Hip-hop star, Drake, just signed a multi-year deal with an up-and-coming broadcasting company. Caffeine is a live-streaming platform that is trying to compete with Twitch and YouTube, the leading live video streaming services in the world.
Drake is jumping on board to help launch a rap battle channel. Caffeine will collaborate with the Ultimate Rap League, a popular YouTube channel. Drake will stream rap battles and try to push more content out into the mainstream. Battle rap is currently a pay-per-view offering, much like fight nights and pro wrestling.
Caffeine has a long way to go to get on par with Twitch. The Amazon-backed platform has 15 million daily visitors. In company founder Ben Keighran’s words, Twitch’s success depends on 50 pro gamers. Caffeine, on the other hand, wants to build a new community from the ground up that brings together the spheres of gaming, sports, and entertainment.
How Caffeine is Different
Caffeine has a lot going for it right now. The company was founded in 2016 by the aforementioned Keighran, a former Apple designer and serial entrepreneur. It has since raised $146 million, $100 million of which came from 21st Century Fox.
Caffeine launched last November and continues to gain momentum. While other channels rely on live streamers pumping out daily content, Caffeine gives its partners liberty to stream less frequently and with greater intention. The platform itself is also slick and minimalistic, which is obviously inspired by Apple’s design tenets.
When on the site, the home page features a clean vertical scroll that highlights the platform’s top stars, trending content, and topic-specific channels. You can also see upcoming streams according to your time zone. The platform is free to join and offers lag-free content. There are no ads, and chatting with friends is easy.
Pop Culture Worlds Colliding
This isn’t the first time Drake is grabbing headlines in the live-streaming world. In March 2018, he streamed alongside Ninja, a Fortnite mega-star, who recently left to join Mixer. The duo’s stunt got more than 600,000 views, which set a new record for a single Twitch stream at the time.
With Drake on board, Caffeine is ready to capture the attention of the world. The icon is likely to be the headlining act. “Drake, if you look at his career in the last ten years, is defined as the biggest artist in the world,” said Keighran. “He’s free to do whatever he wants.”
Drake is apparently on board at a fraction of the price that he could get working with other tech giants in the streaming space. Keighran hasn’t disclosed details, but he hinted that Caffeine is incentivizing Drake’s participation in both monetary and non-monetary ways.
Caffeine works with other celebrities and athletes as well. The rapper and Migos member, Offset, hosts several variety shows and plays titles, like “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.” Doja Cat is also on board for The Sims 4.
Doron Nir, the CEO of StreamElements, characterizes Caffeine’s strategy as akin to becoming the “Coachella of live streaming.” Music and gaming currently draw the most views overall. By teaming up with hip-hop legends who love gaming, the platform recognizes the huge cross-section of viewers that is up for grabs.