The founders of Tracks.by, Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni, established themselves helping musicians such as Lil Wayne build their social networks. Now they've relaunched Hipset as the Hipset Network, a YouTube Multi-Channel Network focused on taking their social network knowledge to YouTube and monetizing the videos of such artists as Rob Zombie, Tyga, Daughtry, Ryan Leslie, Soulja Boy and Three Doors Down.
Their early work at Ustream, followed by social media management for Lil Wayne and other artists, led to the launch of Tracks.by, a suite of social media tools based around a Facebook app. Since then they've experimented with various directions including the initial creation of Hipset as a Facebook-connected social network featuring the content of musicians filtered out of newsfeeds by Facebook math.
From Tracks.by to the Hipset Network
The Hipset Network represents a combination of their social media services with a special suite of tools developed by Team Hipset called Hipset Boost.
The short version is that the Hipset Network is a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) on YouTube that launches in partnership with established musicians including Tyga, Souljaboy, Lil Twist, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Rob Zombie, Kraddy, Kris Allen, DJ Skee, Tory Lanez, and Ryan Leslie who have a "combined 1B views on YouTube and distribution to over 35 million fans."
Why Create a YouTube Network for Established Artists?
I spoke with Tracks.by co-founder Matt Schlicht yesterday about the new Hipset Network. Unlike most MCN's, the network is focused on musicians with established YouTube channels with whom they've worked in the past providing services for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many of these artists haven't done as well on YouTube, though their numbers are still quite high, and Team Hipset will focus on helping them build views and followers while monetizing their audience's interest.
Team Hipset will be selling ads, both preroll and overlay, and also securing product placements. Though such placements are well established in music videos, Schlicht says they'll be working on product placements for behind the scenes videos as well.
The artists with whom they're working already know what Team Hipset can accomplish and are strongly behind this new move. They also have a history of investments from such investors as Menlo Ventures, YCombinator, 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.
Schlicht told me that they won't be focusing on Hipset Network branding, the focus is on the artists. And though the site features the tagline, "We Discover, Develop, and Monetize Talented Artists," that seems to be more reflective of both earlier explorations and future possibilities.
Behind The Scenes at Hipset Network
Currently Hipset Network is working with established artists and beyond simply increasing stats, they'll be doing such behind the scenes work as optimizing metadata, encouraging regular video uploads and helping artists communicate with their audiences by breaking through the fourth wall.
Schlicht says they found that other MCN's primarily concern themselves with monetization and they're going for a more complete approach. Since they're working based on rev share, Schlicht points out that their success will depend on the artists' success.
Team Hipset's also developed a quick and easy tool called Hipset Boost for trading YouTube subscriptions for views of gated content. This will eventually include Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but the focus now is on YouTube. It's a free tool and is available to all artists.
Schlicht clarified that most YouTube content would be readily available. He feels that gated content should be used selectively and that ready access is key to going viral.
Connecting Star Musicians with YouTube Stars
Hipset Network is also planning collaborations between artists with whom they're working and top YouTubers to help crosspollinate and build audiences. So a musician might do a cameo in a YouTube Stars video. This is a sharp idea that could lead to interesting developments given the current state of separation between performers who have developed totally on YouTube and musicians who are using YouTube to build both on and offline.
Tracks.by will also continue to be available for free. Team Hipset says "almost every major record label and artist management company currently use our technology to distribute content and increase their distribution on Facebook."
From Service Providers to Business Partners
If you step back and consider their history, the Hipset Network builds on Matt Schlicht and Mazy Kazerooni's early success providing social media services with related tools developed in-house. But launching a Multi-Channel Network shifts the emphasis to being business partners rather than simple service providers.
The road from Tracks.by to the Hipset Network has included some bumps along the way but that's where you learn what works. The Hipset Network has huge potential and may well set the standard for the next phase of YouTube Multi-Channel Networks.
- Hipset Shows You The Music Content Facebook's Been Hiding
- Tracks.by Launches Facebook Music Sharing App
- Tracks.by Facebook App Spreads Love For Lil Wayne, Trey Songz & Soon All Indie Musicians
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.