VENICE, Calif. – Launching a new single usually requires money, connections and luck. But for James Maslow all it takes is about 10 seconds and an iPhone.
On a warm September afternoon, Maslow, a singer and actor, fired up his Instagram account to give his fans a taste of his latest project.
“You guys, the first tease of LTX’s new track, ‘Did You Forget,’ hit it!” he told his millions of fans, as his longtime friend and producer Eugene Ugorski hit the keyboard.
A quick snippet of his song was all his fans would get… for now. The rest would be available for purchase online a few days later.
Artists like Maslow are quickly becoming Hollywood’s hottest commodity. They have talent, looks and drive, but what sets them apart is their carefully cultivated, intensely loyal army of fans.
“There are networks that have fewer viewers that I can have when I go live, when I do a single post,” Maslow said, “ and I’ve always looked at that as freedom.
The entertainment industry is going through an evolution of sorts, according to Adam Wescott, whose firm, Select Management Group, represents some of the industry’s top digital talents.
Wescott says casting directors these days are increasingly looking for performers with a robust social media presence.
“It becomes a marketing tool, it becomes a potential revenue opportunity and it becomes a direct-to-consumer chance to speak to an audience,” Wescott said.
Maslow has a combined 8 million followers, a built-in audience that can generate enormous buzz, not to mention ticket sales.
“Now I’m able to launch my passion project and to do what I really want to do with millions of people paying attention,” Maslow said.
Maslow’s passion project is a new band called LTX — an electronic dance music duo in collaboration with Ugorski.
“Did You Forget,” their first single, is specifically designed to be blasted though big speakers at dance clubs around the world.
“This is the type of music I’ve always enjoyed. When I go to festivals whether it be Coachella or Outside Lands, I tend to go to the tents where I can dance,” Maslow said.
The song is the culmination of a life-long dream that started on Nickelodeon’s hit show Big Time Rush, where he played a boy-band member — a gig that took him all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
“We were actually introduced as the gift to president Obama’s children,” Maslow said.
Now he hopes to build on his success with the help of a few million friends.