In late 2006, a few months after TuneCore was born, a then unknown artist named Liam used TuneCore to distribute an album. At that time, despite TuneCore having a staff of only three full time people (Gary, Peter and myself) this one album did not catch our attention until the sales statements from iTunes showed up. In October, 2006, this one album from an artist I never hear of sold over 20,000 songs.
I had no idea how or why, but being up to my neck in trying to keep the wheels on our new company, I forgot about it. Over the next three months this artist sold over 100,000 songs from this one album. I had to figure it out.
I spoke with my friends at Apple and asked if they featured the album, they had not. I Googled his album and song name. The first link that popped up was to a video on YouTube of his song called “Shoes” . So I clicked it and watched. It had already been viewed over 5 million times.
Now I got it.
Whether you like his work or not, it cannot be denied that Liam Sullivan – aka Kelly – is a cultural phenomenon. Since he first uploaded his video “Shoes” To YouTube four years ago it has been viewed tens of millions of times. From there Liam got offered a role on VH1’s short lived TV show “I hate my 30’s”, turned down record label deals, toured the country opening for Margret Cho, ended up in the Weezer “Pork and Beans” video, won the 2008 People’s Choice Award in the user generated video category, got hired to write, produce, direct and star in webisodes, created numerous characters (from Kelly to Dr. Ulee Sex Therapist) and has the distinction of being one of the best selling TuneCore Artists of all time with over 2,000,000 songs sold from his album “Shoes”.
Not bad for a guy that shot his own video and uploaded it to YouTube.
About a year after Liam had TuneCore distribute his album, he was appearing in NY at a comedy club and was kind enough to invite me to see the show and have dinner afterwards. I accepted his offer and asked him what prompted the invite, he stated he wanted to thank me as TuneCore allowed him to make a living.
I was not certain what to expect at dinner, all I really knew about Liam at that time was the characters I saw on-line. Turns out, in addition to being funny, Liam is just a straight up nice guy – genuinely.
A few months later, I had an idea I felt rather sheepish about, I was wondering if Liam would consider creating a webisode of some sort that mentioned or promoted TuneCore. We talked about it, but nothing really came about, until two years later when I was asked to moderate a panel at the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo in Los Angeles.
I asked Liam if he would be interested in appearing as a panelist. He said yes, but then asked if I was still interested in him writing/producing/directing some webisodes for TuneCore. I jumped at the chance.
Liam sent back an idea for a talk show called The Showiest Show – in his words “I’m having a friend go over the treatment with me, should have it polished and ready tomorrow. I’m taking it into the realm of “Tonight Show” meets “Pee Wee Herman”.
And so he did. Teaming up with his friend Barry McLaughlin – fellow writer/producer/director/actor – a treatment was written.
Two months later, a cast and crew of 30 people put in 14 hours to shoot three four minute webisodes of The Showiest Show with your host Barry Holiday, sponsored by TuneCore.
The first 30-second “trailer” is now live and ready to be viewed here.
And yes, that’s Barry McLaughlin as Barry Holiday with Liam appearing as both Kelly in one webisode and as the rather intimidating side kick in all of them.
The full webisodes will be rolling out later this month.
I wanted to give a heartfelt thank you to Liam, Barry and the other 28 other cast and crew members, THANK YOU!