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Will.i.am to Launch YouTube Channels for Himself, Others in Pact with Maker Studios

Musician and entrepreneur will.i.am, frontman of the Black Eyed Peas, struck a deal with Maker Studios to create a video platform to promote himself and his projects on YouTube and elsewhere as well as develop programming around emerging talent he’s collaborating with.

The Maker-developed video platform for will.i.am will include e-commerce, interactive and mobile elements and will span “his many passions,” including fashion, music, technology and philanthropy, according to an announcement from Maker.

Maker Studios also will produce and manage video content for artists affiliated with will.i.am. Those include 8-year-old YouTube rapper Baby Kaely, teen recording artist Cody Wise, and Irish singer-songwriter Leah McFall, runner-up on “The Voice U.K.” who was coached by will.i.am. Maker is one of the largest YouTube multichannel network providers, with 24.7 million unique visitors and 522.9 million views in December, according to comScore.

Will.i.am, whose actual name is William Adams, said the deal with Maker promises to make it easier for artists like himself to make money from original content distributed online.

“Artists are paying money from their own pockets to make videos, putting them on YouTube, and not being first in line to collect the money generated from advertising,” will.i.am said in a statement, adding: “I love the idea of bringing order and being systematic and strategic on YouTube.”

Other Maker-managed YouTube talent include PewDiePie — which is currently the most-subscribed independent channel on YouTube, with 21.5 million followers — Epic Rap Battles of History, the Shaytards, Snoop Dogg’s WestFestTV, The Gregory Brothers, Bad Lip Reading and Mike Tompkins.

Maker Studios also has pacted with traditional entertainment companies. Those include a deal with Warner Bros. Television Group’s Studio 2.0 to launch original series “Robin Banks and the Bank Roberts” on Maker’s comedy hub, Nacho Punch, and partnering with Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Digital to produce season two of comedy series “Next Time on Lonny.”

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