Seasons Greetings from VeloCity

(Washington Square Arch, Manhattan Skyline, and Washington Square Park; The Washington Square Park (New York, N.Y.) and Washington Square Area Image Collection; NYU.ARCH.PHOTO.00001; box 2; folder 5; New York University Archives, New York University)

As the fall semester comes to a close, so does the Music Business Program’s 35th Anniversary. With the help of Steinhardt’s David Zapotocky and the NYU Archives, we were able to find the above photograph of Washington Square Park in 1971. The very first students who entered the Music Business Program would have seen Washington Square like this. Visible in the photograph are the then-brand new Bobst Library, and the misaligned fountain where folk singers like Bob Dylan got their start. If you look closely, the Twin Towers can be seen in the distance. Now, the entire park has been renovated, the fountain is aligned with the arch, and our Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life stands on the south side of the park. Though the landscape may often change, Washington Square Park will always be the heart of NYU.

As always, VeloCity would like to wish you a happy holiday season.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Key Topics at Music Business Program Annual Alumni Event

Alumn Event 1

(Current students and alumni of NYU’s Music Business program observe the panel.)

On Friday, October 28 the Music Business program held its annual Alumni Event, attended by current students, alumni, faculty, and industry guests. This year’s panel discussion was entitled “Entrepreneurs Wanted: Building a Successful and Sustainable Company in the New Music Biz.” Alex White, CEO of Next Big Sound, gave an opening address and moderated the panel.

With the slogan “Actionable Intelligence in the Music Industry,” Next Big Sound is a site used by professionals and bands to get market analytics and trend data. Next Big Sound tracks mentions of favorite bands on the internet, as well as bands’ Facebook fans, fans’ last.fm pages, Twitter, band page views, and comments on MySpace. The statistics are then calculated and graphed over time, and the data is compared to that of similar bands. This year, Next Big Sound was awarded Most Innovative B2B startup at MIDEM, and Billboard named the company one of 10 Startups to Watch, with Alex White to their 30 Under 30 list. Most recently, White, along with his two co-founders, was named one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurs – 25 and Under by Bloomberg Business Week.

White was joined by five NYU Music Business alumni entrepreneurs, each specializing in different areas of the industry and providing unique and insightful outlooks on sustainable businesses:

Joanne Abbot Green (UG ’80), Founder, Co-Owner, Executive Producer of CMJ Music Marathon, NYC’s biggest music festival.

Andy Meyers (G ’11), Founder of MyFreeConcert.com, the #1 portal for free shows and ticket giveaways in the Greater NYC Area.

Ian Axel (UG ’07), Singer-songwriter. Axel is signed to independent label Tiny Ogre. Axel’s song “This Is The New Year” can be heard as the opening title track in the 2011 film New Year’s Eve.

Michelle McDevitt (G ’05), President of Audible Treats, a music-related PR and marketing agency.

Alandis Brassel (G ’09), Partner of Go Forth Music, providing digital media strategies, audio engineering services and major label services for various companies.

(Current students and alumni socialize and talk to the panelists after the discussion.)

White and the panelists discussed their motivations, the challenges they faced when getting their businesses off the ground, and how they financed their businesses in the early stages. But the most recurring topic, and perhaps the most poignant takeaway in the discussion, was the people that entrepreneurs should surround themselves with. In his opening speech, White shared the idea of being “under the spell” of the music business, and that finding other people who are also under the spell might not be as difficult as one thinks. “There are people under the music business spell who disguise themselves as venture capitalists and bankers. It’s about finding the teammates that complement your skill set. Finding the board directors, family and friends you can lean on who are also under the spell.” McDevitt and Green both stressed that while it is important to have a team of experienced music industry veterans, it is also important to have team members who are newer to the field, who may not have job experience but who have experience as a target audience, who “have their finger on the pulse.”

The last topic of discussion was the future, what changes the panelists anticipate and how they will adapt to those changes. The panelists agreed that branding will be important for musicians to avoid their music turning into solely a hobby instead of a living. As entrepreneurs and businesspeople, it is always important to be able to predict the future of the business and of your company. “One skill I’ve learned through the program is to forecast, to see where your company is at now and where it’ll be in a few years,” said McDevitt. The discussion closed with a short Q&A session. Afterwards, alumni and current students socialized with White and the panelists.

Students Awarded ASCAP Foundation Scholarships

ASCAP

(Tall (left) and Ching with their awards. Photo courtesy of Shane Ching.)

On Wednesday, December 7, Sam Tall (UG ’14) and Shane Ching (G ’13) attended the 16th Annual ASCAP Foundation Awards. The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs.

Tall was awarded The ASCAP Foundation Joan and Irwin Robinson Scholarship, established to support a New York University music business undergraduate or graduate student demontrating leadership, knowledge, dedication, skill and career potential.

Ching was awarded The ASCAP Foundation Freddy Bienstock Scholarship and Internship, which provides the opportunity for a music business student interested in music publishing to intern at a major publishing company.

Click here for a complete list of award recipients and coverage of the event.

Senior Spotlight: Willie Perliter

Welcome to our new feature, Senior Spotlight, a suggestion of Eric Meyers, MUSB Senior and President of NYU MEISA. Every so often we will be featuring a different Music Business senior. Our first spotlight is on Willie Perliter, originally from Los Angeles. He is a lover of ’50s lo-fi music and has some pretty cool goals for the future. Check out the interview:

What is your musical background?

I started with the violin when I was 6 or 7, but wasn’t into the string instruments so I quickly moved to piano. And I was privileged, in some sense, that my teacher started teaching me right away with jazz and blues. So I never really had classical training, which now I’m kind of bummed about, but it was fun at the time. I think the 8th grade was when I wanted to be involved with the music business from a more production/creative side. I was in some bands in high school but soon realized that my abilities as a creative person would only go so far, and I wanted to help people who could do better than me.

What has been your favorite NYU Music Business class and why?

I really like Professor Howard-Spink’s classes, so I’ll say Music in the Media Business. I really like expanding my mind on what’s happening today. Whereas most of the music industry classes are maybe 90% history and 10% what we’re doing today, going into Professor Howard-Spink’s class it was all about, “the history is dead, we need to learn how to deal with the models now,” and it was really cool to explore that. But you do need the basis of history to set your argument, especially when you’re arguing with people who are much older than you and much more experienced in that world.

What is your favorite genre of music, and who are some of your favorite artists?

In general I can always dig jazz music. As far as favorite artist, of course I have the cliche Radiohead but I’ve also been really into ’50s and ’60s lo-fi rock as well as some Motown and soul. Through music theory I have grown to appreciate classical music as well as certain far out 20th century composers like Philip Glass. 

What is your musical guilty pleasure?

I don’t know if it’s a guilty pleasure, but most of my music discovery started from watching The. O.C. My roommates and I have also been in a huge kick of ’90s music. We just rocked out to Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week.”

Do you have any funny or scary internship stories?

At my preview internship at MPL Communications, Inc., I had the privilege of seeing Paul McCartney perform at the Apollo and then meet him, but the most important moment I got out of that internship, and all of my internships, was meeting with the Eastman Lawyers who run the company. I originally wanted to meet with just one of them to discuss copyright law, articles, etc., so I sent his assistant an email asking if we could meet and she ended up setting up a meeting with both of the Eastmans. They absolutely blew my mind and gave me amazing advice.

What are some of your career goals? Ultimate dream job?

At this point (and it changes monthly, weekly and daily) I want to do music supervision. But I feel like that won’t fully sustain me economically so I have also been really interested in mobile music in developing countries, based off one of the CMJ panels. Up until CMJ I was pretty committed to being in New York, but now I’m much more open to going abroad and working, especially in an emerging market like India, China or Africa. I want to be more focused on infrastructure and dealing with the changes in infrastructure in the digital age. I like the bigger picture.

I think ultimately I would love to be a music consultant. Someone who artists or business people come to for advice on strategic development and adapting to the constantly changing industry; just a well-rounded person in that regard. But unfortunately that requires a lot of experience, and I don’t even know if it exists as a job.

What are your short-term goals?

As I begin senior year it gets a little scary because I know I should be trying to pursue jobs, but there are too many things I want to do. I have already been working with some friends, as a music supervisor, who are attempting to break into the entertainment industry and if any of them have success I would love to continue working for them. But right now one place that really interests me is The Orchard, because 1) they deal with infrastructure, not with artists and 2) they’re really involved in emerging markets, mobile music and entering developing countries; I think they’re on top of it because that’s where the future seems to be.

Do you have any advice to underclassmen?

1. Meet as many people as possible and on top of that, make them have a reason to want to remember you. I have a lot of opinions about things in the industry and I’m very expressive, and I know that I’m young and my inexperienced opinions are probably not right, but the fact that I show passion and interest in it toward people, I’ve noticed, has been a beneficial thing. If you have any ideas or feel that something could be a different way, just be proactive and go for it. For example, I once met the Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy and I wrote him this whole model for Pandora to work as a subscription-based model and this whole thing with buying playlists as opposed to albums. Obviously it was far out. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but he responded really well with an email saying, “It’s a great idea, but here are the problems.” At the end of the day I got on his radar, whether it was a blip or not, and that can be a beneficial thing in the future.

2. Respond to emails. If you’re going to email someone, just write it. There are so many more opportunities I could’ve pursued but I was just lazy about actually spending three minutes of my life to write an email, whereas it took like a month to actually get myself down to do it. It shows a lot about yourself and it can only be a hindrance if you stall.

At the end of the day, the music industry is an awesome industry and there are cool people and creative people. It’s awesome realizing as I get older and really try to get myself in the industry, just going to concerts and hanging out and talking to musicians, it’s my business too. That’s cool. We just happen to fall into an industry where we do what we love but we also happen to make money.

Chloe Raynes (G ’11), Founder of BuzzChips, Making Headlines

Chloe Raynes

Chloe Raynes’ (G ’11) music supervision company/music website BuzzChips is making headlines with her recent work on an ad campaign for Harman Kardon audio and Buick. Raynes had never worked on an ad campaign before, but her instincts were spot on. Both clients, along with ad agency Digitas, chose one of the first bands that Raynes pitched, and on November 9 her work was featured on Billboard.biz. Read the article here. VELOCITY sat down with Chloe as she preps for the BuzzChips Presents show on December 10.

How and when did BuzzChips get started?

I came up with the concept for BuzzChips after interning in A&R and Music Supervision and coming to the conclusion that something was missing in the world of blogs and streaming services in terms of efficient ways to find music.

I decided I wanted to create a site that would feature artists that were popping up on the best music blogs, and also have a database of artists that would allow people to discover music using specific parameters. So, in addition to pages of the site that feature “buzzing” artists, the database allows users to search for artists by genre, location, whether or not a band is signed, and what other artists a band sounds like. So if you want to find a band that sounds like the Black Keys, is from New York, and is unsigned, you can do that on BuzzChips. The site is unique in that it’s a great tool for music professionals who need to find artists with certain attributes, as well as music fans who want to discover new bands.

In my last semester at NYU, I decided not to do an internship and instead use that time to build the website/database. I spent over 6 hours every day listening to music and categorizing it. I also worked extensively with my web developer on the design and flow of the site.

How did you get involved with Digitas for the Harman Kardon/Buick project?

I got involved with the Harman Kardon/Buick campaign because I knew a producer who worked at Digitas – they liked the website, and trusted that I had the experience and taste to help them find what they were looking for, so they gave me a chance, and it ended up working out really well. I pitched and worked with them for around two months.

Why did you think Hellogoodbye was a good choice for the ad?

Hellogoodbye was actually one of the first bands I pitched. I ended up pitching a number of different artists so that the agency and the clients could consider different genres, looks and sounds. Hellogoodbye was a clear choice for this in my mind, first and foremost, because they are talented, have a great sound, and strong identity – for these reasons, they also have a solid fan base, and I knew they would be up for the challenge of writing and recording a song in a short period of time.

This being your first music supervision job in advertising, how was it different from your normal work with film?

My first jobs in music supervision were with indie and student films. While I was at NYU, I worked with some very talented students in the Film & TV M.F.A. program at Tisch, and I continue to work with students there. I would say the main difference between music supervision for film and for advertising is that the purpose of an ad campaign is to sell something. However, in my Colloquy I actually discussed at length the increasing production value seen in television advertising campaigns, representing a trending migration toward visuals that look like mini-films. So in that way, it was similar to working with music for film; the main difference with this particular project was the fact that the band would actually be appearing in the video as a central component of the concept.

Did you face any challenges in this project?

The biggest challenge with this job was working with two clients. Because the two brands represent different things, part of my job was to pitch artists that met the needs of both. Ultimately, everyone was very happy with the end product.

What’s next for BuzzChips?

The next big step for BuzzChips will be the addition of a streaming component. I’ve been working with my web developer and a lawyer to develop a way that music can be streamed directly from the site and organized into a playlist. This will hopefully make it easier for people to listen to bands featured on the site.

Be sure to check out BuzzChips Presents at The Living Room on Saturday, December 10 at 8pm, featuring up-and-coming NYC indie bands Psychobuildings, Team Genius, Cultfever and Swear And Shake.

Follow BuzzChips on Twitter or “Like” Buzzchips on Facebook.