The creator of Artsy is moving white-box galleries into the digital arena.
Any good predictive model would forecast that the son of an art writer and a finance executive would embark on a career of monetizing art expertise. Last July, with backing from heavyweights in the worlds of art (Dasha Zhukova, Larry Gagosian) and business (Eric Schmidt, Wendi Murdoch), Carter Cleveland launched Artsy, an e-commerce site that sells not shoes or books but great gallery works. Artsy has an inventory of 21,000 pieces, ranging from old masters to Andy Warhol to contemporary stars, and has received 4.7 million page views since October 2012, so you could call it one of the world's most popular museums. The site is driven by a Pandora-like algorithm that locates thematic and historical connections between works. "People get addicted," the 26-year-old Princeton grad says. "The average visit is 14 minutes." Next for Artsy are apps that enable users to search the inventories of brick-and-mortar galleries (including Gagosian, Pace, and White Cube) and contact dealers directly, and allow gallerists to share newsfeeds. His heady goal is to democratize the clubby, closed-doors art business. "Most sales so far are under $10,000," he says. Not that you'll find any pieces, at any price, on Cleveland's bare walls. "All my money is in the site. Maybe in a year I'll start collecting."
The Race to Create the Instagram of Video
YouTube is perfect for watching episodes of Between Two Ferns or "Call Me Maybe" parodies, but the site doesn't let you share casual clips from your smartphone as easily as you can post pictures to Instagram. So a multitude of new apps are jockeying to re-create, in video-sharing, Instagram's runaway success. The early leaders were Viddy—which was iTunes' most downloaded app a year ago—and Socialcam. The two services have different recording lengths (15 seconds on Viddy, unlimited on Socialcam) and celebrity super-users (Justin Bieber posts to Viddy; Britney Spears to Socialcam). But both let users add visual effects and Instagram-like filters. Then, last January, Vine, created by Dominik Hofmann, 26, Colin Kroll, 28, and Rus Yusupov, 28, burst onto the scene. Acquired by Twitter in October before it launched, it's astonishingly simple: Touch the screen to shoot footage (a maximum of six seconds), add a caption and location, and post. "We think it's easier than anything out there," says Michael Sippey, Twitter's V.P. of product. Vine is now viewed as the app to beat; during a week in January, roughly half the social-video links on Twitter came from Vine. But Chris Ovitz, Viddy's cofounder and head of business development, has a plan to get his service back on top: "When that white smoke comes out of Vatican City, I want the new pope's first words to be recorded on Viddy."
The Rise of the Social-Media Image Consultant
As traditional media splinter into ever-smaller fragments and social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube become the new mass media, celebrities are maximizing their reach with help from a new wave of savvy talent managers who can deftly navigate this new frontier. One is Oliver Luckett, 38, founder of theAudience, a social-media-publishing company that builds networks of fans across platforms for stars like Russell Brand and Pitbull with a never-ending stream of quips, pics, and videos. "We have artists who reach more people through social media on a monthly basis than any cable network in America," says Luckett, who previously built a 500-million-person Facebook fan base for Disney. Steve Raymond, 43, a former Comcast exec, created the YouTube-centric media company Big Frame to develop his 170 artists into crossover sensations like Carly Rae Jepsen or PSY. "The overall programming inventory at MTV is really small compared to YouTube numbers," he says. A similar logic drives Tracks.by, an online music-marketing service launched by Matt Schlicht, 24, and Mazy Kazerooni, 22, that lets clients (who have included the likes of Lil Wayne and Drake) bypass Facebook's algorithm so fans get every update. "Celebrities used to connect with their fans through magazines or MTV," Schlicht says, "but now we have the social Internet."
Music's King (and Queens) of Social Media
Who was the music industry's biggest social-media star of 2012, based on fans, friends, and followers? BigChampagne, a media-tracking company, did the math.
1. Justin Bieber
Facebook Likes: 11,602,833
Twitter Followers: 16,640,674
YouTube Subscribers: 1,167,578
YouTube Video Views: 1,032,112,244
Total Weighted Value*: 8,720,937
Facebook Likes: 17,327,613
Twitter Followers: 17,240,071
YouTube Subscribers: 1,770,671
YouTube Video Views: 837,518,370
Total Weighted Value*: 8,323,938
3. Katy Perry
Facebook Likes: 13,557,872
Twitter Followers: 17,657,913
YouTube Subscribers: 1,186,292
YouTube Video Views: 695,815,398
Total Weighted Value*: 7,136,774
* Based on a proprietary formula that assigns a different relative significance to each social-media category.