Jack & Jack made their names as music and vlogging stars on Vine and YouTube, before starting to release pop/rap songs. This week, they’re riding high in the US Billboard charts with their ‘Calibraska’ EP, which debuted at number 12 in Billboard’s overall albums chart, while also topping iTunes’ rankings. Now digital distributor DistroKid is shouting about the role it played in their success, rather than a traditional label deal.
“For the first time in history an indie artist went to #1, outselling Taylor Swift and all the majors, and can keep 100% of their sales & streaming royalties,” CEO Philip Kaplan told TechCrunch. “We’ve become particularly popular with well-known YouTubers. Because before DistroKid, it was too expensive for most musicians to be prolific and see what sticks – which is how things go viral… This is a big milestone for the music business & for independent musicians. And probably sucks a little for major labels.” You can’t fault Kaplan for banging the drum for his company and taking a jab at bigger rivals, but in truth it’s the Vine/YouTube angle that has as much to do with Jack & Jack’s success – major labels, too, have harnessed this kind of social fame with artists like Island-signed Shawn Mendes.