The ArtistWorks' online academy offers thousands of hours of video lessons – covering everything from basic techniques to master classes – for budding musicians and students, amassing more than 32,000 videos and more than a dozen genres, from classical piano and bluegrass fiddle to traditional mandolin and turntable scratching.
The California-based academy offers an opportunity for students to maintain a regular dialogue with well-known instructors – including Billy Cobham and Steve Martin – through Web video exchanges.
Alex Pham at the Los Angeles Times writes that the company has tens of thousands of subscribers. And by keeping the content fresh, exciting, and by adding more and more instructors, the company expects to triple its revenue this year from 2011.
Many believe that online instructional videos are set apart from the usual set of music DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes because they enable teachers and students to communicate – from all over the world.
"This is part of the general trend of social media breaking down barriers between artists and fans," said David Pakman, a partner with New York venture firm Venrock.
"These new marketplaces for knowledge workers are great uses of the networked economy."
Online music instruction is nothing new. TrueFire, JamPlay and WorkshopLive all offer well known courses – but few offer or emphasize the ability to carry on a regular dialogue with instructors, said David Butler, the founder of ArtistWorks.
"Using that system, students upload to the ArtistWorks website videos of themselves playing a song, then ask instructors for feedback. Days later, they get a video response from their teachers," writes Pham.
This ability to get personal feedback from his teacher is what keeps members coming back.
And it's good for instructors too, who are able to interact with students any time they want.
ArtistWorks' teachers own the rights to the videos they produce, with some of the more popular teachers earning more than $100,000 a year, Butler said.
ArtistWorks can be found on the web at www.artistworks.com and on Twitter.