Utah family strikes gold, unlocks free access to YouTube studio

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RIVERTON — The Bagley family loves to sing, act and make videos — and millions of people all over the world are watching them.

Since March, their Disney-themed YouTube channel, Working With Lemons, has garnered more than 150 million hits.

"I saw 'Frozen' and I thought my sister Mia pretty much looks exactly like that Anna girl," director Robbie Bagley explained.

Their video for "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?" has more than 86 million hits alone. But turning those clicks into cash was not easy.

"We weren't even sure if we were going to get paid, because there are a lot of difficulties that come with copyrights," said Bagley, who ended up negotiating with the most famous entertainment company in the world for the rights.

On average, YouTube videos earn $1 for every 1,000 hits. While Disney takes a cut of Bagley's videos, the new family business still makes a decent profit.

Bagley said every month they've "been able to average somewhere between $7,000 to $10,000."

Not only has he unlocked Internet riches and fame, he's gained free access to YouTube's new state-of-the-art production studio in Los Angeles.

"The location is free; all of our equipment is at their disposal for free," explained Michelle Slavich, head of entertainment communications for YouTube.

YouTubers with at least 10,000 subscribers and no copyright strikes on their channel can use the studios and equipment at no cost. In fact, the more subscribers they have, the more studio time they can get.

I think (Bagley) has the hit nail on the head with the stuff he is trying to do. It feels like a family affair — playing with your siblings, but on a more epic scale.

–James Koo, Maker Studios

"It is all about having great content on our platform," Slavich said. "We know that is what audiences are coming to YouTube to see, and we are just helping to facilitate."

A lot of that great content is coming straight from the Beehive State.

"In Utah, from the talent I've seen there, it's like: 'I've got a camera, I'm passionate about this, and I'm going to do this,'" said James Koo, manager at Maker Studios.

"I think (Bagley) has the hit nail on the head with the stuff he is trying to do. It feels like a family affair — playing with your siblings, but on a more epic scale," said Koo, who is also Bagley's manager.

Bagley's youngest sister, Mia, received two offers to star on Broadway in the "Grinch Who Stole Christmas," but she turned down the role of Cindy Lou Who because she'd rather work with her family on their videos, and she's also pursuing film roles in Los Angeles.

Working With Lemons is currently working on a version of "Let It Go," which Bagley plans to release it this winter.


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