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.

Creativity and Innovation Converge at Inaugural Music Business & Technology Innovation Day

(Caitlin Came and Sheng Feng Hu present Gymaestro, a service that lets users explore music via customizable workout playlists.)

On Friday, October 28, Steinhardt held the inaugural Music Business and Technology Innovation Day, organized by MUSB Program Director Catherine Radbill and Music Technology Professor Juan Bello. Undergraduate seniors and graduate students from Professor Radbill’s Entrepreneurship for the Music Industry class teamed up with Graduate and Doctoral students from Professor Bello’s music technology class to build great ideas for a new technology-based music product or service. “The music technology students provided the underlying tech and the music business students worked to figure out how to market and make money on the product or service, in the form of a business plan,” explains Professor Radbill. The judging panel consisted of Professor Radbill and Professor Bello, in addition to special guest panelist Alex White, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Big Sound.

The event opened with an inspirational talk by White. Each group of students was given five minutes to present their slideshow to the panel as well as an audience. The presentations included a description of the service, a sample of the interface and an explanation of their audiences and marketing plans. Group members also examined pre-existing products or services similar to their own, but distinguished why their own product or service was different and better. Students were given feedback from the judges on their presentation skills in addition to their products. Audience members also asked questions and gave suggestions.

(From left: MUSB Program Director Catherine Radbill, Music Technology Professor Juan Bello, Co-Founder and CEO of Next Big Sound Alex White.)

The ideas presented included Audiopilot (a plug-in used to find optimum locations for song transitions in a playlist, eliminating bad transitions or silence between songs), Composination (a songwriting tool that suggests chord progressions to accompany a melody), and Atlas (a tempo and meter map generator for audio inputs).

Since Innovation Day the students have been incorporating the panelists’ feedback in refining their projects, and have also had more pitching practice in class. “In a recent Entrepreneurship class, groups worked with students who are not involved in Innovation Day to discuss their branding, marketing and positioning statements,” said Radbill.

Final presentations of the business plans take place on Monday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 14. On December 12, three of the groups will be pitching to Chris Fralac, a venture capital executive from First Round Capital.

CMJ 2011: Students review live shows in 35 words or less

VELOCITY knows that students are pressed for time, especially during CMJ week. So we asked them to review CMJ live shows in 35 words or less. “Why 35?”, you ask. Because we are celebrating our 35th anniversary this year!

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(We Are Scientists at the Studio at Webster Hall for CMJ 2011 on Wednesday, October 20.)

Artist: Cerebral Ballzy

Date: Tuesday, October 18

Venue: Music Hall of Williamsburg

“Hardcore band out of Brooklyn. Easily one of the most brutal shows I’ve ever witnessed. Now I know what I was missing when I wasn’t yet around for early eighties SoCal skate punk.” – Jason Burger (G ’12)

“One can liken the experience of seeing Cerebral Ballzy to being struck in the face by a sock full of nickels then hypnotized and forced to dance. It rules.” – Jack Schramm (UG ’14)

Artist: Thomas Wynn and the Believers

Date: Tuesday, October 18

Venue: Kenny’s Castaway

“Thomas Wynn and the Believers had a folk rock singer-songwriter feel, almost like Dylan but with better vocals. Their harmonies were absolutely amazing.” – Anonymous

Artist: Locksley

Date: Wednesday, October 19

Venue: Rockwood Music Hall

“Amazingly refreshing retro rockers. They dub themselves “doo wop punk” and look and sound like they should play a 1950s high school prom. Try even listening to this band and not smiling.” – Jason Burger (G ’12)

Artists: The Postelles, The Wombats

Date: Wednesday, October 19

Venue: Webster hall

“Everybody take a deep breath…

This is the must see show on my list.

Even 30 minute shows can greater than the Rock Records show.

I felt the floor is about to collapse.” – Cecilia Lin (G ’13)

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(The Damn Personals at the Studio at Webster Hall for CMJ 2011 on Wednesday, October 20.)

Artists: Alberta Cross, Portugal. The Man, Givers

Date: Thursday, October 20

Venue: Terminal 5

“I saw Alberta Cross, Portugal. The Man, and Givers on Thursday night of CMJ week with some friends at Terminal 5 and it was the best concert I’ve seen in a long time. It was the kind of show that makes you think, ‘Yep, I’m in the right major.'” – Emily Garibaldi (UG ’15)

Portugal. The Man played a great set, including all their hit songs. They played for an hour and a half, and had cello and violin players. On stage there were bubble lamps that changed colors.” – Anonymous

“Givers were awesome. Their great vocals stood out to me. The songs were dance-y and sometimes I’d hear a hint of reggaeton and electronic music mixed in.” – Anonymous

Artist: Chappo

Date: Thursday, October 20

Venue: Spike Hill

“This Brooklyn garage-pop band had tons of energy. They were really engaging and even threw confetti on the crowd. They also wore feathers – one of the many high points of their performance.” – Brady Willis (UG ’13)

Artist: Hey Marseilles

Date: Saturday, October 22

Venue: Living Room

“Hey Marseilles is an exciting folk/alternative/symphonic band from Seattle. Their lead singer’s voice was very strong, earnest and passionate. Their instrumentation was vast, pulling out accordions, banjoes, cellos, violins, and so much more.” – Eric Meyers (UG ’12)

Artist: The Bright Light Social Hour

Date: Saturday, October 22

Venue: Mercury Lounge

“The Bright Light Social Hour, looking straight from the ’70s, made even the most snobbish hipsters go nuts. One of the best new bands, whether you want to dance, sway, or just listen in awe.” – Sam Tall (UG ’14)

Graduate A&R Seminar Students Attend Broke* Screening at CMJ

Broke*

(From left: MUSB Alum Ian Quay, MUBG Alum Danara Schurch, MUBG Program Director Dr. Catherine Moore, Director of Broke* Will Gray; Photo Credit: Katy Vickers.)

On Wednesday, October 19, students from this semester’s Graduate A&R Seminar attended a screening of music documentary Broke* at CMJ 2011. Broke*, directed by independent artist Will Gray, features MUBG Program Director Dr. Catherine Moore, along with Ian Quay (UG ’04) and Danara Schurch (G ’07).

Broke* follows Gray through the recording and release of his debut album. The 78-minute documentary also chronicles the stories of artists and executives searching for ways to thrive in the face of today’s music industry challenges. Such industry superstars as John Legend, Kelly Clarkson and Isaac Slade from The Fray share their stories, giving a look into the A&R talent-spotting process from the artist’s point of view.


The CMJ screening was Broke*‘s NYC debut. “It was fun to sit beside Danara at the screening. We got everyone together afterwards so that Ian and Danara could meet the class and talk about lots of things — mostly music, of course!” says Dr. Moore. Schurch, who was very involved in the production of Broke*, introduced Dr. Moore to director Will Gray about four years ago. Ian Quay currently does A&R here in New York City, and was recently featured in an article by Billboard magazine (read the article here).

In the A&R class the next week, the students talked about Broke* and discussed what they learned. “Students commented on — and debated — Will Gray’s career choices, and we talked about the differences between music publishing A&R and record label A&R. Students pointed out advantages and disadvantages of being an artist fluent in many musical styles, and our never-ending debate about cover songs continued with thoughts on Will’s performance of Patty Griffin’s ‘Top of the World’,” says Dr. Moore.

The name Broke* has multiple meanings, such as how to break an artist and how to fix a broken industry. As for the asterisk in the documentary’s title, the Broke* website offers this inspiring explanation:

“Why the Asterisk? In Latin, the word asterisk (asteriscus) means ‘little star.’ We use it in everyday English to note that a word or phrase possesses a special character or to indicate that something has been omitted. The Broke* team adopted the asterisk as a part of our logo to symbolize hope. The logo is a reminder that we all hold within us a special character that enables us to break through the barriers of life and become stars, become champions, become the exception to the rules we’ve always been told to obey. Though you may have been omitted or forgotten, though doubters deny your potential to achieve what they deem impossible, you can use this logo as a badge of courage. Let it embolden you. There are others, like you, fighting for their dreams . . . for their chance to break*.”

Once Broke* has completed the festival circuit it will be available as a DVD and also online.

MUBG Alum’s Website MyFreeConcert.com Fills Void in NYC Music Scene

Andy Meyers

 Andy Meyers (G ’11) had always felt something lacking in the New York City concert  scene. Less than two years ago, while a student in NYU’s Music Business graduate program, Meyers took matters into his own hands. What was once, for a short time, a small, slow-starting blog is now MyFreeConcert.com, one of the leading online resources for free concerts in New York City.

“I started MFC because I felt that there was a void that needed to be filled for concerts.” Meyers recognized websites that cater to a similar audience, such as LivingFreeNYC and PulsdJFK, but felt that none fo them were dedicated solely to music in the way he wanted to with MFC. In the past, Meyers had been subscribing to concert promotion email lists or seeing events on Facebook and Twitter and would pass them along to his friends. In December 2009, Meyers decided it would be easier to compile all of his findings on a separate blog.

“Being about a year into the masters program at NYU had some benefits for this entire endeavor, particularly the fact that it put me around many people also passionate about the music industry who wanted to help out,” Meyers remembers. He names fellow NYU Music Business students Brian Kecskemety, Ryan McDonald, Jason Burger, Jason Rezvan, Ian Kroopnick and Jay Pillitteri as being integral parts of the development of MyFreeConcert.com. “In addition, I’ve had a lot of help outside of NYU in areas such as business development, web design and show reviews/tips.”

MFC

(The initial image used for MyFreeConcert.com)

As any small blog, MyFreeConcert.com’s initial growth was slow. Once word started to spread, however, “things got interesting quickly,” Meyers says, and it was simple word of mouth by which the site went viral. MFC promotes free and in-the-know concerts, striking the interest of both music fans and nightlife mavens who are able to generate enough buzz for anyone to get noticed. To this day, the fans continue to be largely responsible for the success of MFC. The dedicated fan base is full of music junkies and industry insiders without whom MFC would never have become nearly as big as it is. As a result of his growing audience, Meyers decided to employ new tactics and tools to find things in an easier way by incorporating aggregate ticket giveaways in New York City. “I feel that having one place to go for both free shows and ticket giveaways surely saves a lot of time for the consumer and also gives all the entities involved greater exposure.”

Meyers’ first big decisions were as simple as which events to post, where to cut off the content on the site, and if specific contests should be fun on Facebook, Twitter, or another social media outlet. But most of the important decisions that Meyers makes are now monetary, and Meyers is cautious not to be hasty in making the right decisions regarding the long-term growth of MFC.

Looking ahead, MFC will have a mobile application with geolocation aspects. In March, MFC will cover SXSW in a similar way they covered CMJ. “The plan to launch in other cities is certainly one that I’ve mulled over, and is a long-term goal of mine.” MFC also plans to add new features to the website to make it even more user-friendly and informative for its readers.

To students who are aspiring entrepreneurs, Meyers says this: “It is not easy at all, though it is not as hard as you might think. Try to think about what isn’t necessarily hot now, but what would be hot next. Do your classwork but also think about things you can do on the side to really develop yourself and your career.”

Follow MyFreeConcert on Twitter

NYU MEISA and CMJ Music Marathon Present Battle of the Bands

MEISA Logo

 

On Thursday, October 6, five NYU bands will compete in a Battle of the Bands hosted by our own chapter of the Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association (MEISA). MEISA is comprised of students of all majors who have an interest in the music industry. Many Music Business majors are involved in MEISA, and VeloCity will cover the Battle of the Bands results. The winner of Battle of the Bands will go on to compete in a CMJ Music Marathon Showcase. The bands competing are:

The Bailen Brothers Band

Kevin Garrett

Stolen Moments

Paracuta

The Sliders

Battle of the Bands begins at 8pm in the Eisner & Lubin Auditorium on the 4th floor of the NYU Kimmel Center. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the Ticket Central box office.

Pandora Founder Tim Westergren Presented with Music Business Visionary Award

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(Pandora Founder Tim Westergren (left) speaks with Sam Howard-Spink; Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

On Wednesday, May 4, NYU Steinhardt proudly presented Pandora Founder Tim Westergren with the second Music Business Program Visionary Award. The award honors a business figure of note for their lasting and positive impact on the music industry through innovative, effective, and creative business leadership.

Mr. Westergren sat down with Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Howard-Spink before an audience of Music Business students, alumni, faculty, and friends to discuss the evolution of Pandora and his thoughts on the state of the music industry. In the course the interview, Mr. Westergren explained in-depth the creation of The Music Genome Project that powers Pandora’s personalized internet radio stations, as well as his time spent working with Congress to negotiate sensible performance royalty rates for internet radio broadcasters. He also discussed key moments in Pandora’s history such as its inclusion as a launch application on the Apple iPhone, and partnerships with auto companies such as Ford that facilitate listening to Pandora in the car.

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(Students line up to ask Mr. Westergren their questions; Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

In response to student questions from the audience, Mr. Westergren talked about the ways in which Pandora balances its radio “feel” and still provides a link to download sales, and new projects that will extend the company’s reach with new partners.

At the end of the ceremony, Student Ambassador Board leaders Katie Curran (G ’11) and Zach Lee (UG’ 11) presented Mr. Westergren with the Visionary Award. In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Westergren encouraged students to make use of the many opportunities made available by the Web, and to use their knowledge and experience in the digital space to drive their entrepreneurial ideas and ambitions.

View Steinhardt’s Press Release here.

Stay up to date with Pandora by following Tim Westergren (@timwestergren) and Pandora (@pandora_radio) on Twitter.

Music Business Students Participate in Bon Jovi College Experience

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(Bon Jovi performs at Madison Square Garden; Photo by Jason Bookman)

On Saturday, March 5, Bon Jovi’s Live 2011 Tour brought the band to New York City’s Madison Square Garden.  Over the course of the tour, the band and its crew have been giving back to college students across the country by giving them the opportunity to participate in the Bon Jovi College Experience, a behind-the-scenes look into the production of an arena concert. 

Nine students representing both the Undergraduate and Graduate Music Business Programs arrived at Madison Square Garden at 10:30 AM, just as Bon Jovi’s crew was beginning to load in.  Organizing the afternoon was Mike Savas, Bon Jovi’s VIP Coordinator for the tour.  Mr. Savas led the students through both the basics of the concert production and the specifics of his job, which focus on VIP ticketing, packages, and treatment.  Over the course of the afternoon, the students got a hands-on look into the various components of Bon Jovi’s backstage area, including Jon Bon Jovi’s dressing room, guitarist Richie Sambora’s extensive guitar rig, the tour’s robot-controlled high-definition video monitors, and the Garden’s massive audio system.

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(3,500 lb modular video monitors, rotating lights, and some of Sambora’s guitars; Photo by Jason Bookman)

As part of their time with both local crewmembers and Bon Jovi’s own production team, the students prepared exclusive packages for the show’s VIP ticket holders.  Included in the $1,500 packages are the fans’ front-row folding chairs autographed by Jon Bon Jovi, autographed posters from the band, and a private dinner before the show.  These packages are an extremely important aspect of the show as they not only create a unique experience for the fans, but are also highly lucrative.  The group also handed out promotional cards with online merchandise discounts and flyers for Jon Bon Jovi’s charities.

After the concert, the students were asked to report in on their experiences, and with that VeloCity brings excerpts from their reactions below:

“[From this experience] I learned the great importance of merch-marketing and analytics. The discount cards were in the process of being modified to generate the most website visits possible, and the signed lithographs were an example of a relatively cheaply produced item that could be sold as a high-priced collectible which would spur the fan to tell friends about the concert experience. I later visited the Bon Jovi Facebook page, which was unsurprisingly covered with Savas-esque updates and interactive material. Seeing this gave me several ideas for how to promote my own band.” – S.T. (UG ’14)

The Bon Jovi experience was unlike any other experience I’ve had. It’s one thing to watch a major concert performance and to read about the behind-the-scenes action, but to actually watch the show come together live, to actually stand on the stage, is a whole new, sensory experience atypical of the classroom… I definitely think that this opportunity was publicity driven. The primary focus of our conversations with Mike Savas was on the topic of making an artist money through touring, and how best to capitalize on and grow their fans. I definitely think that we were a part of that plan. Based on the demographic of Bon Jovi fans that day, college students are not among the most populous group of Bon Jovi fans. Simply inviting a select number of students automatically increases brand awareness. For one, this makes Bon Jovi look like a band giving back to the community and two, college students are known for their interaction with social networking and Bon Jovi can count on at least some publicity from those students attending.” – M.F. (UG ’13)

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(Each of the set’s 5 LCD monitors is controlled by a 6,000 lb robot; Photo by Jason Bookman)

“I believe that Bon Jovi’s management wanted to get students to experience this for two main reasons: 1) they genuinely want students to learn about this aspect of the business, and 2) because it would provide some great publicity for their tour. Each person seemed excited to share their knowledge about concert management, including their personal experiences of how they began in the industry.  They even gave us advice about how to enter the business ourselves… I also believe they wanted to do this Bon Jovi classroom experience, because it would also provide additional publicity for their tour.  Having a group of students writing about their backstage tour experience in school newspapers, college radio stations, and personal blogs would increase the amount of press coverage for the tour.” – M.C. (G ’11)

“I observed another ‘life on the road’ moment during the show when I peered to my left to see two crew members embraced in each other’s arms during a slow song.  I began to realize that being on tour is not only a professional commitment; it is also a personal one… [The crew] had been at MSG four hours earlier than us and had the bear of a task on their hands to dismantle and pack away everything they had set up.  While I knew it could take hours to set up and take down the elements of a live concert, I had no idea that it could require 18-20 hour days for some people.  Though arena concerts can boast a high ticket price (which can lead to consumer complaints), I now have the utmost respect for the hard work that puts the value into each ticket.  My Bon Jovi College experience was one for the books and I am very grateful for the time and expertise dedicated to us by those who volunteered.” – J.P. (G ’11)

Robby Towns (G ’10) Recognized for Industry Report & Insight

robby_towns.JPGWhile a student, alumni Robby Towns (G ’10) contributed to a major industry report by Will Page, Chief Economist of the Performing Rights Society in London. The two met in London where Mr. Page was a guest lecturer during the Music Business Graduate Program’s winter session. The report, “Economic Insight 20 – Adding up the UK music industry for 2009,” is seminal to the creation of new ways to measure the entire music industry. The report is available here.

The same Robby Towns (@nestamusic) was recognized for his insightful commentary on the music industry in the March 26, 2011 issue of Billboard, in which the magazine featured its first-ever list of those most worth following on Twitter.

Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Howard-Spink Panelist On Piracy at SXSW Interactive

(Sam Howard-Spink, left, speaks at SXSW Interactive; Photo credit: Phil Harvey)

On March 14th, Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Howard-Spink traveled to Austin, Texas as a featured panelist at the annual SXSW Interactive Festival.  Each year the conference features “compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technologies… and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new digital works, video games, and innovative ideas the international community has to offer.”

Professor Howard-Spink presented as part of the panel “Neither Moguls nor Pirates: Grey Area Music Distribution,” which addressed digital copyright law, and media and music industry piracy claims. The panel’s description reads:

The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.

In the course of the discussion, Professor Howard-Spink drew on his extensive research and expertise on international music industries, emerging networks and hybrid business models, and international intellectual property policies.

He also recently conitrbuted to FanBridge‘s guest blog post series “How to Leverage Email and Social Media at Large Events/Festivals,” in which he stressed artists to focus on putting on the best performances possible and to not simply rely on clever marketing to get people’s attention.

For more information on the panel, visit write-ups from Center for Social Media, iShed, and Piracy Network.