TheAudience once meant a rather-fine indie band fronted by Sophie Ellis-Bextor. In 2012, it means a stealthy social media startup co-founded by two of the most powerful men in the entertainment and technology industries: Sean Parker and Ari Emanuel.
Parker, of course, is the entrepreneur and investor who co-founded the original Napster, then played pivotal roles in Plaxo and Facebook. He’s also an investor in Spotify, and recently launched video-chatting startup Airtime. Emanuel, meanwhile, is a well-known talent agent, and currently co-CEO of the William Morris Endeavor agency.
So what is TheAudience? That’s what we wondered when we were tipped off that a social media startup that was “something to do with Sean Parker” has been approaching music managers looking to work with their acts. Founded in 2011, it’s surprising how little public information there is on the company. There is some, though.
An article from September 2011 in MUS Today, the magazine of Memphis University School, for example. It’s a profile of TheAudience’s CEO Oliver Luckett – a former student whose previous venture was DigiSynd, a social media company acquired by Disney. Here’s what the article has to say about TheAudience:
“It is the first celebrity-driven content network across Facebook and other social media outlets. TheAudience was born from a partnership between the famous Ari Emanuel (personified on Entourage), The William Morris Endeavor Agency, Sean Parker, and Luckett. TheAudience network manages the social media of more than 60 celebrities who have already accumulated more than 300 million fans on Facebook. They have offices in Los Angeles and London and employ more than 50 people.”
There’s also a press release from January 2012 by a company called Intertainment Media, after it made an investment in TheAudience, which was described in similar terms – “theAudience manages the social media presences of global entertainment brands and celebrities and provides an integrated platform for the optimization and activation of their audiences”.
This post on financial website Stockhouse led us to this document from Intertainment pegging its investment at $1m, with the deal involving TheAudience using technology from Intertainment subsidiary Ortsbo for “enabling real-time, multi-lingual translation for certain live events on behalf of theAudience clients and partners”.
There are some job ads too: An Associate (Music) role for example whose responsibilities include developing editorial calendars for “compelling posts that will appeal to the fan base”, as well as the ability to “Ideate and recommend to Client team opportunities for increased fan/follower reach via content, applications or other forms of engagement”. Also a Content Curator to handle more nuts and bolts of running campaigns.
And there’s a corporate website which says very little (although it does have the addresses of the LA and London offices). But no stories on the kind of technology blogs you’d expect to be interested in TheAudience and its co-founders, even though all the information above is public.
Anyway, there are any amount of companies promising to help musicians and other celebrities manage their social media profiles better. But the thought of someone who knows Facebook and the music industry as well as Parker does, together with one of Hollywood’s most powerful talent agents in Emanuel and someone with Luckett’s experience of managing social media campaigns for big Disney properties is extremely intriguing.