A paint-mixing TikTok creator starts their own business
Good morning. This week Netflix released VOIR, a series on film study directed by the YouTube creators behind Every Frame a Painting. Since the duo stopped uploading five years ago, their work has been sorely missed. It feels like digital creators are increasingly landing streaming deals–what shows are you watching that feature creators?
In Today’s Issue 💬
→ The aftermath of a creator-firing gone viral
→ How a TikTok song topped multiple U.S. music charts
→ Discord lets creators monetize their servers
How a TikTok Creator Went From Fired to Hired
Few people consider getting fired from a job a milestone worth celebrating—but for Tony Piloseno, the creator behind Tonester Paints, it was the catalyst to launch his own business.
Piloseno started the TikTok account Tonester Paints two years ago, posting videos of himself mixing paint at Sherwin-Williams, where he worked part-time. His sixth upload became his first viral video, which amassed 1 million views. He now has over 2 million followers between TikTok and YouTube.
In May 2020 he pitched a marketing deck to Sherwin-Williams corporate that proposed leveraging his TikToks to promote the brand, but his offer was declined. Two months later, he was fired for making content on the job—and the news went viral.
Job offers from competitors like Behr and Benjamin Moore subsequently came pouring in for the Ohio University student. By December 2020 he started working with Florida Paints, landing an associate sales and marketing role with the added benefit of using their manufacturing facilities to launch his own paint line.
He now sells and ships Tonester Paints in signature finishes and colors with a customization option. “I sell my product to homeowners and DIY-ers, so it is more retail, not commercial,” Piloseno said. “That’s the cool thing about the partnership with Florida paints–they’re primarily a commercial company, and this is a good avenue for them to test the homeowner and retail market.”
We hopped on the phone with Piloseno to hear more about what it’s like to start a business from TikTok. Check out our exclusive Q&A here.
There are many ways for creators to work with companies beyond just advertising. The partnership between Florida Paints and Tony Piloseno represents the future of how creators and brands will interact with each other.
How a TikTok Song Reached #1 on U.S. Music Charts
Sometimes the next great idea can be found in the comments section–that’s exactly what happened to artist GAYLE, with her TikTok-born single “abcdefu”.
Friend of the Press and newsletter writer Alice Ophelia outlined the song’s rise in a viral twitter thread. The song began as a response to a comment that read “can you write a breakup song using the alphabet?” The 17-year-old songwriter replied with the hook to “abcdefu” in July of this year.
A month later, she released the song as her first single under the label Atlantic Records and it received over 1 million Spotify streams in under 30 days. An accompanying TikTok trend soon followed, with over 900,000 videos using the song as a TikTok sound.
Earlier this week the song reached #1 on the U.S. iTunes sales chart, Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart, and Spotify’s Today’s Top Hits.
The future of content creation is multiplayer. Like GAYLE, who received an idea from her fans, creators won’t just make content for their audience, but will work together with their audience to make content as well.
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Discord Tests Monetized Servers
The new feature lets creators set up tiered perks, view analytics on member engagement, and make channels or entire servers exclusive to paying subscribers.
With Premium Memberships, Discord now competes with the platforms it currently integrates with, like Patreon and YouTube. Currently Patreon takes 5-12% of each creator’s earnings and YouTube Memberships take 30%. Discord will keep 10% of revenue.
However, it’s still unclear how the revenue split will work on mobile. Apple and Google take a cut of subscriptions and in-app purchases like this, and right now Discord is only enabling the feature through its desktop and browser clients.
When communities can entertain themselves it takes away the pressure for creators to be the center of the conversation. Because of this, active Discord communities can save creators time and now make them money too. We applaud the move.
🔥 In Other News
TikTok reveals top-performing content of the year.
Snap starts an accelerator program awarding $60k grants to minority creators.
Creator platform Super.Fans launches to help creators manage their workflow.
YouTube hosts the Streamy Awards tomorrow.
Netflix launches news website Tudum.
Thanks for reading. Which creator should we profile next? Reply with your ideas and we’ll consider them for an upcoming issue.