It’s the question that drives music companies crazy every day: how do you grab the attention of young people… and then actually make them care about your artists?
One answer, of course, is to hammer streaming playlists, YouTube channels and online media with as much promotional and marketing ammunition as you can afford.
Another answer, however, is simply to buy your way in.
That at least partly explains why Warner Music Group has just announced the acquisition of UPROXX – the influential media brand focused on youth culture.
UPROXX, a rival to the likes of Vice Media, currently reaches more than 40 million people across the web, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube.
Online influence aside, there’s another obvious reason why Warner – and particularly its global recorded music chief Max Lousada – might have swooped for UPROXX.
The California-based media company has forged a stellar reputation not only for editorial, but for artist-focused video production.
Another ‘content creation hub’ working in this area is Warner Music UK’s The Firepit, founded by Lousada, which runs its own multimedia/production studio in London.
Indeed, Warner says it plans to leverage UPROXX to help ‘power’ The Firepit as well as concert discovery platform Songkick – acquired by WMG last year – via ‘a world-class US production facility and fully staffed creative services and sales teams’.
Post-buyout, UPROXX will continue to be run by current CEO and Chief Creative Benjamin Blank and Co-Founder and Publisher Jarret Myer.
“In the always-on, attention economy, it’s not enough to simply deliver amazing music to the world. We aim to tell engaging and original stories that influence culture. UPROXX brings together pioneering personalities and credible brands in ways that move huge audiences to talk, listen and share.”
Max Lousada, Warner Music Group
Warner says that the platform’s editorial and studio operations will function as stand-alone entities with ‘journalistic and creative independence, including working with any and all artists, athletes, and innovators making their mark in culture’.
“UPROXX was founded with the mission to deliver the best daily content and programming that shapes the lives of youth culture and the world we are inheriting,” said UPROXX CEO Benjamin Blank.
“Over the past years, we’ve won the trust of our audience, along with numerous industry accolades, because of our understanding of culture, entertainment, and marketing – an approach that’s rooted in authenticity and transparency.
“With Warner Music Group, we just doubled down on that formula and are now able to deliver more to our audience and partners with even more access and at much bigger scale.”
The buyout brings Max Lousada back together with UPROXX co-founder Jarret Myer; the latter co-founded Rawkus Records, where Lousada worked during the early stages of his A&R career.
Lousada said: “In the always-on, attention economy, it’s not enough to simply deliver amazing music to the world. We aim to tell engaging and original stories that influence culture.
“UPROXX brings together pioneering personalities and credible brands in ways that move huge audiences to talk, listen and share. It’ll be exciting to collaborate with Jarret again, along with Ben and their team, who will thrive in the creative and entrepreneurial environment we’re building. They’ll be great partners as we redefine what it means to be a dynamic, future-focused music company.”
Jarret Myer, UPROXX Co-Founder, said: “It’s a true pleasure to be once again working with Max, going back to our time running Rawkus Records together, where we championed unique talent, broke marketing rules, and built a loyal audience.
“UPROXX was founded on those same core principles — with the goal of going beyond music and covering all aspects of what shapes our culture today and tomorrow. Over the past decade we’ve become trusted by our loyal audience and advertising partners in helping to turn brands into cultural moments. With this acquisition, we grow our significance as a beacon for youth culture and entertainment.”
UPROXX has recently picked up multiple CLIO Awards, while launching a pair of original series for Snapchat (“Brawler” and “F That With Vince Staples”), a successful season of “The CORE” for AMC’s Shudder, and gaining an Emmy-nomination for “Us Against The World,” an original docu-series.
UPROXX was represented by Raine in the Warner transaction.Music Business Worldwide