For The Love Of Artists: Talenthouse Is Technology Connecting The Established And The Emerging
Many would tell you that if you show someone your heart, especially in business -- you are soft. Weak. Prey in a world of predators.
To the contrary, in the world of artists and making a business out of artistry, sometimes all an emerging artist has is heart. Especially when he has nothing else.
The term “starving artist” exists for a reason, and those who have earned the moniker know that gas in your car (or a valid subway pass) is often more important than food.
Heart, too, plays a role in artistry as a commodity and a profession. Hence dancers dancing with everything they’ve got, leaving blood on the dance floor. Singers singing until they have no voice left. Writers are often told: “no tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” And across all artistic endeavors there is the ubiquitous phrase: “do you feel me?” Another way of asking did I make you feel something? can you understand?
Artistry, at its core, is about connection.
With the big idea that liberating art would liberate the world a bit more, entrepreneur Amos Pizzey set out to create Talenthouse, a startup platform that allows emerging artists to get their first chance at a big break or a significant opportunity by working with established artists and global brands.
Pizzey, a London-based musician himself was first discovered by Boy George, who gave him a chance and made him an early member of Culture Club.
Pizzey was eventually signed to Virgin Records, but he already knew the road to an artist’s success could be very difficult. And without that first opportunity, many artists and creators would never get a chance at something great: an economic opportunity to turn their craft into their profession.
Hailing from Ladbroke Grove in West London, once the center of the British Underground -- Pizzey came of age in a pre-EDM, post-punk scene, where creativity was everything. He saw and became part of cross-cultural collaborations and understood the value of combining genres and working together with others. He also saw many of his friends never make it.
“I met so many people that didn't have education, but did have phenomenal creative ability," he said. “People living in the inner cities and the projects -- where I lived for many years -- they often have no hope. The reason they have no hope is because they can’t see beyond it [their current situation].”
As part of his later career, he eventually also worked as a creative director for a division of Saatchi & Saatchi, witnessing the power of global brand partnerships and how to commercialize content.
After seeing how brands, established artists, and emerging artists all operated, but could be better combined, Pizzey set out to found Talenthouse in 2008, with the persistent goal of helping emerging artists of all stripes, all around the globe.
How The Platform Works
Their formula works by offering any emerging or unknown artist a new opportunity to work with big bands, musicians, designers, and other established talents on projects. These collaborations attract big brand sponsors for each individual project.
Talenthouse focuses on the categories of: Film, Photography, Music, Art & Design, and Fashion. One must be a member of the Talenthouse community to participate, but sign-up is free and fast (and open to anyone).
Their process works in three stages:
Stage 1 - An open call for submissions. All artists on the Talenthouse platform can read a brief "creative invite" presented by an established artist, and then upload their original artwork submissions during a 6 to 8-week submission period.
Stage 2 - Voting by the public occurs. The public can vote for the best submissions through Facebook and Twitter TWTR +0%. Every like, comment, vote, and share generates an original Facebook and Twitter post, which integrates messaging from the brand that sponsored the collaboration.
Stage 3 - A winning artist is announced, selected either by the sponsoring brand or by the popular vote (depending on each unique creative brief's requirements).
Though not everyone wins every contest and gets to make a final project with an established artist, co-CEO of Talenthouse Roman Scharf explained, "There are only winners on Talenthouse. So many new artists get new connections, new audiences. They increase their followers and fans. And the audience itself creates a whole new selection of opportunities for each artist as well."
A few examples of Talenthouse collaborations have included:
DJ and electronic musician Avicii offered emerging artists to make a music video for his song "Speed." The collaboration was sponsored by the energy drink Burn.
Singer-songwriter Jessie J offered a chance for an emerging fashion designer to design a costume or outfit for her next show. She wore the winning outfit on stage. Vitamin Water sponsored the collaboration.
National Geographic and Nokia invited photographers to submit examples of their work for a chance to win a mentoring road trip through Puerto Rico with world-class photographer Stephen Alvarez.
The result of these mergers is increased economic opportunity for all three parties (i.e. the emerging artist, the established artist, and the brand).
Over 1,000 collaborations have happened on the Talenthouse platform.
Established artists who have worked with Talenthouse have included: Linkin Park, deadmau5, Lady Gaga, U2, Justin Timberlake, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, and many others. Brands that have worked with the startup include: Coca-Cola, Montblanc, Samsung, Nokia, Procter & Gamble, Adidas, and others.
The startup closed $10 million in Series C funding this spring.
It All Boils Down To One Thing
The artist’s road is the same as the entrepreneur’s.
As most artists will attest, somewhere along the line in their career, there was that one person who gave them a first chance. An audition, a listen, an opening act. It is one person who sees your light.
In truth, most art wouldn’t get made without the help of other human hands, other than one’s own. (The same is true for startups).
The spirit of Talenthouse, their collaborative power, and their goals can be summed up by another artist.
World-renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp, who has made thousands of collaborations with dancers, designers, and musicians part of her 40-year career, wrote in her recent book on working together:
“Collaboration is connection...Our lives are performances -- each of us starring in a play we come to know as our own. Essence isn’t just who you are. It’s who you are with other people. In the end, all collaborations are love stories.”