In a world of movers and shakers, the ones who have found their voice — and audience — online have become the new faces of the entertainment industry. Three of those voices, Cameron Dallas, YouTube and Vine star, Tavi Gevinson, Rookie editor-in-chief and Lindsey Stirling, violinist, dancer and performing artist, shared their experiences in the new age of media, one where audience relationship and unconventionality rein supreme.
In a discussion moderated by Taylor Hanson, the three DIY entertainment moguls expressed the importance of utilizing untraditional channels to get themselves in front of an audience. An early adapter of YouTube, Stirling found that where there was no market for her act in a corporate world, she now had a space on the Internet, where differences and newness are lauded instead of pushed aside, she said.
"Record labels are going to have to change their ways. They're not the 'gatekeeper' anymore," Stirling said regarding mass tastemakers.
The gatekeeper in today's media-savvy world is the audience. Keeping and maintaining that audience relationship has been a focal point in Dallas' success. Having built a following on Instagram that transitioned to other platforms like Twitter, Vine and YouTube, Dallas found keeping a one-on-one connection whether through direct message or in-person meet-and-greets was a way to take his brand from the virtual realm to the physical one, much in the same way an actor or musician would.
"You can be a fan of someone who's not an actor, not an artist," Dallas said.
It all comes down to the ownership fans take over these multimedia tycoons, since the consumers themselves have become the "gatekeepers" in discovery. Gevinson's writing style — vulnerable, based on true coming-of-age experiences, not "preying on insecurities" of fans — was what built the connection between the readers' web unearthing of Rookie and their continued return to the site.
"Loneliness is this great unifier," Gevinson said. "It's a really heartening type of connection."