When I wrote about democratized gatekeeping, I meant to include this link to Ryan Leslie describing his early videos on YouTube. He says:
“Traditional channels of distribution, they seemed as though they had quite a few barriers. As much as I felt like I was talented enough that I could have my own MTV special, the minute I saw that YouTube was allowing people to actually just broadcast whatever they wanted to broadcast in the same way that Instagram allows people to curate their lives today, I said, ‘Look I’ll just take advantage of that have my own television channel.’”
Ryan was an early adopter of internet video. He’s well known for being on YouTube over a decade ago and applying the behind the scenes format to his videos, focusing specifically on his creative process in the studio:
I really appreciate when artists leave their early work up (see Seth Godin’s and Gary Vaynerchuk’s here, Emma Chamberlain’s here), and Ryan has kept some of these available, artifacts of his commitment to making a video every day while he worked as an emerging artist.
Ryan’s production team and capabilities have really levelled up over time, culminating in a short film accompanying his album (made in 6 days!).
See also making a movie, what parasocial relationships teach us, the rise of celebrity-based courses, and my apprenticeship with Ryan Leslie.