Unless you've been living under a rock for the last two years (in which case, welcome back), you probably know that YouTube can be pretty big money. Making YouTube videos has become at least a regular source of revenue for many people, and for a few, the basis of a huge fortune.
In this new media landscape of vlogs and songs, tutorials and Let's Plays, a few names have started cropping up like vague yet menacing government agencies. Gleam Futures. Big Frame. Maker Studios. But what are they really all about?
Gleam Futures has a shiny, polished name to match its shiny, polished image as one of the most significant talent managing companies in new media. Along with the infamous "Gleam Team" made up of eight young British YouTubers and one South African, Gleam's roster is mostly fashion, beauty and fitness types, all with massive social followings.
Reading between the buzzwords, Gleam is responsible for guiding YouTubers' content and image, setting up brand partnerships and handling publicity. It looks like a pretty exclusive outfit, and no word on how you actually get picked up by them, but you have to be big.
Big Frame and Maker Studios are two of the biggest hitters in the YouTube managing space. Big Frame (formerly The Cloud Media) was founded in 2011 by Steve Raymond and Sarah Penna, who has been called "one of the first people ever hired to manage a YouTube career". Maker Studios was founded in 2009 by a group of YouTubers including Shay Carl, creator of the YouTube channels "shaycarl" and "SHAYTARDS" and the upcoming documentary "Vlogumentary".
Between them they manage huge YouTube channels and creators like Tyler Oakley, Tay Zonday, Epic Rap Battles of History and PewDiePie. Small wonder that last year they were each acquired by major entertainment companies: Big Frame by DreamWorks Animation, and Maker Studios by Disney.
In 2013, while both companies were still independent, TechCrunch conducted some interviews with their founders and leaders to see what made them tick. Check out the videos below to go behind the screens at Big Frame and Maker Studios:
Friendly, nerdy DFBTA (which stands for Don't Forget to Be Awesome) seems like a far cry from the slick and polished likes of the other companies listed here. But once upon a time, making YouTube videos was nerdy, and there's no denying its significance as one of the first companies giving indie YouTube artists a way to make money. Co-founded by the Vlog Brothers and Alan Lastufka in 2008, DFTBA is now home to merchandise and music from dozens of creators including YouTubers Hannah Hart and Charlie McDonnell, author Rainbow Rowell and the nerd master himself, Wil Wheaton.
Would you rather make your millions with Gleam, or nerd out alongside Wil Wheaton and the VlogBrothers? Or would you be your own manager? Leave your thoughts in the comments!