Published on February 26, 2014
How has it been successful in the Web 2.0 era? Jacob Newman
What exactly is SBTV? SB.TV Global Ltd, also known as SB.TV or SmokeyBarz, is a multi-faceted company run by a small team of amateur young people who work on webbased viral content at different music-based events. The media platform has its origins and roots in urban music. Most of its content can be seen on its own YouTube channel which was created on November 2, 2006 or the official SB.TV website. Much of the content includes unprofessional footage, or 'street-shot' freestyle raps and music videos. However, even though its earlier uploaded videos contained entirely amateur footage, the channel's latest uploads contains some professional recordings. The reasonable popularity of the channel amongst London's underground scene has led to short columns in RWD, The Observer, The Guardian, The Independent, Dazed & Confused, the Sunday Times Style magazine as well as assistant production credits from when Edwards was working as a junior runner for the BBC, and Tiger Aspect Productions as well as joining the young persons panel at The Guardian's new technology conference activate summit alongside Martha Lane Fox and others. Today, its YouTube channel has gained many millions of views and thousands of subscribers, as well as Facebook fans and Twitter followers.
Who founded SBTV? When? Where? Jamal Edwards is the man responsible for founding SBTV in 2006. He would try to get in contact with Grime MC’s from his local area in West London and video them with his handheld camera and then upload the clip to YouTube. Some of the names that featured in the early videos from SBTV when Jamal first started shooting are pretty impressive including the likes of Wiley, Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder and Chipmunk, Jamal managed to do everything using his computer and his camera, he was able to expand his business and make it into a international success, this would not of been possible without the evolution of Web 2.0 allowing Jamal to share his works with the online community.
So why did it start? Why did Jamal start SBTV? Back when Jamal was 15, he says he and his video camera immediately became inseparable, and he started to film friends rapping or singing. Not instantly aware of the commercial potential of what he was doing, Jamal says he started to upload the videos to YouTube simply to make it easier for his extended friends to see them. In his own words, "You can say my videos had mixed reviews to begin with, some people didn't get them, but others thought they were sick [good]," he says. "So I started to put them up on YouTube so everyone could see them, and it just grew from there.“ Leaving school and getting a job in clothing company Topman, Jamal continued to make videos avidly in his spare time. Building up a reputation for the quality of his work, he would film up-and-coming rappers and singers, while also targeting more established stars outside nightclubs, hotels and dance music radio station Kiss 100. As word of mouth spread, his videos on YouTube, put up under the name SBTV (the SB stands for SmokeyBarz, Jamal's own rapping nickname) started to get hundreds of thousands of hits, predominantly from 13- to 30-year-olds. And so Jamal contacted YouTube to see if he was eligible for a share of advertising revenues. YouTube, owned by internet search engine giant, Google, turned him down three times, but Jamal persisted. YouTube ultimately agreed after he was able to prove that all the videos he was uploading were original content that he had made himself. Soon after he started to receive cheques and the amount they were worth kept growing and growing.
What exactly does SBTV do? SBTV ultimately provides 3 services consisting of Production, Editorial and Broadcasting. Broadcasting “SBTV started off as and will always continue to broadcast video whether for music, freestyle, acoustic, interviews or any other categories within youth culture. All of our content is hosted on our YouTube channel which boasts millions of views but continues to grow over time.” “Our content is always SBTV produced so as to continue the trusted style of our shoots and unbiased opinions which we feel is important to our viewers.” “SBTV also have a large social networking presence which we use to inform our audience of new blog articles, relevant news and the life of SBTV!” Production “Starting from scratch all those years ago we naturally produce content and have grown and developed industry techniques to help compliment our production. SBTV are used to shooting in fast and agile situations making the best of all locations and opportunities. Alongside we also shoot, produce, direct and develop music videos, documentaries and event material.” Editorial “With editorial experience from various printed urban publications, SBTV’s blog team work day to day to provide news on the latest releases, films, music videos, artists and more.”
Why is it successful? In my opinion SBTV has been so successful because it gave young artists and producers the chance to get recognised through the use of social media which has been a huge part of the development of Web 2.0. SBTV allows people to view and share the videos they publish easily across all types of media. One thing that has helped SBTV establish there position in the music industry and the world of media is the diverse range of media they produce which appeals to all different types of web users being, bloggers, artists, producers and music lovers. These include the following series... Another reason for the success of SBTV is that is has been a vital part of the growth in the Grime and Hip Hop genres in the UK, so if a fan of an artist wants to see some exclusive interview footage or free styling they can check SBTV because chances are the artist will of been on SBTV at some point or another. Not only do SBTV supply a web service but they also have a merchandise store selling all types of apparel and accessories ranging from hoodies to phone cases.
How has it benefitted an artist? One great example of an artist who has benefitted greatly from the services of SBTV is Ed Sheeran, whose video ‘You need me, I dont need you’ has recieved over 7 million views to date. SBTV published the video on there YouTube channel on 28th February 2010, as part of there up and coming (at the time) A64 series which is a spin off result of the very popular F64 series which focuses on freestyle bars sessions rather than an acoustic session, and it caught the attention of many music fans all over the world and web especially. People were very surprised at the performance they witnessed when watching the video and were left feeling impressed and wanting to share the video with there friends. As a result of the major popularity of the video on the web Ed Sheeran has since released an album which charted very well in the UK and he has become a real internet sensation with the help of SBTV, releasing more collaboration videos with them since.
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