Vice Magazine loves throwing parties. Their last, this past summer, was a blowout—M.I.A., Mark Ronson, Neon Indian, and other tech-heavy musicians showed up to throw a good one—The Creator's Project, sponsored by Intel. But now they're getting serious.
Though it was a showcase of the arts, at its core it was just a party. But today, Vice is taking giving its Creators Project parties a purpose—birthing what they're calling "The Studio"—a tech-oriented, heavily funded organization aimed at getting the work of young (and unknown) filmmakers, artists, and musicians into the world. The program, spread across Vice's offices in several countries, will give artists digital equipment and space to work, and then a means of distributing that work via exposure at Vice-cosigned concerts, exhibitions, and parties—and online, of course. With the end result being, you know, you buying stuff, and letting the guys make a living.
This might just sound like just another label, of which there are many (too many!). But the kicker here is that, unlike most vampiric labels, Vice's kids will get to retain full intellectual property rights to their work. In the words of Vice's Shane Smith, artists will "Own, forever, any of the work that they create for us." So what's Vice getting out of it? Exposure, of course—they're a brand too, of course. But it's refreshing to see the potential for artists crawling out of obscurity through a tunnel that isn't YouTube self-promotion, or major label soul-bartering. Vice gets free access to artists, and artists get a free shot at making it across the globe—a nice bit of digital symbiosis. And seeing Intel sign off on a way of skirting mainstream distribution of the arts is just as unexpected and exciting. [The Creator's Project]