At TechCrunch Disrupt this morning Troy Carter, Founder & CEO, Coalition Media Group and worldwide Manager for pop star Lady Gaga sat down with Scooter Braun, Founder & Chair, SB Projects and worldwide Manager for fellow pop star Justin Bieber to discuss the digital era’s implications for musicians.
The hot topic of the conversation was YouTube and Twitter. Carter said openly that he and Lady Gaga “create music videos for YouTube.” Braun agreed with Carter, saying that Bieber represented a new strategy of creating a breakout teenage star. Braun said that previously teenage music stars has to have a show on Nickelodeon or Disney. But Bieber changed this; he was found on YouTube and his first videos singing Aretha Franklin’s Respect saw 55 million views by the time the artist signed a record deal with Universal Music. He ended up going Platinum shortly after.
Gaga originally broke out on YouTube and MySpace Music (which Braun was quick to say is dead), and Carter has now discovered a new star on YouTube, Grayson Chance. When asked about advertising, carter says that Lady Gaga’s videos include pre-roll and post-roll advertising (thanks to Vevo) but said that advertising isn’t a large revenue source. Record companies keep the bulk of the money made from ads and the remaining trickles down to the artists. Carter and Braun both agreed that concert tours are the main revenue stream for artists.
And what about Twitter? Both managers said that Twitter is a great way to connect with fans, especially for artists who were discovered by fans on YouTube. Twitter breaks down the layers between the artists and the fan, says Carter. Braun says that Bieber loves talking to his fans over Twitter (perhaps that’s why he’s always a trending topic!).
E: That last video was Grayson Chance,
T: We found him on YouTube
E: Is YouTube the new MTV. How do you find the new pop star?
S: You get lucky. I was managing Akon, and Justin happened to be on YouTube singing Aretha Franklin’s Respect. We thought how are we going to break him with an online strategy vs. a Nickelodeon or Disney show.
E: So how did you do this-
S: I had this gut feeling about Justin-we started strategy of creating more content online, when we talked to major labels, the thought was without a TV show you can’t break a teenage star. We wanted to be the first artist to break off of YouTube, Even when we had 55 million hits on YT, no one wanted to sign. We are signed with Universal, We went platinum, no Disney or Nickelodeon.
E: With Lady Gaga, was YouTube instrumental.
T: Actually it was MySpace. Interscope heard her on MySpace. It was always MySpace, YouTube. That was four years ago.
E: Has marketing channel shifted from MySpace to YouTube.
T: We make our music video for YouTube.
E: Would videos now made it on MTV years ago?
T: Now we know that if we make a ten min video for YouTube, people will watch it.
E: There is some product placement in LG’s video?
T: Virgin Mobile is a tour sponser,
E: Did the product placement pay for the video?
T: Sometimes it makes a profit, but most of the time it breaks even
S: No one uses MySpace anymore.
T: Everyone was sending me links to Grayson Chance, and I jumped on it.
E: Now you are just sitting on the computer to find artists on YouTube?
S: Now its about discovery-fans have been watching musicians now for years on YouTube before they become famous. People wonder how do you monetize, deal with piracy. But kids are going to buy the product if they really support the personality. When I say Justin;s name, people know his story.
E: How is it that Justin Bieber is always a trending topic on Twitter?
S: He’s a teenager so he likes Twitter, so he’s on Twitter talking to two million girls at his disposable. There are time where we go over stuff, but the only people who has his passwod are me and him. Kids like that the same person who they like is talking to them now.
E: There is a immediacy that people feel with celebrities on Twitter. Can you talk about the close relationship between the fan and the artist on social media?
T: GaGa is a digital baby-that’s how they communicate. There cant be any layers between the artists and their fans.
S: It’s a way to connect with fans, he likes doing it.
S: Music has to become a multimedia business. We are interested n what you do. We have brands that can bring people into technologies. If you have a great product-
E: The lady gaga videos-do they have prerolls, advertising?
T: It’s pree roll or post roll on Vevo. The record company makes money off of that and then it trickles down.
E: is that a significant source of money?
T: Not at all. The main money resource is concerts.