What It's About
A musician uses his mad rap skills to help make education more fun and accessible.
Words of Wisdom
If someone wanted to start an educational song library with limited knowledge or experience, Andrew's first suggestion would be to start singing karaoke songs. Karaoke songs allow amateurs to understand simple tones, catchy melodies, and the structure in which songs are typically written. He says much of his childhood was spent exploring music in his free time and creating songs based on similar structures that he enjoyed.
Andrew recently received a message from a fan in Mexico. She sent Andrew a video of her daughter singing along to his songs and told him that his songs also helped her learn English. The amazing part—her three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with non-verbal autism. It never occurred to Andrew that his songs could impact children struggling with developmental disabilities.
Notes from Chris
Episode 671Andrew DeBell has enjoyed music as long as he can remember. In elementary school, he’d get points knocked off for turning in his assignments as limericks. In junior high, he played in a metal band with a few friends from his neighborhood. He also used to sing parody rap songs and hold concerts in his backyard. [Sounds like me…] Nowadays, he’s a marketing consultant specializing in digital learning and development. His company partners with clients in developing cutting-edge learning programs. However, just because he didn’t grow up to headline Coachella, doesn’t mean that Andrew can’t pursue his childhood dreams. In 2015, he started an educational YouTube channel called Jam Campus. It served as a creative outlet where he would post parody songs of popular music. One of his first hits was a rap satire about DNA conducted in the style of Fetty Wap’s "Trap Queen". At the time, it was just a fun experiment. But the DNA video was a smash. It made its way around the internet quicker than a Kanye West tweet about the government. Six months later, it was featured on the internet-themed panel game show, @Midnight with Chris Hardwick of Comedy Central. Andrew’s inbox was flooded with emails from teachers singing his praises. Andrew began creating more songs to meet the increasing demand from his newfound audience. He tackled all kinds of subjects from math to science to history. What started with parodies quickly evolved into original content. He wrote songs about Newton’s Laws of Motion, Photosynthesis, and the phases of the moon. Currently, Jam Campus brings in at least $500 a month from Google AdSense, Amazon affiliate links and selling video work directly from his site. It’s a nice passive income stream that doesn’t require much upkeep. But is it enough? Andrew says this side hustle is different as he doesn’t have a viable product to purchase. However, he would like to change all that and turn this into his full-time hustle. He’s got a new business plan in place now that his concept has proven successful. Set to kick off in January, 2019, he’ll be implementing a paid subscription service for access to his premium library of songs and videos. He still plans on keeping his YouTube channel in place and using it to showcase his material, but the bulk of his new library will be part of a paid subscription service. His monthly price will run $4.99. He wants to keep it affordable for both teachers and students … but he also wants to get paid. Dropping it like it’s hot since 2015, Andrew’s videos have reached a global audience. A few months ago, a friend of Andrew’s sent him a Jam Campus video playing in a classroom in Japan. He also heard from a fan in Mexico, who sent him a video of her daughter signing along to his songs. She told him his songs helped her daughter learn English. She also mentioned that her daughter was diagnosed with non-verbal autism. It never occurred to Andrew that his songs could impact children struggling with developmental disabilities. Talk about beats without borders. Andrew is excited about launching his subscription service in January. His goal is getting Jam Campus in front of as many students and teachers as possible.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Jam Campus: Learning history and science has never been so much fun—check out some of Andrew's videos over on his channel!
- Mexican Artist Becomes YouTube Superstar With 50 Million Views: An artist uploads a drawing video to YouTube and discovers a massive audience for tutorials, allowing him to pay off debt and make a good living
- Tales of a 15-Year-Old YouTube Makeup Artist: An Australian teenager learns to express her passion for makeup by posting tutorials on YouTube
- Bitcoin YouTuber Earns Thousands in Affiliate Commissions: A Dutch cryptocurrency enthusiastic takes to YouTube to explain it to his countrymen, earning commissions from tools and resources he endorses
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