Ask Answers: What Is “MasterClass” and Why Is It the Perfect Quarantine Rabbit Hole?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, folks are settling into a "new normal," and big-name companies have announced that employees can work from home indefinitely. Many of the universities and colleges that closed their campuses back in March are now looking for effective ways to utilize online learning and virtual classroom spaces come the fall, and not just as a quick-fix Band-Aid. As far as entertainment is concerned, there’s a stark divide. Streaming platforms are seeing record numbers of subscribers, but actors, filmmakers, comedians, musicians and other creatives who can’t find steady work right now are taking their projects and performances online.
While this stay-at-home lifestyle certainly has its drawbacks, it has also been revealing. We’re at a point where if there’s enough enthusiasm and drive behind the scenes, technology can be used to democratize access to employment, education and, yes, even entertainment. At the intersection of virtual learning and entertainment, you’ll find MasterClass. If you’ve watched anything on YouTube over the last few months or scrolled through Instagram after saying the phrase "MasterClass" out loud, you’ve probably caught an ad for the product. Essentially, experts in their fields provide must-watch, well-produced lessons to help you master their crafts. What sets it apart from a regular online classroom environment? Well, that’s where the entertainment factor comes in.
What Is MasterClass?
The grounding principle behind MasterClass isn’t anything new. Successful people peddling their "secrets to untold success" for a fee is a tale as old as time. What sets this platform apart is the polish — and the sheer amount of well-known faces, whose disciplines range from filmmaking to tennis playing to cooking. Unlike some one-off class or self-help buy-in, MasterClass feels vetted, all thanks to those 80+ professionals.
How Does MasterClass Set Itself Apart from the Competition?
A Vox article entitled "What is Masterclass selling?" perhaps says it best: "MasterClasses exist in the uncanny valley between first principles and technical details." The writer, David S. Rudin, goes on to liken the platform to a "grab bag of tips and reflections." According to MasterClass co-founder and CEO David Rogier, who is interviewed in the article, that’s all done on purpose. "If you want to learn how to use your DSLR camera, this is not the place for you," Rogier says. "That’s not what you should learn from Annie Leibovitz."