Just 15 months ago, a group of independent filmmakers and amateur actors were able to spark a digital revolution with a groundbreaking new web series. The debut episode of Money & Violence was published on the Cloud9TV YouTube channel on August 7, 2014. Since then, the Brooklyn-based program has drawn 25 million total views from the nearly 50 videos posted online.
A trailer for season 2 of Money & Violence hit the internet in May, and fans immediately got excited for the street saga’s return. Over 14,000 loyal followers even donated over $90,000 to a crowdsourcing campaign in order to assist with the funding for the next set of episodes.
Then this summer rumors began circulating the Cloud9TV team planned to move their crime drama to the Jay Z led Tidal streaming platform. But it was not until T.I. helped make the announcement at the “TIDAL X: 1020” concert earlier this month that the deal was publicly confirmed.
The main cast members of M&V werealso on hand at the Barclays Center that night as director/writer/actor Moise “Moetivation” Verneau told the crowd, “Season 2, January 2016 on Tidal. Brooklyn we did it.”
Tidal subscribers will get to see the storylines of Rafe (Moe), Miz (Ray Guercy), Kane (Ace General), and Shane (Du) unfold on a weekly basis. The entertainment site is also providing other exclusive Money & Violence content such as video extras and a music playlist.
AllHipHop.com connected with Moe Verneau to get the self-taught filmmaker’s thoughts on partnering with Tidal. In addition, the co-CEO of Cloud9TV discusses the future of his brand, what viewers can expect in season 2 of Money & Violence, and a conversation he had with Jay Z about business.
[ALSO READ: ‘Money & Violence’ Season 2 To Premiere On Tidal]
What sparked the decision to team up with Tidal?
My managers had a long-standing relationship with a lot of the people over at [Jay Z owned] Roc Nation. The deal with Tidal cultivated from that relationship.
Will this new deal have any affect on the content of the show?
Not at all. We structured a deal that allowed us to retain 100% of ownership and all creative control.
Some fans weren’t sure what would happen to the series once it got connected to a corporate structure. There were also others who were concerned that because Money & Violence is on Tidal they won’t be able to watch it. How will you be able to keep your fan base that may not be subscribers to Tidal?
The deal with Tidal is structured in a way that they have exclusivity for a limited amount of time. The episodes will come out on Tidal first, then after a week we’re able to put it up on whichever platform that we want. I made sure to keep in mind all of my day one viewers, so they won’t feel left out.
At the end of the first season, a lot of the characters’ storylines were starting to cross, and the audience was left with a couple of cliffhangers. Not to ask for any spoilers, but can the audience expect for the story to pick right back up as season 2 begins?
It should pick right back up. We’re going into a couple of other things as well, like back stories of the characters. That’s just to familiarize the audience with - not only who the characters are - but why they’re the way they are.
Can we expect new characters?
Have any celebrities asked to do cameos?
Not at the moment, but the celebrity cameos are something that I’m entertaining - if I can find a way that still feels natural. It’s not anything that I’m leaning on, but it’s something that I’m entertaining. So anything is possible at the moment.
Another big part of the show was the music component. Will your connection with Tidal and Roc Nation generate anything new as far as the music’s relationship to the series?
We’re looking into doing a soundtrack that we will release with season 2, but that’s something totally outside of Tidal.
You’ve been able to build a great brand with Money & Violence. Are you looking to expand Cloud9TV out to do other series or ventures?
We’re entertaining the idea of turning Cloud9TV into a platform to help other filmmakers present their content.
A couple of months ago you posted a picture with you and Jay Z on Instagram. You’ve mentioned before that Jay is a fan of the series, and he’s obviously connected to Tidal. Were you ever able to get advice from him about business?
We had a conversation. We spoke about so many different things. He’s a very informed person, and the things that he has accomplished during his career are phenomenal.
One thing he said was, “Stay true to your art.” I told him, “We don’t really chase the money." I believe that if you fall in love with the journey then you’ll reach your destination. The money’s going to come regardless.
Jay was telling me that’s one of the best ways to think, because at the end of the day when you’re focused on the money, you miss a lot of other things.
Can you speak on how being independent and having creative control over your content affects the art that’s created?
I think it’s great for the art. One of the things I hope people take from this is that the internet is such an amazing resource to get information.
For example, I never stepped foot behind a camera in my life. I never knew how to edit. I learned how to edit off of YouTube tutorials, and we use the internet to distribute the content. Because of the internet, you don’t necessarily have to wait for anyone else to project your art to the world.
That’s how I felt at the beginning. I said, “If it’s good, it’s good. And it will be received.” With the internet, everything is in your hands. Nothing can stop you. You can only stop yourself.
Money & Violence season 2 is scheduled to premiere on Tidal in January 2016.
Money & Violence season 1 and exclusive extra content is available now on Tidal.com.
Watch the trailer for Money & Violence season 2 below.