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Social star Michelle Phan launches music-licensing startup


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Michelle Phan made her name with fashion, beauty and lifestyle videos on YouTube, while along the way turning entrepreneur with ‘beauty box’ startup Ipsy.

She’s also tangled with the music industry in the past: in 2014 she was sued by dance label Ultra for using tracks in the background of her videos without a licence, although after countersuing, the case was settled the following year.

Now Phan is launching a new startup that aims to help her fellow social stars avoid similar legal troubles. It’s called Thematic, and is pitched as “your own personalised music supervisor” for online-video creators, helping them to source pre-cleared music for use in their content.

“You can use our platform for free – no membership fees, no licensing fees, no rev-shares,” claims its website. So the pitch to musicians here is very much one of discovery and promotion, rather than actual royalties – although there’s also scope for linking viewers of the videos to other (royalty-paying) streaming services, merchandise, concert tickets and so on.

Thematic will compete directly with startups like Lickd, as well as with production-music companies like Epidemic Sound and Audio Network.

Stuart Dredge

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