I believe the advent of the digital age has made individuality an option for everyone.
And I believe in the power of the artist.
In the past, I even considered myself an artist. A ridiculous idea as it turned out, but one that led me directly to my current role as CEO of WhoSay Inc. I had just read the recording contract presented to me by the record label I was signing with 15 years ago, and I sat flabbergasted that anyone sensible would agree to any such thing.
I set out later to build a company that would treat musicians in just the same way other craftsmen are treated. Not like serfs but like craftsmen. If they made something valuable and there was a market for their product, they would earn money. If not, they would at least get to keep ownership of their work.
Pretty standard for other industries, right?
This became my last company – Pump Audio. And this was possible then because in music, the ‘means of production’ had become affordable to musicians thanks to technology and pro-tools. Pump Audio earned millions of dollars for independent musicians who had put hours into making music that couldn’t find a home in the then booming music industry.
Or, put another way, those that couldn’t find a way to access fans through the closed distribution and promotion channels then controlled by a few big companies.
We all know that those days are over. Today you can find a fan in lots of places, in lots of ways, for just about anything. And this is what leads us right to WhoSay.
WhoSay — An Entertainment Magazine from the People actually in the Magazine.
At WhoSay we are in the process of creating something similar for a very different group of artists. For years our clients – over 1500 of today’s most influential film, television, music artists as well as athletes – have helped sell newspapers, magazines, TV shows and, most recently, digital eyeballs to fans and advertisers.
They have seen print magazines and TV shows that chase them around and make fortunes from advertising, and digital companies build one fan connection after another to the tune of billions more. Up until now, the world has worked this way. In fact, many of these outlets are great promotional tools for our clients.
But today the tools exist for our clients to reach their fans directly – no filters, no paper needed, no expensive means of distribution. Our celebrity clients now have their own ‘means of production’ in their smart phones, their own ‘means of distribution’ in their social networks.
… And now their own entertainment magazine in WhoSay.
With the special applications WhoSay has built, we give our clients an easy way to create and share their unique view of the world with their fans everywhere – through pictures, video and text. You will find our clients’ content on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Tencent, Yahoo, Huffington Post, People.com, US Weekly and anywhere else we can help distribute it. And if you are a real fan of any, or many, of our clients you will soon be introduced to a new fan experience.
This will be a digital entertainment magazine from the people actually in the magazine. Their work, their content, their lives.The things they care about, the things they like. All created and curated directly by them, and then enhanced and deepened by our editorial staff – who will help you learn about the new projects our client are working on, their movies, books and TV shows, and the causes and stories that matter to them. It will be the entertainment magazine of the tablet and smart phone age – by the entertainers themselves. And you won’t have to pick up a copy while waiting to pay in the supermarket line. It will be your entertainment and sports fix, customized to your preferences, your favorite people and genres on any mobile phone or tablet.
And we are doing this because we think both our clients and their fans can now share in the benefits the digital world has brought – a direct connection between people who want to hear about each other, but with a much deeper dive into the content and work our talented clients produce.
And just like in the music business before it, we will begin the process of removing the middleman. This will be our clients’ publication, our clients’ application, and our clients’ channel. And the fans best way to learn the most about these unique individuals and the work they do.
Look for the WhoSay Fan application this summer, and until then get a sense of what is to come at WhoSay.com. 7 million fans already visit us every month and we’ve barely told anyone yet.
Yep. The power of the artist.
Steve Ellis, Co-Founder and CEO