Welcome to YouTube Millionaires, where we profile channels that have recently crossed the one million subscriber mark. There are channels crossing this threshold every week, and each has a story to tell about YouTube success. Read previous installments of YouTube Millionaires here.
The idea that YouTube is a video platform is a restrictive one. For a certain generation, YouTube is also the world’s most powerful jukebox, offering access to almost any song at the click of a button. One channel that has benefited from this element of YouTube is Monstercat. An electronic music label, Monstercat (which works with a number of partners, including edmDistrict, BroadbandTV and The EDM Network) has tallied a million subscribers through official YouTube releases of under-the-radar artists. We spoke to the label about the success its music has achieved on YouTube.
Tubefilter: What do you have to say to your one million subscribers on YouTube?
Monstercat: We love our community, they are our family and they have changed our lives in so many awesome ways. Everything we do is driven by them, for them and in as many ways as possible, we try to thank them everyday. Today is no different.
Thank you all for believing in Monstercat, loyally following our incredibly talented artists and being the most kick ass group of music lovers on the planet!
TF: How has YouTube influenced the growth of the Monstercat label?
MC: YouTube was a driving factor in the growth and success of Monstercat. It gave us the opportunity to present our music in a unique way, gave us a forum to become members of an amazing community. Both of those factors allowed us to be creative in an industry that for better or for worse wasn’t adapting fast enough to new media. We’ve been incredibly lucky and owe a lot to the partnerships and friends we’ve made within the YouTube community.
TF: Have you ever considered adding video offerings to your YouTube channel, or will you keep it to tracks and mixes?
MC: Absolutely, we have begun funding the development for more artist-based series and music videos. The difficulty has been finding the right partners who shared the same vision as we do while having enough backing for the projects.
TF: Why do you think YouTube is so popular as a music discovery engine?
MC: As a platform, it’s simple, it’s relatively easy to navigate, and the search functionality actually works. Another big aspect for me personally is that YouTube has always felt a little human. When you have a platform that allows users to incorporate their individual style, their personality and their tastes into a curated stream of music you get a product that is engaging. I think great examples of larger artists who have really done phenomenal jobs leveraging that theory are Dillon Francis and Deadmau5.
TF: Do you consider yourselves a part of the YouTube community or are you simply a company that happens to have a large presence on the site?
MC: No question about it, we started out and have become successful within the platform because we are very active members of the community. Over time however we’ve expanded to branch outwards from that and have embraced a larger vision for what Monstercat will be. Although our vision has expanded, our grounding in the community will always be key to who we are as a company and the culture that our brand is built from. I personally chat with all our close friends and family in the YouTube community daily and that I don’t think will ever change.
TF: The evolving nature of copyright laws on YouTube is a hotly contested subject. What do you think is the right compromise between content creators who want to use music tracks in their videos and labels that want to make sure their musicians are properly compensated?
MC: In our case, we provide a full commercial license to over 300 channels averaging over 100,000 subscribers each and have a member of our team dedicated to bringing in new promotional partners for our music all the time.
Monstercat is also part of a new program that I’m sure you will be hearing more about over the coming months called edmDistrict. We are an ambassador for what they are trying to accomplish and feel that it answers the question you ask almost perfectly. How do you balance the value of marketing an artist, your music and your brand to new audiences versus controlling it to secure every penny along the way. We believe in a balance of both and have found that the power of encouragement and building brand loyalty through flexibility results in higher sales for our artists in the long run. Worrying about a few dollars in sales versus blocking the people who love your music, who want to share your sound to the world is an old school way of thinking.
Labels should look at YouTube as an opportunity to further spread their music, finding the right strategy that works for them in the development phase they are in and learn to use piracy for the value it can create instead of fighting a lost battle.
TF: Who is an electronic musician on YouTube who you think deserves more attention?
MC: Tough question. I’d say that Tristam is one of the best examples of an artist that grew rapidly on YouTube. Taking a look at his video feed shows his progress over the past two years as an artist. It’s amazing to see how far he has come!
TF: Where do you see the electronic music genre in five years? Do you think YouTube will still be an important asset?
MC: Electronic music will continue to grow and evolve. There will be waves of new styles/genres and a blending of pop music with electronic music. The one constant will be the fans – people’s tastes will evolve with the genres.
In regards to YouTube – I am seeing a trend where indie labels are moving away from traditional outlets such as Soundcloud and starting to leverage YouTube more effectively. It isn’t easy and it takes time but that is a good move in my opinion. YouTube is by far the best platform for organic growth and there is incredibly opportunity for those who put in the work.
Labels are also starting to turn to YouTube blogs (promoter channels such as TastyNetwork, Mrsuicidesheep, Proximity etc) for additional marketing support for their music. Using these already developed curators who share music freely to large audiences is something we have leveraged along many times for our releases. What we give up in a video’s ad revenue we gain exponentially in new fans that can become loyal fans of Monstercat.
Those channels are a part of the program I mentioned earlier edmDistrict. For labels that don’t have open ended budgets for marketing, distribution and promotion they offer a very progressive exposure mechanism. Five years is a very long time but I hope YouTube will be as powerful a tool then as it is now. I’m sure there will be new platforms that come and go from time to time but YouTube doesn’t show any signs of being caught in the near future.