Looking for success stories from artists building careers outside the traditional label system? Ana Free is the latest to add to the list. The singer/songwriter has built a fanbase on YouTube, with 82,000 subscribers and more than 31m video views. She used this as the base to raise money to record a debut album – due out in April – linking her YouTube channel to her page on Pledge Music in October last year. Billboard reports that she’s now raised 159% of her targeted £7k to record the album. “It is unusual for an act to develop when their only marketing platform is YouTube,” says SJM Concerts’ Will Blake, who booked Free early on in her career. “But that is what she did – through YouTube, social media and her fans. It shows YouTube can translate into a real live audience.”

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