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- Anthony ‘Antz’ Robb has gained millions of followers on social media for his razor-sharp mix of memes, music, and viral video clips.
- The global influencer market is currently valued at around $8 billion, a figure that looks set to rise over the next few years.
- Imjustbait, launched in 2014, outranks some of the best known influencers in the UK online, which has led to Robb signing promo deals with the likes of Uber and ride-hailing rival Kapten.
- Robb, 22, told Business Insider about his plans to launch a music festival in Barcelona this summer, a new record label backed by Sony Music, and a host of online TV shows.
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Back in 2012, Anthony Robb couldn’t afford a smartphone.
Raised by a single father on a conveyor belt of grimy west London council estates, Robb knew money was in short supply, and that owning a phone with a camera attached was “not a priority.”
But when friends introduced him to Instagram, which had just been acquired by Facebook for a hefty $1 billion, Robb very quickly realised he wanted a piece of the action.
“I saw all these accounts and how many followers, likes, and comments they were getting,” he told Business Insider. “I was fascinated … Very quickly, I was like: ‘I could do that.'”
He recalls one friend quickly batting away the idea, laughing: “How’re you gonna do that mate? You ain’t even got a phone.”
Almost a decade later, the global influencer market is valued at around $8 billion, a figure set to rise over the next few years – and Anthony “Antz” Robb, now 22, is the voice behind one of the best known Instagram accounts in the UK: Imjustbait.
A hodgepodge of music, memes, and offbeat viral videos, Imjustbait keeps a finger on the pulse of urban British culture, mixing the silly with the serious: sobering reports of racial abuse and rising knife crime are seamlessly mixed with music videos and viral clips from “Love Island” and “Eastenders.”
At 3.7 million followers, the page outranks other British influencers like Joe Wicks, the fitness guru better known as the “Body Coach,” and TV personality Alexa Chung.
After setting the page up in 2014, Robb says he “worked day and night” to boost his follower count, quickly garnering a reputation among his peers as “that bait [meaning blatant or obvious] kid off Instagram.” He said: “It’s literally just me. From day one, nobody else has ever even had the password.”
The page’s success soon got him noticed. First, Uber approached him about a promotional deal, gaining him a commission on every follower using his unique code. And as his reach continued to grow, he started word of his influence on the world of music – news that spurred him to set up his own record label.
“I would feature clips from underground artists on the page, then next thing I’m hearing is they’ve been signed,” Robb said. “I won’t name names but I’ve heard stories of A&R guys going into meetings, literally saying: ‘Imjustbait just posted these guys, we have to sign them.'”
On the advice of his manager, Robb sought investment from Sony Music, who backed his new label, “We Are BLK,”18 months ago. He has now signed seven urban artists and plans to showcase their talent, alongside established acts like Krept & Konan and Dappy, at his Summer Crush festival in Barcelona this summer.
Robb laughs: “I just wanted to stop being the middleman and actually do something myself … Why should I be doing all the hard work for them?”
Beyond the world of music, he expresses an interest in journalism and reality TV. Imjustbait’s sister Instagram feed, Imjustnews, has gained 667,000 followers since launching in 2018, resharing the latest headlines to keep them abreast of current affairs.
“That one’s going well,” Robb says. “I’d like to have someone come in and write original stories for it one day.”
Meanwhile on YouTube, Robb says his Imjustbait channel will soon host a slew of original shows, including “Love Locked Down,” a Love Island-style reality contest set inside a prison.
“We’ve got some big plans man, I’m excited to see what people think.”
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After six years of work, Robb admits it feels strange to have positioned himself as a focal point of the culture he loved while growing up.
“A lot of people I know from back in the day can’t really believe what’s happening,” he says.
“What can I say? It’s a madness.”
Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Uber.