Blayze: Fans. Artists. United
I was recently watching Kurt Schneider’s YouTube cover of “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift, AND expecting a typical cover video. However, at the end of the video, Kurt encouraged fans to share the video and linked to a site that offered exclusive rewards for sharing. I was curious and clicked which lead me to Blayze.
Once there, I found a list of rewards for sharing the video which ranged from an exclusive message for fans to a sneak-peek preview of College Musical: The Movie for super fans. You need to connect with Facebook to reveal the sharing options which include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and a URL. After sharing, rewards are emailed to fans after the contest is over. I found the site really interesting so I reached out to Blayze and talked to the Founder and CEO, Ben Smith.
Ben has an impressive background and was an early employee of Google and YouTube. While at Google, he helped start Google Video which later acquired YouTube. He was behind YouTube’s biggest partnerships and strategic efforts. In addition, he helped bridge the gap between Hollywood and Silicon Valley and left YouTube HQ to be the company’s first business exec in Los Angeles.
Later, Ben left YouTube and decided that he wanted to start a YouTube oriented company to help creators in Los Angeles. He started Chancebending Media, a YouTube strategy firm that specializes in creating next generation network strategy and distribution. The firm has worked with over 25 top companies to distribute best in class original content on YouTube. Ben realized that YouTube was a golden opportunity for artists and fans to get closer together. However, many artists didn’t really know their fans because fans could only comment on YouTube and the platform didn’t collect emails.
Six months ago, Ben, along with 5 former YouTube employees, started building Blayze. With Blayze, artists can reward their fans for sharing content. Check out the screenshot for a look at Blayze:
As you can see in the picture, Blayze has a nice design with links to share content and a link back to the YouTuber’s page. An interesting thing is that many rewards are homemade like behind-the-scenes clips, t-shirts, and shout-outs to help deepen the relationship between artist/creator and fan. Also, Blayze intends to work with brands that want to sponsor rewards for artists. With sponsored rewards, fans will not have to deal with ad and product placements that may be distracting in videos. Blayze is currently working with over 100 YouTubers. The platform is free for all YouTubers and is currently in private beta. Blayze will have a full scale launch in about 6-8 weeks. To sign up, check out the Blayze website and send them an email. A key takeaway from this is the importance of the artist and fan relationship. Like the title says: Blayze: Fans. Artists. United. Stay tuned to Blayze.me for more updates.