The rise & fall of Studio 368

Hey! Welcome to the Creator Economy NYC newsletter — the premier place for all things creator economy in the Big Apple.

First and most importantly, Happy Flag Day 🇺🇸.

This week, we’re exploring the story of Studio 368, the creator hub started by Casey Neistat that recently closed its doors. Nestled in the heart of SoHo, this iconic space once buzzed with the energy of filmmakers, digital artists, and innovators.

Let’s dive into its story.

Stops along the way:

  • Upcoming events

  • Community callouts

  • Community perks

  • News bits

  • Job openings

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CITY SPOTLIGHT

The rise and fall of Studio 368: a “third place” for NYC's creator economy

February marked the end of an era for the New York City creator scene as Studio 368, a hub of creativity and collaboration founded by Casey Neistat, closed its doors.

Studio 368 was Casey Neistat’s vision brought to life in 2018. Positioned in the heart of NYC in SoHo, it was designed as a sanctuary for creativity, offering a place for the city's community of creators to meet, brainstorm, and execute their ideas — all at no cost. The space quickly gained notoriety as a hub for some of the industry's most creative and innovative minds.

Casey Neistat in front of Studio 368

Before becoming the hub of Casey Neistat’s creative aspirations, the 368 address was steeped in NYC’s artistic lore. Situated in an area known for its vibrant arts scene, the building has witnessed the rise of numerous notable artists and creators — including filmmakers such as Greta Gerwig, Lena Dunham, and the Safdie brothers.

From left to right: Greta Gerwig, the Safdie brothers, and Lena Dunham

The legacy of these creative endeavors set the stage for Neistat’s vision, hoping to continue the tradition of fostering groundbreaking ideas and talents. By anchoring his project in such a historically significant location, Neistat tapped into a deep vein of cultural heritage, aiming to inspire a new generation of creators just as those before him had.

Financial highs and lows

To sustain its operations amid the pricy real estate costs of NYC, Studio 368 adopted a unique business model that relied on creative and agency production work for high-profile clients like YouTube, Google, and Uber.

This approach aimed to leverage brand partnerships to keep the space free and accessible for creators. However, despite the innovative strategy and initial enthusiasm, the studio faced significant financial challenges. It’s likely that fluctuations in sponsorship and the inconsistent flow of client projects made it difficult to maintain a stable financial base.

The operational challenges were compounded by the studio's evolving use —from an event space to a coffee shop, and even an art gallery — as Paul Leys, the driving force behind daily operations, endeavored to adapt to the financial pressures without charging the creators.

Members of the community, including Danny Kabouni, noted that these struggles were evident long before the official closure in February; the financial model, which resisted the idea of charging creators, ultimately proved unsustainable. Despite suggestions for a modest membership fee to stabilize finances, Paul Leys maintained a commitment to free access, valuing inclusivity over revenue for the space.

The place should really be called Paul68 the way he held that place together and helped a lot of creators and artists out. And he never asked for a dime.

Danny Kabouni

Stories from the studio floor

Credit: @shindelverse, creators Alexandra Robinson (left) and Danny Kabouni (right)

Studio 368 profoundly impacted its members. Alex Robinson, who joined shortly after moving to NYC in 2022, found more than just a workspace; she discovered a community.

I was lucky enough to enter the space about 6 months after moving to New York City in 2022. At that time, what I didn’t have was a community and more than anything else that was what 368 provided. I met so many talented people who I now call close friends and even with the closure of the space, I still create things with today.

Alex Robinson

Danny Kabouni reflected on the unique daily experiences that made Studio 368 feel like a cinematic adventure:

It felt like you were apart of a movie every day. Like here we are in this giant space on one of the busiest streets in NYC. And we just get to make content? You never knew what was going to happen that day. Someday’s we’re chillin', and someday’s Bobby Schmurda is in the kitchen making a video on waffles. Each day was something new and exciting. You left that studio feeling motivated and inspired.

Danny Kabouni

The closure of Studio 368 represents more than the end of a physical space; it marks a crucial moment in the NYC creator economy, underscoring the challenges of sustaining an open, free community space amidst the city’s high costs and competitive dynamics.

Yet, the spirit of collaboration and innovation remains undeterred. Alex Robinson’s account vividly captures the essence of Studio 368 as a 'third place,' crucial for creative collaboration.

You’re surrounded by people who just want to make things all day long. It was like a creative co-working space, except none of us were co-workers, we just all shared similar jobs/passions. Everyone was always down to lend each other a hand on whichever projects they were working on. I’ve always created things alone and never really had other bright and intuitive minds to bounce ideas off of. The personal growth I saw in my work after joining was fast and to me, very noticeable.

Alex Robinson

The final bow

As we reflect on Studio 368's legacy, the lessons learned are invaluable for future moves in this space. The demand for community hubs that support and foster creative talent in NYC continues to grow, and it’s one of the driving forces behind Creator Economy NYC — the need for creators, marketers, and builders in the space to come together to create, connect and collaborate.

Looking forward, the enduring spirit of Studio 368 inspires the continued evolution of 'third places' across NYC, promising new opportunities for creators to innovate and thrive together.

My question for you…

What is your 'third place' in NYC? Share with me where you find community and inspiration in the city by replying back to this email!

CITY HAPPENINGS

Upcoming events

We have a few sponsorship slots open for the following events, so if you are interested in exploring involvement, please reach out here.

We are headed to the dark side (West Coast) at the end of June for an event at VidCon alongside our friends at Passionfruit, Teachable and Blanka.

At VidCon, we’re hosting an intimate gathering of creators, brands, and media at the JW Marriott Garden with an open bar and light bites. Expect time to connect with others and a panel focused on the “professionalization” of creators.

We’ll dive into topics like what it actually takes to be a full-time creator and how platforms can play a supportive role in enabling creators to do what they do best: create ~ while building sustainable businesses.

If you’re headed to VidCon, we hope to see you there! And if not, please share with people you know attending! Will you be there? Reply back to this email letting me know!

P.S. you can snag VidCon tix here.

Summer Mixer & Live Podcast Recording - July 29, 6:30PM-9:30PM

We’re excited to partner with Creator Economy Live for an exclusive summer mixer and live podcast recording at the Mariott Marquis in the heart of NYC.

​The Creator Economy Live podcast brings us lively conversations about everything in the world of influencer marketing and the creator economy, hosted by the industry’s top voices, Brendan Gahan (Creator Authority) and Keith Bendes (Linqia). All brought to you by the biggest event for influencer marketers in the US, Creator Economy Live!

Drinks, food, and good people to meet. RSVP to join us!

COMMUNITY CALLOUTS

COMMUNITY PICKS & PERKS

  • Newsletter: Enjoy 20% off your first 3 months on any beehiiv paid plan. This comes after a complimentary 30-day free trial, exclusively for our community members! Snag it here.

  • Link in Bio: Get 3 months FREE on the Linktree PRO plan using the code creatoreconomynyc.

  • Travel and Lodging: Enjoy 12.5% off the best available rates for business and personal travel at any CitizenM Hotel location. Just use code CRMY1!

THE NEWSSTAND

Ever wondered what’s actually in those influencer contracts? Later’s guide explains the must-know terms, flags common mistakes, and prepares you to negotiate like a pro.

Issa Rae, the creative powerhouse behind hits like Insecure, has just launched a bold new venture with TelevisaUnivision. Dubbed 'Ensemble', this collaboration aims to shake up the branded content scene by focusing oncreating opportunities for Hispanic creators.

Spotify is stepping up its advertising game with the launch of Creative Labs, a bespoke ad agency designed to elevate the advertising landscape on its platform. This initiative is all about leveraging Spotify’s deep insights into user behavior and preferences to craft targeted, impactful advertising campaigns. Solid read for marketers and creators aiming to connect more meaningfully with their audience.

JOBS

ICYMI

(Past newsletter editions)

STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS PLEASE

Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you thought by replying back to this email! Enjoy the weekend.

See you next week,

Brett

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