Lindsey Stirling is a talented young musician who improbably combines dance and violin in her performances. She was good enough to be a quarterfinalist on season 5 of America’s Got Talent in 2010. She was told that she wouldn’t be able to build a professional career based on her approach—her style of music was unmarketable. That would have been true just a few years ago. Her art would not have been judged mainstream enough by the traditional gatekeepers in entertainment production and distribution and it would never have received the promotion she needed to find an audience.
The disruptive combination of two technological advances has broken the old gatekeepers’ monopoly on production and distribution and connected content creators directly to audiences. Cheap production is enabled by low-cost HD cameras and editing software. Combined with cheap distribution and easy discovery through YouTube it enables artists and content creators to find their audiences directly.
Devin Graham is a young videographer who wanted to build a career creating action-adventure videos. He started out by creating a simple action video that he thought would appeal to YouTube audiences. It did—as of today it has over 4 million views. With his first success in hand, he approached companies with action-adventure oriented products and offered to make videos featuring their products for free. Over time he got the companies to help out with travel and production costs. He similarly collaborated with musicians to provide music for the videos in return for exposure.
The story gets really good here: Devin approached Lindsey after her America’s Got Talent appearance and suggested they collaborate on a music video. Eventually they did. Today it has over 5.7 million views on YouTube.
Subsequently the two have become a couple, with Devin producing both Lindsey’s artistic performance videos and his crazy action videos. Devin moved to Lindsey’s home state of Utah and they have enjoyed success in their creative endeavors ever since.
Devin and Lindsey aren’t the only successes who have arisen out this particular tech disruption. I’ve written previously about the PianoGuys, who use the same sorts of dSLR cameras and video editors as Devin to produce incredibly professional videos on very low budgets.
Here are some of Devin and Lindsey’s most popular videos:
Zelda Medley: 4.3 millon views (This was filmed just down the road from where I grew up.)
If you’re at all curious about what goes into making videos like these, it’s worth reviewing Devin’s Behind the Scenes videos. Behind The Scenes – World’s Largest Rope Swing is particularly thrilling.