By Sahil Patel
Maker Studios is partnering with will.i.am to develop an online video platform for original content from the musician as well as up-and-coming artists he is affiliated with.
Per the announcement, Maker and will.i.am will develop and manage the platform, and produce original content to highlight the musician’s varying interests and initiatives. The deal covers original programming across different formats, including one-off videos, music videos, documentaries, short films, and longer films, as well as various behind-the-scenes content from initiatives the artist and entrepreneur is involved with — from music, to fashion, technology, and philanthropy.
Maker Studios will also produce and manage programming for artists that will.i.am works with, including 8-year-old YouTube rapper Baby Kaely, up-and-coming recording artist Cody Wise, Irish singer-songwriter Leah McFall, who was a runner-up on “The Voice UK” (during which she was coached by will.i.am). As the whole MCN arrangement goes, Maker also promises to help build audiences for each artist on the world’s biggest video site.
“I love the idea of bringing order and being systematic and strategic on YouTube,” said will.i.am in a statement. “Artists are paying money from their own pockets to make videos, putting them on YouTube, and not being first in line to collect the money generated from advertising. Maker Studios is bringing order to that and making it easier for artists to earn money from the content they make.”
This is a multi-platform initiative. In the announcement, Maker Studios notes how the new platform will feature e-commerce elements and interactive and mobile experiences.
With Maker’s purchase of Blip last year and ensuing rollout of owned-and-operated sites for networks like Polaris and creators like Epic Rap Battles, the company has experience in building multi-platform properties.