Thematic unleashes the creator economy for music artists

Thematic artists

When we last reported on Thematic, the company had generated over a billion song plays for its artists.

Now that number has topped 2.5 billion, just one of many impressive stats shared by the company this week. It’s all part of a collaborative ecosystem that’s focused on powering the UGC creator economy found on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, while removing terrestrial licensing.

And for anyone toiling in the weeds of platforms like YouTube, being “demonetized” is still a lurking danger. Given the extreme obscurity of music licensing, this can easily hit the most diligent content creators, even those working with “royalty-free” libraries (including YouTube’s).

This is where Thematic came in. Co-founder Michelle Phan built one of YouTube’s most successful channels, but in 2014 she found herself battling Ultra Records over music she thought was properly licensed (and, for that matter, music). Ultra artists like Kaskade too. ).

A few years later, Thematic fixes the licensing issues plaguing YouTube and other platforms. The result is a secure licensing space for content creators that aims to democratize music distribution beyond predefined channels like Spotify, while increasing fan engagement and conversions in the process. Artists are featured by influencers, who safely play thematic music while boosting music careers.

“Thematic’s platform allows me to enhance the creative quality of my videos without copyright concerns. As a creator, I’m focused on allowing my art to reach its potential while collaborating with musical artists who want to do the same,” content creator Hailey Sani tell us.

Crossing the billion mark was a major achievement for the startup, although just six months later the number of listens exceeded 2.5 billion.

According to Thematic co-founder and CEO, Marc Schrobilgen, Thematic has also converted over a million listeners into new fans for its artists.

The concept has already won over Lauv, Dylan Rockoff, Lexy Panterra, Gabrielle Aplin, Skylar Stecker and Qveen Herby, with nearly 300 active artists and 30,000 content creators currently on the platform.

“As an independent artist, it can be very difficult to get your music to reach new audiences organically. I’ve found Thematic to be a great way to get my music out there through the power of digital creators, and I also made some new friends along the way,” the indie singer/songwriter shares Elli Moore.

There is also a crowdfunding campaign that has exceeded its minimum funding amount of $50,000 in its first two weeks. This round of microfinance was generated by nearly 190 backers, mostly made up of current Thematic users, although we assume larger investors will eventually join the party. Already, Thematic has been accepted into the 500 startup acceleration program, and the company has also partnered with DMN to further expand its revenue streams to artists.

Tessa Violet

Tessa Violet

Thematic can track the success of artists by watching the resulting streams on Spotify and Apple Music.

But instead of looking for playlists, Thematic tries to create a more beneficial model for artists.

Spotify has the power to dramatically increase an artist’s success, simply by adding that artist to a heavily subscribed playlist. But that “success” is often characterized by many “empty listens” for artists – with a lack of fan engagement and resulting low-follower tours. But what if music was better suited to target demographics, on channels of influence already highly engaged with their audience?

Schrobilgen pointed to an entirely different pairing process at Thematic. Instead of placing a song on “Today’s Top Hits”, Thematic’s team mixes algorithms and curation to match the music to the content of its creators. This can involve providing recommendations to an influencer based on previous syncs, creator preferences, or simply the influencer’s listening preferences.

The result is a more tightly matched demographic for the artist, with the creator getting better matched music (and zero licensing headaches). It’s the top tier win that Thematic pushes, though participating artists can then leverage the resulting successful campaigns.

“Nothing has been more monumental in the consistent and steady growth of my listeners, subscribers, audience and engagement quite like Thematic. They have filled a gap in the music industry and influencers whose most don’t even realize it exists,” the singer-songwriter said. Madeleine Lauer tell us.

“Influencers who like and choose my music usually have an audience that matches my own target audience. When viewers like and want to know what song is playing in a video, all they have to do is watch and see what artist and what song are tagged in. Naturally bringing them to my platforms to discover me as an artist organically.

Successful AV matches enhance videos, but they can also generate data that can be leveraged in lucrative sync deals.

It also makes it easier to pitch to streaming services, while generating analytics on what fans actually like.

An example of this comes from theme artist Tessa Violet (pictured above), who successfully leveraged a royalty-free offering of her song “Crush” on YouTube and Instagram. This quickly set the wheels in motion for inclusion in Spotify’s top-ranked playlists and YouTube’s Artist on the Rise program, and eventually headlining her own tour.

Now Thematic is overtaking YouTube and Instagram.

Of course, both are hugely important components of the UGC creator economy. But increasingly, they are not the only ones. As a result, Thematic is aiming for the whole pie, with mega-platforms like TikTok, podcasts, and even standalone networks like Peloton being part of the larger construct.



Most recently, Thematic secured placements on TikTok influencer accounts for a song by artist Benee. The track, “Glitter”, has since garnered over 22 million viewership, with over 1.1 million views and 90,000 hearts. In total, nearly 450,000 fan videos using the song have been created. It even became a viral dance challenge, with mega-influencers like Sarah Magusara popularizing the track.

In the case of Benee and Violet, there is a two-way street. Schrobilgen noted that musicians are also influencers — and always have been. But that fandom just isn’t being leveraged effectively, especially with such a focus on isolated streaming platforms.

Fandoms of a place are however, it is Asia that is exploited effectively. BTS and other successful K-pop groups quickly come to mind, with artists developing fanatical fanbases and then forming strong bonds with them.

“It’s all about fandom,” Schrobilgen remarked. “You are witnessing a huge shift in the music industry. UGC is now the primary driver for building an artist’s fan base and the accompanying data is being leveraged to monetize an artist’s personal brand. the artist.

Now Thematic hopes to bring that ultra-successful mentality to the West. And develop a platform that emphasizes fandom before playlists and other traditional outlets for artist growth.