Tyler, the Creator is primarily known as a musician, having sold half a million records in his career, including his newest, “Cherry Bomb.”
But Tyler, real name Tyler Okonma, is not content to just rap or produce his own beats.
He also has his own clothing line, his own annual carnival and music festival in Los Angeles, his own show on Cartoon Network, and, until recently, a Los Angeles-based store with his Odd Future collective.
Now he wants all of his prolific output to be available on one platform. On April 8, Tyler released his Golf Media app, which gives users direct access to videos, photos, clothing, music, articles, tour dates, other events, and pretty much anything he likes, sidestepping the typical segmented avenues of distribution.
“We’re cutting out the middleman of how businesses work and allowing people like myself to just get straight to the point of whatever we do,” Tyler said of the app at a Code Media talk earlier this year. “I’m creating my own network.”
Also at that talk was Lloyd Braun, CEO of Whalerock Industries, who helped develop the app. “If all of a sudden there was no media, and we were going to start it today, in 2015, does anyone believe we’d have the archaic system that we have?” Braun said. “You wouldn’t. You can connect directly to fans.”
Tyler has a cult-like following, with 2.4 million followers on Twitter and 1.6 million more on Instagram. According to Tyler’s manager, Christian Clancy, the app attracted more subscribers on its first day than Jay-Z’s Tidal app.
Subscribers to the app also get access to exclusive events around the country. While on the tour for his new album, Tyler has been doing movie pop-ups in select theatres in certain cities, showing movies selected by him, inspired by his plan to one day own his own theatre.
We recently attended one of these movie events in New York City and learned even more about how the app connects the iPhone to real life.
A line had formed well before the event was scheduled to start, with some people arriving as early as 8 or 9 in the morning (according to one of the security guards) for the early-afternoon event. The line ended up being more than 150 people long, all of them subscribers to the app.
Eventually a couple of staff members came around and scanned unique barcodes within each person’s app before giving out wristbands.
Tyler was there to greet fans near the entrance to the theatre with high fives, handshakes, and hugs. After about 15 minutes, he got on stage to give a brief introduction and to show a short trailer for the app.
For this event, Tyler chose the film “Zoolander,” which, we have to say, still holds up very well 14 years later (which is probably good, considering a sequel is scheduled to be released next year).
After the movie ended, a one-on-one interview with Tyler began. It was hosted and mediated by Shane Powers, who runs a radio program on the Golf Media app called “The Shane Show.” The conversation between the two quickly turned into a Q&A session with the audience.
The session lasted an hour — Tyler was set to perform his concert a few hours after that. His app gave special access to the concert as well. If you had a wristband from the event, you were moved to a special line, where we got in the venue in a matter of five minutes. The app’s benefits and potential are endless.
For prolific and multi-talented artists such as Tyler, the Creator, with not only dedicated fan bases but also the ability to build their own world, this could be an interesting new realm to explore in the digital world. We look forward to seeing the future of platforms like this that allow for direct contact and distribution between artist and fans.