Welcome to Creators Going Pro, where in partnership with Semaphore — a creator-focused family of companies providing business and financial services to social media professionals — we profile professional YouTube stars who have hit it big by doing what they love. Each week, we’ll chat with a creator about the business side of their channel, including identifying their Semaphore Moment — the moment they truly went pro.
Scotty Sire is fresh off his first sold-out national tour, and he wants you — yes, you — to notice him.
At least, according to his new single, “Notice Me” (below), which has netted more than half a million views since its debut this past Saturday.
But let’s back up a step, because chances are, you’ve probably already noticed Sire.
He’s one of the founding members of the Vine ‘Vlog Squad,’ along with his friend and frequent collaborator David Dobrik. Once Vine shut down in 2017, Sire, like many creators, found himself abruptly without his main platform. But he had a leg up on some of his contemporaries: he’d been occasionally uploading videos to his YouTube channel since 2014, and had a few thousand subscribers. So, with his main platform now defunct, he made the world’s largest video sharing site his new home.
The thing is, in 2017, Sire wasn’t even sure he could call himself a “musician.” He loved music, but his casual forays producing it were just “messing around” in mostly-joking jam sessions with friends. When one of those friends convinced him to start uploading his music, though, Sire’s subscribers loved it.
So, in 2018, he gave music a full-time shot, and ended up releasing his first album, Ruin Your Party, in October. It was a bona fide hit, peaking at No. 7 on the iTunes pop charts and garnering enough fan fervor that Sire arranged a 13-stop tour. He traveled across the U.S., from Florida to Texas to California to New York, and every single stop was sold out. Sire credits the ticket sales to the folks who support him on YouTube (there are 2.7 million of them, and Sire gets between 10 and 20 million views per month).
Sire concluded the tour in March, and immediately got to work on his next tracks. Which brings us back to “Notice Me.” He performed the single, which is off his as-yet-unnamed new album, for the first time earlier this month, at the annual one-day music festival Wango Tango. The same day, he dropped the music video for “Get Better” (below) one of the most popular tracks off Ruin Your Party.
Looking to the future, Sire is already planning to go on tour again following the release of his next album later this year. But for those who don’t manage to catch him live, don’t worry — you can always tune in on YouTube.
Tubefilter: Tell us a bit about your background. You came from Vine to YouTube, so how did you decide to join Vine, and what made you decide to take your content to YouTube after Vine’s unfortunate shutdown?
Scotty Sire: By the time Vine came out, I had already been on the internet trying to find ways to entertain my friends and myself. So when I saw the app, it was an easy decision for me to hop on. I loved the creativity people were condensing into six-second clips.
I started on YouTube because it was another creative outlet for making content and a different way to entertain. After Vine shut down, I just knew it was time to go all in. Of course, I owe some of my motivation to my friend David [Dobrik], who sort of carved a path for Viners-gone-YouTubers in my group of friends.
Tubefilter: You recently completed your first sold-out national tour, the Ruin Your Party Tour. Can you chat a bit about how your YouTube and music careers have been intertwined? How did you decide to make the jump from YouTube creator to putting out fully produced singles, an album, and a tour?
SS: For me, the music started with me just goofing off, changing lyrics to songs with goofy twists or a relatable message on Vine. At first it was mostly for fun, but then my friend Andrew Fitzpatrick invited me over to record my first song. It was just a good time, writing and messing around with beats with friends. We recorded a few songs that way and released lyric videos or music videos that we put together ourselves.
The response was overwhelmingly positive, and my audience really engaged with what I was putting out there. I’ve always loved music and had an interest in it, especially writing my own raps and lyrics, but didn’t really know if I had it in me to identify with the label “musician.” I knew it was going to be a risk, but I really fell in love with it and decided to take the chance and push myself to put out a full album. I’m really grateful that people responded to the album and supported me in that transition.
Tubefilter: Who works with you behind the scenes on your music and YouTube videos? Do you have an editor or personal assistant? What about a manager or network?
SS: I’m lucky to have an awesome team that helps me handle both my business and music. I’m represented by my manager Brandon A. Lucas at Bx2 Entertainment, with help from his assistant Raymond Baum. Both of them help coordinate my music and brand deals on my social media and YouTube channel, in addition to coordinating with my representation at UTA and our team at Metro PR. UTA handles both talent and brand deals as well as tour.
I edit some of my YouTube videos myself, but as I spend more and more time on music, I’ve been lucky enough to receive editing help from my good friend Mariah Amato. My personal assistant, Colleen Ladrick, joined me last fall, and helps to manage day-to-day tasks to make life easier so I can focus my time and energy on filming and being in the studio. She also helps my management with things and comes on location with me to help things run smoothly.
I also have friends who serve as my financial aid, music photographer and videographer, and graphic designer, respectively. There are a lot of moving parts and people involved on a daily basis to keep things running. My favorite part my team is that we’re all friends, not just coworkers.
Tubefilter: When did you get your first check for online video revenue? How much was it for? What about your first check outside of AdSense?
SS: I’ve always been interested in the vast potential of the internet. When I was in high school, I was researching affiliate marketing, SEO, building websites, and trying to figure out different things I could do to make money for myself online.
My first check was from running ads on a gaming website I made in my sophomore computer class. All the big flash gaming websites were blocked, so I made my own website, and my teacher Mr. Hayes was supportive and helpful with it even though I created it to bypass the school block. I think my first check was for a couple hundred dollars. Probably not the answer you were expecting, but I was earning money on the internet long before Vine!
Tubefilter: How do you split your creative time and energy between YouTube and music? Do you have set days for music and set days for filming?
SS: It’s definitely not easy to split my time between the two! Each week, I usually find myself in the studio working on music or rehearsing for about two or three days, depending on the status of the album or tour. Scheduling that is usually at the mercy of any press/events and the availability of my producers and cowriters. Outside of that, I try to clear time to film for my channel — really as much as I can. Some weeks, it is more challenging to find the time to film than others, but I really push myself to be putting out videos as often as possible.
Tubefilter: Have you ever experienced creator burnout for either pursuit? How do you combat it?
SS: I think it’s definitely natural to get burned out, and I’m the type of person who never really stops working. Even in my free time, I’m reading comments, checking on how my videos are doing, brainstorming new lyrics or video ideas, or working with my team on what’s next.
I try to take time to do things I enjoy — whether that’s going to the gym, hanging out with my girlfriend Kristen and our dog, or just catching up on sleep. It’s important that I have time to recharge my batteries and take some time away from work to avoid burnout. I’m my toughest critic, so I have to remind myself sometimes it’s okay to take a step back and do nothing for a few hours.
Tubefilter: What was that Semaphore Moment for you—the first time you realised you were a professional YouTuber?
SS: I had considered “social media” my career before I really went all in on YouTube, so once I did dive in, I was fortunate enough to consider myself a YouTuber just a few months after. I’m always learning, so even though I get a check from making YouTube videos, I don’t know if I’ll ever consider myself a professional. That’s the beauty of YouTube, though — anybody can do it. No formal degree required!
Tubefilter: Tell us a little more about the tour! How did that come together?
SS: The Ruin Your Party Tour was put together by myself, my manager Brandon, and our team at UTA. It was awesome having Todd [Smith] playing the keys in the band, and being joined by my friends Bruce Wiegner, Chris Bloom, and Beau Evans was a dream team. It took a lot of work and planning from everyone to put it together, but we ended up selling out our first national tour! It was majorly exciting and scary at the same time, and I can’t wait to get back on the road again.
Tubefilter: Did you encounter a lot of your YouTube viewers while on the tour? What effects did your tour have on your channel? Did you see your subscriber count tick up, did you notice a view count drop if you were posting less videos…?
SS: It’s always awesome to meet YouTube viewers on tour, and the RYP tour did include meet-and-greets at every location. People have so much enthusiasm and excitement for what I’m doing, and that is the most awesome part about all of it — connecting with the fans and the people we are making these videos and music for!
Touring was interesting for my YouTube channel. Doing music on top of trying to create my usual “comedic” content is extremely tough. So when I put out content that revolved around the tour, it didn’t necessarily make my subscriber count tick up! And because I was posting less videos, using less clickbait, and posting more music, I definitely noticed a drop in views. That’s all right, though — as long as the people watching are enjoying what I’m doing!
Tubefilter: What’s next for you and your channel? What are you building toward?
SS: As far as music goes, I just released a new single — “Notice Me” — and the music video for it. [Note: watch above.] Following that, there will be an upcoming album and a tour. Look for announcements coming soon! With my channel, I’ll be continuing to create as much fun and exciting content as I can, in addition to new music videos and behind-the-scenes on tour and in the studio.
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