Monkeybars is an e- and m- commerce platform profitable to both artists and consumers. A media market and cash rewards give life to direct marketing for artists.


A new service aims to crowdsource new artist promotion, as well as reward early-adopter type support. Friends share videos and music with each other on social networks every day, and free promotion has resulted in many Internet successes, but those first shared links go unrecognized. Content creators struggle to set themselves apart from the proliferation of other artists available online. Even if they do manage to get a feature or visitor spike on Web sites, profits are minimal and can easily die off and bring them back to obscurity. Los Gatos-based Monkeybars is creating a social marketplace to discover, promote and share content that may help both social network members and creatives alike.

Artists and consumers leverage their own social networks

Monkeybars has created an e- and m-commerce platform where artists can monetize and distribute their own content, which in turn they can reward their fans for purchasing and distributing as links or posts in social networks. Instead of compensating fans through rewards, point systems and other means, Monkeybars gives artists’ supporters real cash. "With the advent of online distribution, recording artists and their management teams are looking to leverage the frictionless nature of online distribution and the ability of social networking tools to create direct, and hopefully persistent connections with their true fans," said Mike McGuire, vice president of research with Gartner's Media Industry Advisory Services. This platform can utilize these types of connections and turn fans into credible salespeople within their network.

Replacing promotion middlemen with a market and royalty program

The system that Monkeybars is trying to alter currently sees most profit going to middlemen - the creators don’t get much, the consumers don’t get any at all, but the label, agent or promoter gets paid. Repurposed free services - already existing social networks that are prepopulated with users - take the promotional role instead. Members buy music, video, art or books (no games mentioned yet) on the Monkeybars Market, and are rewarded through the Monkeybars Social Graph Royalty Program, which rewards purchases made from their network, friends’ networks, up to five degrees of influence away.

By Ivory King