Making Artists Money On The Internet
At this point, we all know the story by heart: the Internet gives artists and writers an unprecedented amount of exposure, but almost nothing in the way of actual compensation. It’s a problem that’s threatened every creative industry and more or less defined an entire generation. INDMUSIC is hoping to solve it.
“It’s pretty simple and also massively complicated,” explains cofounder Brandon Martinez of the system that most famously helped the Mad Decent label make real money off the inescapable “Harlem Shake” meme earlier this year. (Baauer, who actually produced the song, is one of their artists.) Martinez then breaks down a finely honed system of tricks to bolster pageviews (and thus drive revenues), collect royalties if a third party uses an artist’s work in a video (see: “Harlem Shake”), and simply turn out a higher volume of content for YouTube’s users to devour.
“Understanding the platform is also extremely important,” adds Jon Baltz, with whom Martinez cofounded the company in 2011. “If you’re throwing your video into the system, be sure that you understand the system.”
In the two years they’ve been around, the network has racked up more than 300 channel partners, almost 2.5 billion pageviews, and a growing roster of incredibly satisfied clients. “To hear Diplo say that, without ‘Harlem Shake,’ they were considering shuttering the label, that’s a big deal,” Martinez says.
Given Martinez and Baltz’s backgrounds in the industry as an agent and booker, respectively, it makes sense that after a recent move from their former setup at co-working space The Yard, the company (which now boasts six employees) has set up not just in the heart of Williamsburg but in a former bar on Metropolitan. The taps, unfortunately, had to be turned off by the former tenant, but they’re hoping to remedy that soon. And, to hear them tell it, the music industry is headed nowhere but up: “As technology goes, the Internet is still a baby,” Baltz says. “Artists are only going to be creating more revenue online, and I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future.”