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Tyler the Creator and Lloyd Braun Go Over the Top: The Full Code/Media Interview

The hip-hop star wants to run his own show online. Whalerock Industries says it can help. Here's an entertaining discussion of the how and why.

Asa Mathat
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Celebrities don’t need any help reaching their fans in 2015. They can easily connect to them, instantaneously, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, Snapchat and lots of other digital platforms.

But those platforms are controlled by other people. What if celebrities controlled their own platforms?

That’s the pitch behind a series of networks that Whalerock Industries is launching this year, starting with one from Tyler, the Creator, the multi-hyphenate hip-hop personality.

Tyler (born Tyler Okonma) has big followings on Twitter and Tumblr, but sometime this spring he’ll ask his fans on those services to start following him on his own thing. He may have a thing or two to sell them there, too. Whalerock has plans to do the same with other celebrities, including Howard Stern and Kim Kardashian West and her four sisters.

Tyler and Whalerock’s Lloyd Braun, the former ABC and Yahoo exec, came onstage at Code/Media this month to explain what they’re up to and why they’re doing it. The pitch is still a bit vague, in part because they don’t want to do a full reveal quite yet. And in part, I suspect, because their plans aren’t quite locked in.

It’s worth noting that Whalerock and its celebrities aren’t talking about becoming entirely self-sufficient media hubs. Tyler, for instance, still plans on putting out music via his label deal with Sony. Stern will still be doing his radio show via Sirius XM. And the Kardashians aren’t leaving TV.

But enough details! This is an entertaining and thought-provoking session. See for yourself:

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