Phan, whose beauty and makeup tips channel on YouTube has 7 million followers, is forming music label Shift Music Group in partnership with Cutting Edge Group (CEG), a music financing and services provider that specializes in music for films, TV shows and advertising.
Shift Music, according to Phan and CEG, will be geared toward using the power of social media to spread awareness for new and existing artists.
“I am passionate about finding undiscovered and talented artists,” Phan, 27, said in announcing the pact. “I want to help those artists get to the next level, and provide existing artists with a new way to reach fans. I wanted to partner with the Cutting Edge Group because they share my vision, and have a proven track record in innovation in the music business.”
The digital star’s launch of the new music venture comes as she is engaged in a legal dispute over her use of songs from Ultra Records in her YouTube videos. Electronic-dance music company Ultra Records this summer sued Phan, alleging she used copyrighted music from several of its artists without permission. Last week, Phan filed a countersuit against Ultra claiming she had indeed received authorization from an Ultra manager to use the songs and that the label was seeking to use her YouTube fanbase to promote digital sales of the music.
CEG chief Philip Moross called Phan “the best example of today’s online entrepreneurship. Music and social media are a fantastic fit, and Shift Music Group is already in discussion with celebrities and social-media influencers to launch other imprint labels under the Shift Music Group umbrella.”
The deal was brokered by Phan’s attorney, Phil Daniels of L.A.-based law firm Ginsburg Daniels. “The combination of Michelle’s social-media influence and Cutting Edge’s experience in music placement and distribution is a powerful one, and will provide a significant opportunity for artists and their music,” Daniels said.
According to Daniels, there’s no set number of artists that Phan is hoping to sign in the first few months. “It’s whatever makes sense and fits her creative dial,” he said.
In May, Phan inked a development deal with Endemol Beyond USA, the digital arm of global TV production firm Endemol, which encompasses original content for both digital and broadcast. She also teamed up with L’Oreal for her own line of Em-Cosmetics makeup and has secured a book deal: In October, Random House will publish Phan’s “Make Up: Your Life Guide to Beauty, Style, and Success — Online and Off.”