AKA Riffshop


David was the prototypical starving artist - he struggled to make a livable income as a musician for years.

Through Jumpcut (and over 8 months and 36+ videos later) Riffshop finally found it’s calling: Creating Death Metal Songs about Anime.

Using Viral Academy’s monetization strategies, they make over $60k in yearly revenue from only 60 thousands subscribers, and have one of the top 20 biggest musician Patreons on the planet.

Growth Rate: Riffshop
These are real success stories from our students, but you should not expect the same results. Building an online business (and/or YouTube channel) takes hard work, dedication, and significant time. There is no guarantee that you will be successful or make any amount of money. Students featured in dedicated testimonial videos were compensated.

A Starving Artist’s Struggle

It’s always been David’s dream to become a full-time musician. In the past, he worked as a marketing automation consultant, but never felt truly fulfilled by his work.

Music was his one true passion in life.

Touring cities, making great music, being creative, having tons of adoring fans -- he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

But as much as he loved music, there was a huge roadblock standing in the way:

Unknown artists barely make any money.

In fact, when you’re traveling city to city in an old, rusty van just to play in front of 10, maybe 20, people a night, it’s nearly impossible to pay the bills.

That’s not even including paying for gas, promoters, bookers, etc. You just can’t make a decent living like that, and David learned that the hard way.

If he was going to ever realize his dreams, David had to find another path.

YouTube: A Road to a Profitable Future

That path never became clear until David and his friend Harshyt stumbled across Jumpcut.

The duo had been longtime fans of Kong and Jesse -- two guys who had fundamentally changed their lives via YouTube and who had amassed over 500M views personally -- and that’s why signing up for Viral Academy was a no-brainer.

Thus, Riffshop, the YouTube channel, was born. And with the help of Viral Academy, they knew they had all the tactics, tools, and resources they needed for success.

But that was just the beginning of their story.

Like most people first starting their own channel, Riffshop struggled at first.

For instance, they had no idea how to edit videos, so it took them an entire month to learn it before putting out their first piece of content. Jumpcut provided them all the editing resources they needed to learn, but they still needed to put in a ton of time to practice.

On top of that, they didn’t see much growth for the first 8 months, only managing to release a couple videos with 10,000 or more views here and there.

That’s when they realized the one big problem holding them back: They didn’t have a clear channel direction. There was no common thread throughout all their content.

The Advice that Changed it All

Given this problem, David went to the one place he knew he could find an answer: the Viral Academy forum. He says the community “literally changed his life.”

“Of course the marketing hacks definitely helped a lot initially, but I think the community, through the forums, has been the thing that has made me feel not alone in the journey. Having a group of people all united and focused on helping each other out has been a huge asset. Not to mention seeing their success and sharing strategies really helps out.”

That support was especially vital during the early struggles of Riffshop. If it were not for the forum, David would never have stumbled upon a post from Jesse, who advised another student to think about how they can have “mass appeal” in their videos.

This triggered a lightbulb moment for David.

He thought: how was Riffshop going to make the small niche of death metal appealing to way more people?

This lead to brainstorming a bunch of ideas:

  • Death Metal teaching HTML
  • Death Metal teaching people how to drive stick Shift
  • Death Metal songs about cereal (yeah, seriously.)

These weren’t bad ideas. In fact, they did pretty well:

Despite the success, something still felt missing.

The duo loved Death Metal, but these video topics didn’t feel like the type of content they would enjoy working on, week after week. (It’s hard to be super passionate about breakfast cereal, you know?)

At the same time, they knew their video success all came down to “mixing together” two polar opposite topics. That’s what the “Remix Strategy” they learned from Jumpcut taught them. Typically, their winning mix was: Death Metal + _______.

And without filling in the blank they would be pretty screwed, since their videos relied on this contrast to drive significant views and virality.

The challenge then became figuring out what was equally as enjoyable as Death Metal to David and Harshyt.

And that’s when it hit them: Anime Death Metal songs.

David and Harshyt were huge fans of Anime and Death Metal. It made perfect sense to combine the two.

Upon this realization, they brought on Sean (another Anime superfan) as their lead vocalist and got to work.

They first tested their concept using the Jumpcut Peer Review system, where their fellow students gave extremely encouraging feedback:

Vincent12 - 82/100

“I thoroughly enjoyed the song. I thought the lyrics and anime references were well thought out, the tune is catchy.”

Reigo - 96/100

“Man the execution is on point, from the hook till the end, I love it!”

Nader - 76/100

“You have yourself something truly special here man and this is coming from someone who isn't even a big fan of that type of music or shows. Keep it up, I subscribed!”

As these students predicted, this new concept was a smashing hit:

mikey-1That’s Sean, by the way.

Riffshop had finally found it’s calling.

Master Music Monetizers, Starving No More

Today, Riffshop is a full-time online music business. David now dedicates all his time to Riffshop.

No more corporate, 9-5 time spent slaving away at a job he doesn’t love.

No more painstaking wait for the weekends and dreading every Monday.

No more struggling to make music profitable.

How? With the monetization advice found inside Viral Academy, they’re now killing it on Patreon.

On top of making over $1,900 via Patreon for every video they create, they’ve had:

  • Multiple viral videos w/ over 1 million views:
    • Death Metal Cereal - 2.5 Million views
    • How to Drive Stick Shift (Explained with Death Metal) - 9.3 Million views
    • Going to the Gym - Explained Using Death Metal - 1.1 Million views
    • Weaboos Explained using Death Metal - 2.3 Million views
  • Brand deals w/ Dollar Shave, IGN, and CB3 Audio.
  • Multiple videos appear on front page of Reddit, and stayed there all day, driving over 500,000 views to their channel.

But their achievements go far beyond just their surface level accomplishments. See, Riffshop has created a family out of their online fan base and community.

A family that:

  • Regularly texts each other
  • Meets up for lunch
  • Has been invited to David’s house to hang out

If that seems crazy to you, consider this:

Their 8 most hardcore fans each donate $100 per video they make.

mikey-2Holy shit is right.

Pretty crazy, right?

Now, maybe you’re wondering: What’s it like to finally “make it” as a musician? Well, just ask David himself.

“I feel very spiritually fulfilled. The lows are lows but the highs are higher than anything else I’ve ever felt…I don’t think I’ve ever felt so empowered in my life.”

David feels he’s successfully taken out all the negatives of being a touring musician.

And he can still be goofy.

And he can make good music.

And he can have loads of fun.

David can proudly say he took a risk to pursue something greater than himself, and he’s never been happier.

The best part?

It’s only the beginning for Riffshop.

They recently launched their first digital product, a singing course, with the help of Jumpcut's online business course: Automated Income Machine.

And they absolutely crushed it.


In a week and a half long launch, he made over $10,000 from selling his first course.

And that’s just the beginning. David’s working on creating an even larger YouTube Audience as well as creating new products to expand his online business.

Interested in learning more about selling digital products? Check out our free training series here.

David’s Advice to You

We asked what David’s one piece of advice would be. Here’s what he said:

“Try to create great content as often as possible, even if you can only manage once a month. Without it, we’d never be able to get on the front page of Reddit or convince over 400 people to donate to our Patreon.”

Riffshop is proof that you don’t need to be the next Alex Aiono to have a successful music career on YouTube. Don’t be obsessed with the subscriber numbers or view counts. There are smarter ways to make a sustainable living, even with only 50k subscribers.

Build a deep, deep relationship with your audience and make them your family. Do so, and they’ll reward you 10 fold.

If your a musician that wants to beat the “traditional path,” and finally fulfill a lifelong dream, check out our YouTube 101 crash course: