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Q&A: iWantEmpire Artists Rule a Vast Kingdom

Q&A: iWantEmpire Artists Rule a Vast Kingdom

iWantEmpire wants it all. So do its iWantClips artists. There is a fire in their eyes, an edgy swagger and a devil-may-care dare to their step, because theirs is not a kingdom that has ruled for centuries, resting on its laurels and supping on grapes as they recline on well-worn thrones. Theirs is a rebellious crusade, taking on all comers and lighting legacies on fire to seize the crown.

And the moment they have conquered a new-found territory, securing its borders with high-tech advances and flamboyant marketing, iWantEmpire’s royalty sharpens their seductive weaponry for the next battlefield.

What I can promise you is that my team and I are working harder than we’ve ever worked. We are building better than we have ever built. We are using some of the most advanced code and architecture ever conceived. We have something truly amazing coming for independent artists.

Led by visionary CEO Jay Phillips, who co-founded the company with his queen, Bratty Nikki, iWantClips wields a myriad of iWant brands spanning radio, custom clips, phone texting and subscription-based social feed services.

Much has transpired in the magnificent iWantEmpire domain, since the exclusive executive interview with Phillips in the February issue of XBIZ World. Riding high on branding momentum from XBIZ Miami, where iWantClips soared on a blimp, emblazoned the luxurious Mondrian Hotel pool in South Beach Miami and dominated clips panels with serious knowledge, the company shows no signs of slowing its pace.

Aiming to make 2018 to 2019 a banner year like never before, iWantEmpire sheds light on its grand plans in this exclusive company profile.

XBIZ: Since the genesis of iWantClips.com four years ago, what have been the most noteworthy quantum leaps in your multifaceted platform’s aggressive evolution as a power player?

Phillips: Great question, I would have to say in the early days it was introducing technology updates to better the existing flow of operations. Things like introducing digital signatures and online agreements — thereby rendering scanners and printers obsolete for the signup process.

Then, came things like adding live chat and integrated ticketing systems behind the scenes so we maintain superior customer service. As artists ourselves, so many of these updates were long-standing necessities we had been needing for years, such as daily and biweekly payouts, products like Chargeback Protection to provide artists with a predictable income each month.

At this point in the game though, I would say that being motivated as an artist, for artists, is what sets us apart from anyone else in the game. Anyone can say they care about the artists and they are a “for artists, by artists site,” but Nikki and I show that we actually care about artists. It’s not just a press release or marketing angle.

XBIZ: How have you fostered such fierce brand loyalty in your iWantEmpire clip artists, many of whom regularly evangelize on your behalf via social media and trade shows?

Phillips: Artists who use iWantClips and our platforms know we have their back. I would give the shirt off my back if it would accelerate the career of an iWantEmpire artist and they know that. We were started for artists, by artists. iWantClips isn’t just another site to work on, it’s a lifestyle.

It makes a statement about the artists and their values, that they deserve the best! We’ve worked hard to procure some of the best customers on the internet — couple that with the most dedicated management team and you have a company that truly cares about the artist!

I personally care about each and every artist’s brand on our sites as if they were my wife’s. We are respectful of our artists and careful to never let our dedication ever be confused for anything more than that. Case in point, we have a very strict no fraternizing, flirting and especially no dating between iWantEmpire staff and artists — I am very fortunate to have met my wife before starting in this business. We are here to help the artist succeed — that is the only way we can realize success as iWantEmpire!

XBIZ: iWantEmpire was named 2018 XBIZ Progressive Web Company of the Year in January, and your momentum has continued very strongly these past six months. What initiatives have made this year even bigger than the last already?

Phillips: Towards the last half of 2017 I had gotten too focused on my competitors, what they were up to and therefore what iWantEmpire should be up to. This was a mistake. 2018 has me back on track, just like I was in 2013, about to disrupt the entire industry all over again — a year of careful planning, strategizing and behind-the-scenes construction.

What I can promise you is that my team and I are working harder than we’ve ever worked. We are building better than we have ever built. We are using some of the most advanced code and architecture ever conceived. We have something truly amazing coming for independent artists.

I wish I could be more specific on the “what” and “when,” but the “why” is clear — because it is time for something much bigger and better. It is time for a site that can fulfill the dreams, goals and desires of every independent artist out there regardless of their genre or current approach.

XBIZ: Talk about your strategy for garnering mainstream buzz, given the fact that iWantEmpire has appeared in everything from Rolling Stone to Allure, and even had a billboard on Sunset Boulevard.

Phillips: My strategy for garnering mainstream media buzz isn’t to garner it for myself, but rather the brands that make up iWantEmpire. iWantClips is our primary brand to market, yet most of what you will hear out there is iWantEmpire.

iWantClips is the clip site and our most well-known platform, yet it’s iWantEmpire that is pushed most often. iWantEmpire isn’t a platform, but rather the physical result of all of our independent artists’ unified success!

We build individual brands and push artists. We are investing a lot into our artists’ brands this year to really take that exposure to the next level.

XBIZ: Describe the kinds of marketing tools that iWantEmpire provides to clip artists. Which ones have proven most effective and popular?

Phillips: We provide all of our artists with tools to make their own promotional banners, coupons and markup coupons — because we don’t believe in discounting our artists work, we provide widgets to place clip galleries and custom clip order forms on the artists’ websites. We also provide branded iWantEmpire social media headers, custom graphics and vanity domains for the artists.

XBIZ: How do you balance incorporating feedback from clip artists and customers on iWantEmpire features, with sticking to your guns and rolling out risk-taking updates?

Phillips: We greatly value artist and fan feedback. That is like gold to us! It’s not so much balancing the incorporation of their ideas and our ideas — it’s about integrating all of those ideas together to provide the best result.

I never end up fully building what I conceive because it gets added to along the process. A lot of the time, the same can be said of artist and fan suggestions. Very rarely do we build them just like that, we often add to them as we plan their development.

XBIZ: Take a moment to spotlight a few of your top iWantEmpire clip artists. What makes their brands so special?

Phillips: What a difficult question, to have to limit this to just a few, as there are so many amazing artists making up the iWantEmpire. Hmm, well off the top of my head I would have to say:

Violet Doll — she is truly at the top of her game and deservingly so. I believe she provides her fans with something they just can’t find anywhere else. Violet Doll is one of the most creative, passionate and dedicated businesswomen in the clip game right now and it shows.

Latex Barbie — another brilliant artist whose style and creativity is just amazing and unlike anyone else out there. She is someone whose creativity knows no limits.

Goddess Sunshine — I haven’t had the pleasure to actually meet Goddess Sunshine yet, but she is catching a lot of attention with her rise to success and I love it! The fans clearly love this girl’s content as they can’t help but purchase every clip she produces!

Goddess Virgin — another newcomer to the platform who I had the pleasure of meeting in Miami. Goddess Virgin is a genuinely delightful person who exudes confidence, creativity and success. I can see why she is succeeding and imagine her doing so for a very long time!

XBIZ: What new endeavors is iWantEmpire focusing on, to truly cement 2018 as a banner year for the company?

Phillips: June is the end of the second quarter of business for this year, so the actions we took last year are being realized today. What myself and the team are working on now will be realized in 2019 and beyond. I can assure you 2019 will be a banner year for all of us.

As for 2018, you will be seeing iWantFanClub continue to grow. We are so proud how fast that site has grown, how much additional income it is making our artists and where it is trending to!

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