Dotted Music Blog

Jack Conte: Try A Million Things Until Something Works

Jack Conte, the “Internet musician,” is the founder of Patreon (which is like a crowdfunding platform, but for content creators), and is one half of the legendary Pomplamoose – one of the first bands to go big on YouTube.
In this podcast, Jack talked about his projects, YouTube, if it’s possible to replicate past success, tech trends, electronic music, and many other things.
Some of the topics covered in the conversation:
  • Patreon: what it is, and who uses it.
  • Why it’s hard to replicate the Pomplamoose’s success.
  • Building audience on Vine.
  • Where to discover what can become “the next big thing” in the tech world.
  • New apps and start-ups Jack finds interesting: Facebook Mentions, Vine Uploader, YouTube Creator, SpoonRocket.
  • Michelle Fan being sued by Ultra.
  • When your video is flagged or claimed on YouTube.
  • How much Patreon brings to content creators.
  • Highlights of the current electronic music scene.
  • Being in a band vs. doing a solo project.
  • “Make lots of beautiful things”
Listen to the episode below:
Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or by searching “Music Growth Talks” in your favorite podcast app.

Show Notes:

A few notable passages from the episode

When Your YouTube Video is Taken Down

As you may know, YouTube has built a software that allows publishers to claim videos as their own. So they can go into a content management system that YouTube has built and they can claim a video and say that this video contains their copyrighted material. Then, they can run ads over that video and collect all of the ad revenue from those videos. There's a whole process that allows for that now. And it's a very easy and simple process for a publisher and a rightsholder to do if they have a content management system account on YouTube. There's a way for the content creator to dispute the claim, but it's more difficult.
Generally, I think YouTube leans in favor of publishers. It's hard for me to backup that claim, except as a user I can tell you how difficult it's been when one of my videos got flagged or was taken down or claimed by a third party. There's really very little recourse, and, at the moment, the user isn't allowed to collect any percentage of the ad revenue from those videos unfortunately. Even if most of the video is non-copyrighted and there's a little snippet of copyrighted material, YouTube still defaults to the publisher collecting a hundred percent of the ad revenue. That's because publishers are generally more litigious than individual users and have the resources and capabilities to sue an entity like YouTube. So YouTube is basically preventing lawsuits against itself.
When we released our Pharrell mash-up, consisting of a few Pharrell and some Daft Punk songs, it was flagged by Daft Punk's publishers and they took down our video. This happened right after it hit about a million hits. Then, we scrambled for about three weeks to try and get it back online, and eventually we did. But we had to contact Daft Punk's management and work with the publishers individually. Eventually, they put it back online but it was literally over 50 emails that we had to send back and forth. It was just tons of time and energy. And, in the end, Pharrell himself had tweeted the video and tweeted the song and seemed to enjoy it, and yet it had been taken down. Overall it was just an infuriating experience but it's just how it is. YouTube is a free service and we use it. And not only is it free, but you can get paid through it.

Optimize Your Patreon Profile

The presentation on your Patreon profile is very important. You have to explain to your fans what your vision is, what you want to do, and why. We spend a lot of time with creators, helping them refine their videos, write their “about” sections, and pick their rewards. Those are all super important to us. And we think it definitely helps increase conversion rates from a fan to a patron. It's slowly starting to shift into discovery, but at the moment Patreon is really more of a place for people who have an existing audience. They will find more success than people who don't have an existing audience. A lot of people worry about monetization too soon in the game. Once you've kind of done some audience building, then you'll find success on Patreon. But the audience building is really the first step. Luckily, there are a lot of great tools for audience building, like Vine, YouTube, or Soundcloud. In other words, folks who have an audience on those sites and then come over to Patreon tend to do better. Obviously what we'd like to do is have Patreon be a place where people can have an audience too. And that's what we're starting to see a little of, which is super exciting, but it's still not as strong as some other places where you can build an audience, such as YouTube or Soundcloud, and so on.
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