The Success Behind the Cut x Cody Ko Collab 🤝

Why the media brand is leaning into talent integration

Good morning. Today, we’re thinking about the small things that really aren’t small at all. We were inspired by Epic Gardening creator Kevin Espiritu, who recently shared that he got employee health benefits for the first time (after paying out of pocket for coverage since he was 18) now that Epic Gardening is big enough to offer benefits like insurance to employees. What are some seemingly small (yet really big) milestones you hope to reach as a creator?

The Business Strategy Behind the Cody Ko x Cut Collaboration

Cody Ko took over the voice of “The Button,” the host of Cut’s popular speed-dating show of the same title / Cut

Last month, entertainment YouTube channel Cut hosted comedian Cody Ko as a guest on its popular video series, The Button. We spoke with Cut to understand what made the partnership work so well.

Backstory: Cut has made a name for itself (and amassed 11 million subscribers over nine years) making shows about social experiments like guessing people’s income on Lineup, probing for secrets on Truth or Drink, and accepting or rejecting dates in real time on The Button.

The popularity of these viral series has inspired a sub-niche of creators reacting to Cut content—and Ko has led the pack. His The Button reaction videos are some of the highest-performing on his Cody & Ko channel, often receiving upwards of 3 million views per reaction video. 

  • “His humor adds value for his audience and even helped us when we were in the studio,” Cut CEO Chris Rudy told us. 

  • “Those episodes can often be intense because of the way people treat each other sometimes, but because Cody’s whole schtick is giving people these little jabs it actually made the whole thing more fun,” Rudy said.

The collab details: Ko worked with Cut on three videos, two of which have been released on Cut’s channel. For Cut, the tie-in is a means of expanding its reach to other audiences and genres. 

“In order for us to create content that’s on brand we need [talent] to be real and give us some unique insight, and in the last year we’ve really leaned into that,” Rudy said. Cut recently filmed with comedian Bobby Lee, the cast of Selling Sunset, and actors from Outer Banks.

“We have big dreams of developing for TV, which is something that we’ve done for years but it’s a very difficult, slow process,” Rudy said. “And I think finding a way to integrate talent into our brand really helps with that.”

Platform Roundup: Shopping Edition

Linktree launches a custom Store link for creators to link images on their page directly to other shopping links / Linktree

Ahead of Black Friday next week, ecommerce platforms have been looking to creators and social media to gain a competitive edge in early holiday shopping.

Here’s the rundown:

  • Amazon made two separate deals with Snap and Meta that will allow users to purchase Amazon products directly from ads on those respective apps.

  • In addition to subsidizing product discounts for all sellers (meaning creators and brands alike) through Black Friday, TikTok Shop is also offering other seller incentives like ad credits, customer coupons, and reduced fulfillment charges.

  • Linktree launched a custom Store link feature that allows creators to link images directly on their Linktree pages. Creators can then use those linked images to direct fans to shops, affiliate storefronts, or other platforms.

Zoom out: Black Friday is one of the biggest spending events of the year, and these tools could provide support for commerce-driven creators with a product to sell. But as the rise of de-influencing continues, some creators are pulling back this season amid mixed reviews of TikTok Shop and recommendation fatigue.

TikTok Makes Its Mark on the Grammys

Songs popularized on TikTok make a showing on the Grammy nominations list / Illustration by Moy Zhong

Last week, the Recording Academy released its 2024 Grammy Award nominations—and TikTok’s not-so-subtle influence on the year’s top music was front and center.

Some of the top TikTok-grown nominees:

  • Noah Kahan for Best New Artist. The folk singer grew wildly popular on TikTok over the last year for songs like “Stick Season” and “Dial Drunk,” both of which have tallied millions of views.

  • Water” by Tyla for Best African Music Performance. The song inspired 1.2M creator videos on TikTok largely thanks to the #tylawater challenge, which has 900+ million views.

Big picture: TikTok has upended the typical discovery process for breakout artists and songs. But it’s worth noting—many artists still struggle to find an audience and earn their moment in the sun on the app. As such, some artists have found themselves forced to manufacture hits for TikTok that they know the algorithm will like, creating tension between the platform and music industry at large.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Pokimane launches a snack line.

  • Ali Abdaal vlogs the process of making an audiobook.

  • Taja AI, a tool for YouTubers that auto generates titles, descriptions, chapters, and more with the click of a button, is offering 30% off your first month with promo code PP30Taja.*

  • Valkyrae signs with WME.

  • 92% of brands are increasing their creator budgets in 2024, according to a new report from LTK.

  • Ari Cagan releases the first episode of his TikTok show, Cobell Energy.

  • Complete this creator survey for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Takes less than 2 minutes.

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