Swoozie (real name Adande Thorne) can boast a high-profile collaboration with fellow ‘Tuber Michelle Phan, whose face you can now see all over New York City due to a recent ad campaign funded by YouTube. However, their joint channel’s been inactive for a couple of years now, and Thorne told Rhett & Link why on “Ear Biscuits.”
How Thorne and Phan met is a long story, but their meeting did encourage the former to become a YouTube partner. When Phan told Thorne just how profitable the job could be (and how unique it was that YouTube reached out to him) he reconsidered after an initial hesitation and thus, the career he has today.
The pair’s joint journey on the platform further unfolded with their mutual appreciation of video games. However, neither really featured gaming on their respective channels. When you’ve created a particular image for your brand on YouTube, you can’t suddenly diverge from beauty, in Phan’s case, to start playing “Halo.”
After meeting at a Los Angeles party in 2010, Thorne and Phan decided to start a channel together where they could showcase their passion for gaming. Called Press Start, the collaboration ended up blowing up both Thorne and Phan’s individual channels, a huge benefit of collaborating with another, known YouTuber because it allows you to share fans. The two started getting each other’s subscribers, and reaping further success from working as a team.
The downside to playing video games on the platform lay in the difficulty of securing licensing. “At the time, nobody was doing, ‘Let’s Plays,’” Thorne explained, “[at least] nobody with over 10,000 subscribers…We had to jump through so many hurdles” doing gaming videos as well-known YouTubers, unlike their more obscure gaming counterparts. Because they had the recognition, they had to do these videos by the books, and this took a lot of time.
Luckily, Thorne had some friends in the industry, so he could shorten the process by asking them for permission, and getting it fairly easily. But YouTube still wanted Press Start’s videos submitted weeks in advance, which took a toll on the creative process. So, even though Rhett & Link asked why Thorne would give up on such a popular channel (along with the opportunity to make six figures from playing video games), he said he chose to work more on his own channel.
The spike in his subscribers from the collaborative channel gave Thorne increased responsibility to his viewers. “As an artist, the first big thing you really want is an audience,” he said. Once he got such a huge one, it became a responsibility for him to provide them with the high-quality videos and positive lessons from his own life.
To hear more about Thorne’s audience-driven commitment, check out the latest YouTuber interview with Rhett & Link on “Ear Biscuits.”