Book deals once followed discussions between authors, agents and publishers, involving meetings punctuated by tobacco, strong coffee and the occasional affair. Publishing contracts of the future, however, could be sealed by unfeeling YouTube-watching robots.
Pan Macmillan, part of Macmillan, which signed Thomas Hardy and Rudyard Kipling, will use TalentAI, a video-tracking platform powered by artificial intelligence, to try to find tomorrow’s talent on social media sites such as YouTube and Instagram.
TalentAI, which was created by the British company Instrumental, identifies “creators” with fast-growing audiences and analyses the demographics of those audiences to predict commercial success. Shortlisted artists are assessed by human scouts before they are recommended.
The platform has previously been used in the music industry and discovered the singer Calum Scott’s YouTube cover of Robyn’s Dancing on my Own. It was released through Instrumental’s own label and was the 12th biggest-selling single by a British artist last year, reaching No 2 in the charts. Scott, 28, was then signed by Capitol records.