(Photo credit: Emily Turner)
On behalf of everyone here at the NYU Music Business Program, VeloCity wishes you a happy holiday season.
(Photo credit: Emily Turner)
On behalf of everyone here at the NYU Music Business Program, VeloCity wishes you a happy holiday season.
We are very happy to announce that the New York State Department of Education has approved a new concentration for our MA program. The official name of this academic initiative is “Music Business: MA Concentration in Music Technology.”
The Music Technology Concentration within the MA in Music Business is intended for students with a background (academic and/or professional) in music technology who wish to exploit that experience in the commercial arena. The focus is on understanding interrelations between music businesses and consumer technologies, audio for games and other interactive applications, sound design in the digital music space, and emerging platforms for the generation and exploitation of music.
Curriculum details are at:
To apply, please go to:
Every year the CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival (link) is held in New York’s Greenwich Village neighborhood. From October 19th through the 23rd, CMJ 2010 took over Lower Manhattan. For five days and nights, dozens of the city’s greatest venues, bars, and theaters hosted over 1,000 up-and-coming artists from across the globe. An estimated 120,000 musicians, fans, and industry members participated in the event, hoping to reach new audiences, discover new music, and discuss the future of the industry.
This year, NYU again served as the festival’s headquarters, hosting everything from badge pick-up to live music events and panel discussions. All Music Business students take full advantage of this, and are encouraged to participate as much as possible. They actively engage in numerous networking opportunities, and some have even performed in showcases. As a class assignment, our undergraduate students write about panel discussions, so to cover CMJ 2010, VeloCity selected these five reports.
“From Crowd Surfing to Crowd Funding” – Aaron Marks (’12)
The panel’s purpose was to both define crowd funding, and describe how it can be used by both signed and independent artists. The first order of business for the panel was to give an expert definition of what crowd funding is. Although the various companies represented differ in their methods, they agreed that crowd funding is a means by which artists can get funds for their a project – be it recording a new album, touring, making a video – by taking money directly from their fans, often offering rewards in exchange for giving money.
The advantages of crowd funding discussed by the panel were many. One of the main advantages crowd funding offers over more traditional forms of funding (such as getting money from labels) is that it forms a strong connection with the fans. By actually seeing where their money is going, the fans feel like they have a direct influence on the artist’s project and career. They can, in a sense, play the role that the label once played, helping to directly build the artist which they care so much about.
With many companies offering many methods of crowd funding, artists now have a wide array of options to complete their next project with the direct help of their fans.
“Controlling the Pipeline; Net Neutrality and the Level of Access” – William Perliter (’12)
This subject is one of the most crucial and confusing subjects with regards to the digital age today. Net neutrality is an Internet debate, but as the music industry is so reliant on, and expanding within the Internet, it was a very fitting topic for CMJ. Essentially- from what I think I got out of it- net neutrality is essentially, equality of internet access (in the broadest of terms). One of the panelists helped describe it best with an example from the telecommunications world. He said, “Imagine if you were making a phone call to your local pizza joint, and while the phone is ringing, an operator comes on the phone and says, ‘please wait while we prioritize your phone call.’” Prioritizing your phone call means that pending on what you pay, determines when your call will go through.
To better explain this, it is important to understand that on the Internet, there is content, and searching for content. The content is the “exits” or “streets” and the search for content is the “highway.” If you give the ISP’s power to control the “highways,” you are giving them the power to say, “You know what, I don’t like this content, I am going to block people from getting off at this exit,” or “We should be the only music distributors, let’s block the iTunes from our server. This is even a bigger problem because the ISP industry is more or less an oligopoly (almost even a duopoly). If you give a small amount of people such great power, you are treading in very dangerous waters. This can lead to unconstitutional decisions, and be very harmful to all industries and people who use the internet.
“Hitting Your Target: Using Adwords, Facebook Ads & Blog Networks To Reach Your Fans” – Lauren Grimes (’14)
This panel featured five men in the advertising/marketing/promoting fields talking about “sponsored tweets, google adwords, Facebook ads, blog ads and blog marketing.” They started off by defining a few terms: CPC (cost per click, or the ability to purchase inventory in ads and only be charged if said ad is clicked on and the website is landed on), CPM (cost per thousand, paying per thousand “impressions”), and CPW (cost per “whatever” – the end goal of the ads). They repeatedly focussed on the action that the ad is trying to produce in whoever is reading it – whether it’s buying a CD, downloading a song, RSVPing to an event, or what have you – that you must question the value and the profit of the ads you purchase and invest in, or what it’s worth for somebody to take each step according to what you want them to do.
Their final point was that it is important for bands and musicians to have things to say besides trying to sell things and just featuring music on their websites. It is important not only to figure out how to get the consumers to find and discover you, but also to deliver on your promises and keep them interested and intrigued. And it’s important to know the audience – based on a study called Natural Born Clickers, it was found that younger game-playing men are doing 80% of the ad-clicking on the internet; design ads with that person in mind.
“Getting Paid From The Song” – Milton Koh (’14)
This panel was on revenue streams available to the aspiring artist, as well as to artists in general, in the changing modern-day landscape of music distribution and consumption. Through the discussion, the panel established that all revenues in the music industry boil down to copyrights and the enforcement of these copyrights. They mentioned that there are two copyrights for each piece of work: the original composition, as well as the sound recording. The panelist talked about 360 deals, also known as Multiple Rights Deals, and how marketing and profit revenues have changed from before, where the avenues were traditionally AM/FM Radio, sales of physical albums (which one panelist humorousl
y put as “these flat plastic circles with shiny stuff on either side that you probably no longer know of in this day and age.”), magazine reviews and college radios. The panel also suggested that aspiring artists should consider the option of starting their own publishing companies, as many publishers, especially the bigger, more established ones, are very likely to try to fleece young, new artists.
Alex Holtz (G ’06) of Rightsflow (link) spoke on merchandising as a way of earning money from your songs, and described how advertising had become to ubiquitous, that differentiation was more increasingly needed for the market to take note. He discussed on the importance of certain new markets in this modern day, such as the gaming industry, which is certainly booming. Marketing to this industry could mean getting your song placed on a game soundtrack, or even your band name on online avatars’ outfits. He also spoke on Limelight, one of Rightsflow’s services that makes it easier for people to clear cover songs.
“Managing Without Borders” – Olivia Muenz (’14)
The panelists unanimously agreed that they must act as mediator between all agents worldwide. The agents (most have two) for artists in various territories will act out of their own interest for booking. It is the manager’s duty to mediate between two conflicting schedules of two different agents for the benefit of the artist. The explicit passion for the artists work is what ultimately drives the success of the artist and keeps the strong relationship between the artist and manager intact. Friedman, who manages Chrystal Castles and Dirty Projectors, asserted that it is the manager’s responsibility to keep everything running smoothly. When there were flight cancellations before a show for his artist, he had an A, B, and C plan always ready. There is no excuse for a show not happening.
Managing artists internationally can be an extremely challenging task, with flight cancellations and visa problems. The success of international touring is largely based on logistics, while the success of the artists is largely based on the seriousness and passion for the success of the artist by their respective manager.
(MUSB undergrads in Prague)
Every semester undergraduate music business majors take their knowledge and interests abroad to any number of the locations NYU has to offer. While Prague and Florence have historically been the most popular study abroad sites for music business majors, students in recent years have begun to branch out, electing to spend semesters in places like London and Buenos Aires.
In the first installment of what will become an ongoing survey in future semesters, VeloCity reached out to undergraduate music business majors studying abroad to gain a better understanding of the current state of music in and around their respective sites.
This semester we spoke to several juniors to hear what they had to say about their experiences with music in Prague. We also heard from another MUSB undergrad who is currently finishing her semester abroad in London. Check out the interview below:
1. What music is on the radio where you are? Do you listen to local radio, or stream music from the US?
JCo: I don’t listen to the radio, but I go to a lot of concerts and discover new music that way. DJs I see in Prague have their own online radio shows streaming on their blogs, as well as the DJ sets that they spin live.
JCa: The music on the radio is mostly US music that is a few months old (i.e. “Tik-Tok” by Ke$ha). At the music publishing company I am interning at, they play Czech pop radio, which does occasionally have current American music (i.e. Kanye West). However, I’d say I mostly listen to music I stream from the US.
ZF: Just like in the US, I don’t really listen to the radio. But I’ve been told that it’s usually either classic rock, or a mix of American and some Czech Top 40. A lot of the locals here really like classic rock and current American pop, but it just depends on who you hang out with!
AK: I don’t listen to the radio here, but I hear plenty of music (radio and otherwise) at supermarkets and the gym. At supermarkets, they often have bad covers of English-language hits, and at the gym, they play a mix of yesteryear’s American hits (Nickelback, Missy Elliot, Lenny Kravitz, among others) and highly European bands (Nightwish, the Finnish operatic power-metal band seems to be popular). The only Czech band I seem to hear with any regularity is Chinaski, which to me sounds like a watered-down version of Stone Temple Pilots.
KM: Actually the funniest thing is that people in London basically listen to the same Top 40 music as in the States except that they tend to catch on to the trends a little later. And especially in pubs, they’re playing some old school hits from the 80s and 90s and they all sing along to Journey hits just like we do back home. All the club music is exactly the same too.
2. How much US music do you hear, and where?
JCo: I hear mainstream US music everywhere, from restaurants to clubs to cafes.
JCa: A ton! (i.e. at clubs, on the radio, etc). Most popular music in Prague is rooted in what’s hot in America.
ZF: You hear US music everywhere! In all of the tourist destinations, Lady Gaga will be blasting from the radio and American Top 40 is playing in a lot of bars and cafes. The cooler bars have dubstep, international music, ska, punk, you name it. You can really find any kind of music in the Czech Republic, but it’s easy to feel at home with all the Top 40 here.
AK: I hear plenty of American music, whether it be in clubs, gyms, or the music collections of my Czech friends.
KM: It’s all US music.Or it’s international artists that have big hits in the US. But it’s all over the radio and playing in stores and pubs and everywhere you can possibly imagine.
(The Lennon Wall in Prague)
3. Is there an “indie” music scene where you are? If so, how would you describe it? Is there an “indie” chart? Does “indie” have the same, cool connotation as in NYC?
JCo: The two indie scenes would be the underground dubstep scene, and on the other end of the spectrum, live jazz bands. It is different than in New York because most “indie” artists are waiting for at least a glimpse of the spotlight. Concert-goers in the NY indie scene like to play the role of the scout, predicting who will be the “next big thing,” where as in Prague, it is much more about the experience than the artist. This is partly because DJs are acts rather than artists; jazz musicians’ music is more powerful live than on a record.
JCa: There is an “indie” scene, but it is much different than what we’re used to in the US. Whereas American indie bands try to steer away from sounding really poppy and mainstream in the US, doing so is very “hip” in Prague.
ZF: There might be, but I’m not really so into it. Some of the other music business kids have had some great experiences though with the local scene! There’s definitely a lot of DJs and a lot of clubs though, but I wouldn’t really call that “indie” like you would in New York-I typically attribute that to indie rock.
AK: There doesn’t seem to be much
of an “indie” scene here in Prague, at least not one that resembles New York in anyway. The indie hipster fashion sense is conspicuously absent, and very few bands seem to have a sound that could be described as indie. I’ve seen one indie-esque band here in Prague, and the audience didn’t find them to be too exciting. However, Budapest seems to have a pretty active indie scene. I went to a very large club called Gödör that hosted a very well-attended indie concert, and the crowd was about as intensely hipster as any Brooklyn neighbor (New York Dolls t-shirts, bizarre hairstyles, etc.)
KM: There is an indie scene in London. Especially those bands playing in the pubs all over the city (and there are thousands of pubs so there are thousands of these bands and artists) I like the indie scene here much more than back in NYC because the “indie” acts in London don’t take themselves too seriously. There are tons of great bands just playing on the streets around the markets in London and they’re not worried about being a “cool indie” act, they just love music and love playing and thats the best thing to hear.
4. What has surprised you about the music scene where you are?
JCo: Music venues are the only place where I have seen Czechs act outside of their comfort zone. Extremely reserved, they completely transform into wild music fans with outrageous break-dance moves at night. It is also interesting to see young Czech people on the metro listening to dubstep on their iPods. Music I would associate only with nighttime fun is part of their everyday soundtrack.
JCa: I was surprised about how much jazz can be found in Prague. There a ton of great jazz clubs and you never go too long without hearing a great sax solo on the street. Sometimes I feel like I’m back in NY!
ZF: I think a music scene is very different when there’s another 3 years added on to the legal drinking age, and with that a very eager group of people to go out, drink, and listen to music. It’s a totally different dynamic here then when you go out in New York!
AK: There seems to be a pretty active interest in American hard rock, particularly the LA hair metal of the 80’s. I’ve become friends with a band named Bitch N’ Chips who plays in that style, and they have an enthusiastic fan base here in Prague.
KM: I guess I was surprised how much the music scene was exactly similar to that of NYC. Although I suppose I really shouldn’t have been surprised because most big international cities have basically the same top 40 as the US but it is comforting to be able to sing along with every else to the songs being played.
5. Is there any other news from Prague or London relevant to the Music Business program, or any other stories you’d like to share?
JCa: I got to attend my guitar teacher’s album release party at a famous art warehouse. Thousands of people were there, and it was great to feel like a part of the Prague music community!
ZF: If you’re looking for a way to make some venue-related music business connections while in Prague, I found that joining the newly formed Prague Student Council as Vice President helped me do that! Since I’m also a DJ, I’ve been planning Club Nights at venues in Prague, and whenever I sit down to meet a venue owner I feel like I’m adding to my Music Business education, not to mention my rolodex.
KM: You know, I had totally forgotten how much I loved open mic nights. There is so much talent pouring out and it’s just awesome to hear. Another one of my favorite things to do in London is to put my iPod on shuffle and roam the streets.