Celebrities may have goods looks, money, the spotlight, and a fan base, but they don’t always know how to make money off their popularity. Today, Y Combinator company Hipset introduced a multichannel YouTube network that helps musicians grow and make money off their online audience.
CEO Matt Schlicht said that while many artists may have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, they are “shockingly small” on YouTube. Hipset develops these artists by optimizing their metadata, defining their video strategy, scheduling their uploads, setting up collaborations with top YouTubers, and using technology to develop and retain their YouTube audience.
Hipset works with record labels and artist management companies, who use their technology to distribute content and increase their clients’ reach on Facebook. Hipset celebrities include Tyga, Souljaboy, Lil Twist, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Rob Zombie, and Ryan Leslie. Schlict said these celebrities have a combined 1 billion views on YouTube and distribution channels to over 35 million fans.
The Y Combinator-backed company first launched as Tracks.by in 2012. Back then, the site was a place where artists could showcase their new work, and Tracks.by helped campaigns “go viral.” It also connected brands with celebrities to facilitate for celebrity endorsements.
As Hipset, the goal is to “hack through the world of online monetization” to optimize the Internet for musicians. In addition to the YouTube network, Hipset offers Hipset Boost, a suite of promotion tools to help artists grow their online audience. In addition to announcing the YouTube network, Hipset also announced adding new features into Boost that enable artists to require fans to follow them on social networks, in order to access exclusive videos.
Hipset has received backing from Menlo Ventures, Y Combinator, Venture51, Matt Mullenweg, Alexis Ohanian, Justin Kan, Brad Hunstable, Josh Elman, Alex Le, Garry Tan, Nils Johnson, David Wu, Harj Taggar, Michael Weiksner, Erik Moore, and Apu Gupta.