.”
“It’s awesome. It’s totally rewarding and it gives you a sense of empowerment that no other job will ever give you,” Chaturbate model Ashley Ace 69 tells AVN. “You’re in control of absolutely everything. What you charge. When you work. Everything. It’s awesome being here because I get to actually see everybody. Normally it’s me, alone, in my bedroom. I can be myself and act silly, Now I can actually see everybody and it’s amazing. I went from accounting into this. [laughter] I I love it. This lets me be everything I want to be. I’m a single mother of two, so it gives me the freedom to do everything I want to do and give my kids the life that they deserve. It’s my business: what I put into it, what I get out of it. It’s awesome.”
At Artist Hall, IWantClips has a lounge for models, with white couches and a throne, surrounded by tables at the edges of the booth. Models go to the tables to interact with fans. “At IWant, we have a video solution for any content producers who want to make their own content and put it out there for their customers to purchase,” a company spokesperson tells AVN. “This includes phone content and custom clips. Our platform includes an escrow system in our ordering platform where every single thing can be itemized—video resolution, length of the video, outfits or items that will be included in the video—and when the customer orders it, they are required to put the money up front, and as soon as the video is uploaded, the customer receives it and transaction is concluded. Models set their prices: the minimum price is $2, the maximum price for any one piece of content is $10,000 and we’ve had several sell for that. They basically run their own business without our interference. We help them as much as we can with anything they need to produce the best content.”
“I’ve been doing this about four years now,” IWant model PrincessShaye tells AVN. “I love doing custom clips. The very first custom clip anyone ordered from me was 10 minutes of me drinking beer and burping [laughter]. They loved it. I try to upload at least two clips a week to each of my sites. I stick with fetish. I love how IWant helps their models. If you aren’t doing well and you ask some companies, they tell you to work harder. IWant will make promo posts for you and give you tips on how you can improve,” Transgender performer Jacquie Blu says, “I get a lot of sales through IWant. I tend not to do solos, too much pressure. I like to keep things real and natural. I like the platform — you don’t have to be a Web Wizard to use it — and they’re very supportive of all of us.” L.A.-based Dom performer Lady Valencia says she’s moving from POV scenes to scenes with submissive men because “I feel it brings me out more than POV clips where I dom the camera. I like meeting the fans, some have already dropped off some $100s.”
The small, crowded Clips4Sale booth is filled with action, as Lauren Phillips is getting tied to a stripper pole. “Clips are fun,” performer Kinky Gaga says. “I do a lot of femdom, creampies, blowjobs, and now I’m doing anal. I was doing fetish, so it fits perfectly with Clips4Sale. It’s working well for me. They have a blog and they featured me last month, which helps with promotion. I trust them very much.”
“I get to produce my own content, on my time,” performer Roxie Rae says. “I love fetish, I love kink, I love getting freaky and thinking outside of the box. I am the queen of foot fetish. [stands up, puts foot on counter] I give them the best of all worlds: sneakers, socks, pantyhose.”
“It took me a little while to catch on to it, but it’s great,” veteran performer Julie Simone tells AVN. “There are scene that I shot for my production company when I first started over 15 years ago that are still selling. That’s the best part about it. If you cam, It’s only the time that you’re on cam that you’re going to make money. But this passive income is really amazing. I have a huge catalogue, and it’s being introduced to a newer audience, again and again.”
The AVN Adult Entertainment Expo continues through Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, followed by the AVN Awards ceremony at the Joint on Saturday night. Both events are open to the public. There is an admission charge.