Red Bull Studios New York’s Loud Dreams Lecture Visits Collegium

(Photo by Carl Chisolm, courtesy of Red Bull)

Collegium on Wednesday, March 27th, presented by Red Bull Studios, featured a multi-dimensional look into today’s world of hip-hop. Led by respected hip-hop journalist Shaheem Reid of XXL and MTV News, the panelists’ discussion centered on the development of production duo Sean C. & LV’s new album Loud Dreams Vol. 1. Released on Tuesday, the album features hip-hop heavyweights like Pusha T, Bun B, Fabolous, Raekwon and many more. Joining Reid and Sean C. & LV were chief engineer of Red Bull Studios New York Chris Tabron, artist duo CharlieRED, and veteran emcee Styles P. All of the panelists are featured on Loud Dreams Vol. 1.

The panel addressed the evolving role of mixtapes. “The nomenclature needs to be updated, because it’s basically an album,” said Tabron. “To me, growing up, it was a way to hear something exclusive. The difference between a mixtape and an album is in the marketing.” Sean C. added, “People use the term ‘mixtape’ to take pressure off of themselves. They don’t want pressure from the label to have as much success as an ‘album’ even though they’re the same thing.” The once-competitive mixtape circuit has become accessible to anyone. The panelists agreed that success in today’s mixtape circuit lies in one’s connections, networking and social media skills.

Professor Larry Miller introduces the panel (Photo by Carl Chisolm, courtesy of Red Bull)

Given that music creation has become so accessible, Reid asked the panelists to weigh in on the idea of needing the “machine” of a major label. Reid cited Macklemore as a hip-hop artist who achieved success without a label, and in his success, still does not rely on one. Styles P said, “Major labels are machines. But when you’re independent, you become the machine. The majors are now looking at the artist as the type of machine they are. They’ll ask, ‘What’s your Twitter following?’ They want someone who invests in themselves. At the end of the day you’re the machine anyway. It comes down to how much work you’re willing to do.”

But at a time when anyone can make music and use social media, how does an aspiring artist stand out from the crowd and make him or herself valuable? Sean C. stressed the importance of relationships and networking. Tabron added, “Know your audience. And in terms of staying power, you need to be yourself. People respond to sincerity.”

On one end of the table sat Styles P, who has been active in the New York hip-hop scene for over 20 years and offered insightful retrospectives. On the other end were CharlieRED’s Chauncy Sherod and Cobaine Ivory, a young duo who released their first EP in December 2012. The diversity of the panelists offered contrasting points of view, but all of the panelists agreed that New York rap is in a good place, and are optimistic for the future. Tabron justified his optimism with a simple yet thought-provoking argument: “A river is always strongest at the source.”

Industry Pioneer Jac Holzman Presented with Music Business Visionary Award

On Wednesday, March 12, NYU Steinhardt proudly presented industry pioneer Jac Holzman with the third 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.

Holzman sat down with Faculty Songwriter-in-Residence and Master Teacher in Songwriting Phil Galdston before an audience of Music Business students, alumni, faculty, and Holzman’s own family, friends and colleagues to discuss Holzman’s unique and extraordinary perspective on the history and future of music and technology. In the course of the conversation, Holzman explained in-depth the creation of Elektra Records in his college dorm room in 1950, and Nonesuch Records in 1964. He also discussed in detail his process of developing bands like Love, The Doors and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Holzman entered the recorded music industry at a time “when independents started in the same place. We didn’t know what to do, so we made it up as we went along and learned how to move to our own internal drummer.” Holzman reminisced about a time, particularly the 1950s, when independent record labels communicated with each other about almost everything. “It was convivial and nobody was trying to push the other person underwater.” Holzman considers these years to be the time in recorded music history that is most essential to the future of the music industry.

To Holzman, working in the music industry is not a job, but a calling. “A calling is something you can’t resist.” After over 60 years in the music business, Holzman spoke with the passion and spirit of someone who has just gotten started. A self-proclaimed autodidact, Holzman built Elektra’s catalog by going to artists’ homes with a tape recorder, and recording them himself. “Autodidacts are so in love with life and so in love with what they do, that they want to wrap themselves in it, and that’s what I wanted to do. I learned more and more, I got better at it, and I got smarter.” Galdston emphasized that Holzman discovered artists, pursued the artists, and engineered and produced the records – something that most executives today cannot do. Perhaps the most understated takeaway from the evening was how Holzman and Galdston’s conversation revolved around the music itself. Holzman maintains that artists are the most important part of a record label, and advised, “if you take care of the music, the music will take care of you.”

In 2013 Holzman launched the Doors app when he concluded that box sets had no place in the digital world. Holzman summarized the app’s 16-month development process as “the most pain and the most fun” he has ever had. With 1600 discrete items, it is the most comprehensive and fully interactive music app ever. Made with help from his family, the app is designed to test new approaches to digital music presentation, production techniques and the economics of pricing, marketing effectiveness, and the optimization and monetization of a product that offers unparalleled value through its ability to upgrade content and navigation.

Holzman left the audience with an invigorating reminder. “I’m not in the music business. I’m in music.” At the end of the conversation, Student Ambassador Board members Julia Pernicone (UG ’15) and Suzanne Rollins (G ’14) presented Holzman with the Visionary Award.

For more music and business wisdom, and secrets of Holzman’s remarkable career, pick up his book Follow the Music.

Annual Alumni & Current Student Networking Reception Focus is Creative Relationships in Music Supervision

(From L to R: Flescher, Faber, Young, Rivera, Martin, Tuthill and Trussell. Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

On Friday October 25, the 9th floor of the NYU Kimmel Center for University Life was bustling with Music Business Program students, alumni and faculty for the 13th Annual Alumni & Current Students Networking Reception, an event produced by Professor Shirley Washington. Every year the music business program creates the opportunity for alumni and students to meet or re-connect, update each other on their professional progress, and have a panel discussion featuring our talented and knowledgeable alumni and current students. This year’s panel discussion was entitled “Cue to Cue, Concept to Completion: The Ever-Expanding Role of the Music Supervisor.”

Before beginning the panel, Professor Larry Miller, Program Director Dr. Catherine Moore, Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Sam Howard-Spink and Steinhardt Vice Dean Dr. Beth Weitzman gave attendees updates on recent additions to the program. Among these announcements were Dr. Ron Sadoff’s new appointment to Director of the Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, and introducing visiting Music Business faculty member Carlos Chirinos. Lastly, Dr. Howard-Spink is leading the process of publishing a journal of NYU Music Business colloquies, to display outstanding work by our graduate students.

Adjunct professor and grad alum Heather Trussell, Senior VP of Memory Lane Music Group, moderated the discussion using her music publishing expertise to ask all the right questions. None of the panelists are music supervisors, but they all work directly with supervisors and this gave attendees insight into how artists, managers and rights holders benefit from sync placements.

This year’s panelists were Seth Faber (UG ’04) of Primary Wave Music, Shira Flescher (G ‘11) of Sony Music Entertainment, Pauline Martin formerly of Spirit Music Group, Nicole Rivera (UG ‘01) of Wasserman Media Group, Chris Tuthill (UG ‘93) of Talent Consultants International and Alice Young, current student (G ’14) and intern at Downtown Music Publishing.

(Panelists and faculty pose before the discussion. Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

The panelists concurred that music supervisors have become the new “it” gatekeepers, building high profile careers and, citing ChopShop’s Alexandra Patsavas, Go Music’s Gary Calamar and Neophonic’s PJ Bloom, even creating their own companies. It’s grown into such a sought-after profession that even basketball star Lebron James is getting into the game, supervising NBA 2K14, due out next year. Over the past five to ten years, successful music supervisors have come to hold the power in creative relationships. The role has become so important that some supervisors can even influence storylines of a film or TV show, such as Jonathan Karp, Judd Apatow’s go-to music supervisor.

The panelists discussed from a musician, label’s or publisher’s point of view, how to pitch music to a music supervisor – a delicate endeavor since the pitch usually happens the opposite way. One should not be too “sales-y” or forceful, and instead listen and know about copyrights. When sending music to a supervisor, make sure the pitch is directed to someone with the right audience for the music, and tag all the metadata with contact and copyright information, making the supervisor’s job easier.

Like the rest of the industry, the panelists concluded that music supervision is a relationship-based business. A good relationship can make or break a placement. Trussell summarized, “if a bunch of songs all fit, they’ll pick the one with the writer, label or publisher they like to work with.” Before opening up for questions, Trussell and the panelists played out mock negotiations between a music supervisor and a label, and a music supervisor and a publisher – a helpful and entertaining way to end the panel.

Annual Alumni & Current Student Networking Reception Stirred the Pot

(Graduate Program Director Dr. Catherine Moore in discussion with panelists, from L to R: Kittie Palakovich, Mark Ciampittiello, Adam Parness, Sam Tall. Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

On Friday, February 22nd the NYU Steinhardt Music Business program held its Annual Alumni & Current Student Networking Reception at the Helen & Martin Kimmel Center for University Life. The panel was entitled “Data Privacy and Music Revenue: Can We Afford an Ethical Viewpoint?” and was moderated by Graduate Program Director Dr. Catherine Moore.

This year’s event sought to stir the pot and stray from “safe” topics. For the first time the event centered on a sensitive industry topic – so sensitive that several alumni who were invited to be panelists were not allowed by their companies to speak about it. Another new aspect of this year’s reception was that the undergraduate and graduate programs were both represented as current students sat on the panel alongside alumni. Event coordinator and Music Business professor Shirley Washington expressed that she chose to combine alumni and current students on the panel “as a way to demonstrate an advantage we have as a university, that we can tackle and debate hard things.”

Opening words from Dean Mary Brabeck, Dr. Robert Rowe and various music business faculty gave attendees a look into recent news and accomplishments in the Music Business program. Among them were Undergraduate Program Director Catherine Radbill’s new book, and the publication of this book featuring a chapter on Brazil written by Dr. Sam Howard-Spink. Attendees were then introduced to the panel:

Katherine “Kittie” Palakovich, Esq. (UG ‘03): Director of Business Affairs at Creative License, Inc., the leading independent music licensing and talent procurement agency for brands and advertisers. Prior to Creative License, Kittie held various positions in the music industry including management, radio promotions and business and legal affairs. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Music Business from New York University, Kittie earned her law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Adam Parness (UG ‘00): Senior Director of Music Licensing at Rhapsody International, Inc. where he manages the company’s agreements and relationships with record labels, music publishers and other licensing entities for the award-winning Rhapsody music subscription service in the United States and the Napster service throughout Europe. Adam is also an accomplished guitarist both on stage and in the recording studio.

Mark Ciampittiello (G ’14): current Music Business graduate student with a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies from Fordham University. Mark has studied audio at New England Institute of Technology and interning in several departments at Atlantic Records, JAMBOX Studios and Cybersound Studios.

Sam Tall (UG ’14): current Music Business undergraduate student and founder of Under the Window, LLC. Sam has signed and produced four commercially released albums, manages the careers of two actively gigging artists and books shows all over the country. He is also employed full-time by Downtown Music, and is a recipient of the 2011 ASCAP Foundation Joan & Irwin Robinson Scholarship.

(The panelists spoke to a full house. Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

The panelists compared the types of data they use at their companies. For Parness at Rhapsody, the focus is more on location and demographic data than user data. Parness reiterated throughout the discussion that Rhapsody has a strict privacy policy and draws the line at “anything that starts to look like an advertisement.” Graduate student Ciampittiello stressed the importance of Facebook aggregation and APIs, as it creates better market segmentation to can be used by artists to build a fan base off of other artists with similar repertoires. Undergraduate entrepreneur Tall agreed, stating that as a manager, the kind of data he looks for is handed to him on Facebook. Specifically, Tall uses age and location demographics to determine where his artists should tour and to make sure that an artist’s lyrical content is in line with the artist’s audience demographic. Graduate alum Kittie Palakovich added prior purchasing data and callback offers as prevalent data being used in the industry today.

Of course, one could always use more data. The panelists named user income brackets, socioeconomic data and users’ favorite forms of delivery as types of data they don’t currently have that, given the access, they would use to better manage artists. Dr. Moore and the panelists discussed where to draw the line between private data and usage data. Upon debating the topic, the panelists were in agreement that giving users the choice to opt in is the key to avoiding data misuse. Tall offered the opinion that there is a “wave of paranoia” around user data that can only be solved through a joint effort: while companies need to make their privacy statements and terms of use more explicit, clear and understandable, “people need to stop being paranoid.”

(Front Row: Grad faculty member Judy Tint; Dr. Catherine Moore, Palakovich, Grad/Undergrad faculty member Shirley Washington; Back Row: Ciampittiello, Tall, Dr. Rowe, Parness, Dean Brabeck, Undergrad faculty member Larry Miller. Photo by Chianan Yen courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

The key takeaways from the discussion were the subject of opting in (“as long as users know it’s happening, it’s fine”) and the importance of data as a whole. Parness advised, “If you’re a startup, you should be concerned about it from day one” while Palakovich added, “All data is important.” Following audience questions, the discussion concluded and panelists, alumni and current students networked over dessert.

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.

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.

Grad Student Report: Takeaways from the Digital Music Forum East

(Ned Sherman – CEO, Digital Media Wire, moderates while Eric Klinker of BitTorrent defends his company.)

Music Business grad student Peter Schwinge writes this guest post for VELOCITY.

On Thursday February 24, 2011, Ned Sherman and his team at Digital Media Wire rounded up a diverse group of some of the most cutting-edge minds throughout the industry to get together for a full day at the Digital Music Forum East. The 350+ attendees (many first-timers) were treated to speakers ranging from start-ups, venture capitalists, entertainment companies, leading brands, and other digital media gurus on the state of the industry, monetization, and innovative/forward-thinking concepts.

With the plethora of information to digest in one day it is comparable to drinking from a fire hydrant. Instead of regurgitating a list of what happened, I would like to bullet out some key themes and discussions in a way for you to think about. More specifically… to instigate a discussion on current trends, concepts, concerns and how we as a fragmented industry can work in conjunction to create stability and sustainability.

Consumers are making out!
– Russ Crupnick (NPD Group): Is the consumer taking advantage of us?
– People want to share music
      – Use music to brand themselves
      – Distributive Discovery
      – They want playlists to see what friends are playing
– “Only Suckers pay for Downloads”
– Big music companies upset people

Streaming Services: Are they working?
– David Bakula (Nielsen/Soundscan): “People play what they don’t buy, and buy what they don’t play”
– In the US, only 5% subscribe to a music service
– No single service that is appealing – Consumers want an experience

Venture Capitalists:
– Music still not a hot area but they are coming back to diversify their portfolios (expectations of 4x-5x ROI opposed to the 20x of yesteryear)
– Investors shy away from anything requiring licensing
– How can publishers make it easier for services to license?

Technology:
– Music vs Technology = Us vs. Them mentality
– Prevalent attitude that technology companies are stealing the music business
– Technology was inevitable, but nobody knew what to do with it
– Ted Cohen (TAG Strategic): Easy to put a tax line item on cable bill

Bands & Brands:
– Andrew Katz (Pepsi-Cola): “TV Still matters…big time!”
– Where is the void? Where can you have deep engagements?
– Ticket sales, are we relegated to enticing buyers with the need to give away albums with the purchase of a concert ticket?

Social Networks and Music: What’s Next?:
– Today’s marketing game is akin to throwing spaghetti on the wall
– Translate Social Metrics: Fans-to-Revenue
– Eric Garland (BigChampagne): “What can we sell that we’re good at?”

Standout:
– Timo Poijärvi gets my award for most colorful character…and website www.hitlantis.com

With the abundance of brilliant information being shared at this conference, it leaves opportunity for more questions. How do we put this all together? Is there a way to create scarcity? In this rat race, who is leading the charge?

A problem with many of these services is users don’t know about them, how can they be marketed better and create traction?

To take a page from Keynote Speaker Gary Shapiro… How will innovation fuel progress and will it ultimately save the content and music industries?

And most importantly, how can we get BitTorrent into the fold?

What are your thoughts?

More on Digital Media Wire here: www.dmwmedia.com
View Conference Videos: http://www.youtube.com/digitalmediawire
Follow them on Twitter @dmwnews and @dmwevents

You can email Peter at: pschwinge@gmail.com

Collegium 2/16: The Business of Music in Movie Trailers

(From left: Yoav Goren, Robin Joseph, Orlando Rotundo, and Kellie Maltagliati)

Collegium on Wednesday, February 16th featured a multi-dimensional look into the world of film trailer music. Led by Kellie Maltagliati of Trailer Music Live, the panelists discussed writing, licensing, and editing music for movie trailers. Trailer music by nature complements the film and aims to inspire movie-goers to make the trip, and the panel included a variety of industry professionals who work closely on distinct aspects of placing music for movie trailers.

Representing the creative side of trailer music was Yoav Goren, an accomplished film music composer and music publisher with nearly 20 years of experience. His company Immediate Music has provided over 2,500 licenses and is one of the foremost production music libraries for licensing and custom scoring in Los Angeles. In 1992, Mr. Goren relocated from New York to Los Angeles and began writing commissioned custom scores for movie trailers and constructing a library of licensable music for film. More recently he has composed exclusively licensed, custom trailer scores for box-offices hits such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Avatar, and Toy Story 3. During the discussion Mr. Goren also noted that over the years, the affordability of recording technologies has had a dramatic impact on the amount of trailer music that studios have to choose from, and that there is an increasingly high awareness with regard to styles and trends in trailer music. As a composer, he must master a range of musical styles to fit different films and create value in his library.

As Creative Director of Film & Telvision at Primary Wave Music, Robin Joseph works to find sync opportunities for her artists’ songs in television, films, and online. Her music clearance credits include films such as The Notebook and Wedding Crashers, and television shows such as Queer Eye for The Straight Guy and American Gladiators. During the discussion, Ms. Joseph noted the difficulty in pushing new music to trailers and getting a placement as many studios will choose commonly used music or license from a library. As a music supervisor she must also be very familiar with Primary Wave’s library so that she may direct the appropriate music to each project. She and Mr. Goren both agreed that one of the most prominent issues for placing trailer music today is that of money and budgeting, which often leads studios to explore any number of options and in turn creates competition among artists and composers in search of a placement.

Orlando Rotundo of Giaronomo Productions brought to the panel experience as an editor of film trailers. Giaronomo has won numerous awards for its work in creating trailers for some of Hollywood’s most successful films, such as No Country for Old Men, The Departed, and Pulp Fiction. One Mr. Rotundo’s primary responsbilities as an editor is to screen music and experiment with different audio-visual pairings to find the best, most effective match. In other instances, however, he must cater his work to a studio’s musical selection. Mr. Rotundo also commented on how advancing technology is speeding up the entire editing process and shortening project deadlines. Like Mr. Goren and Ms. Joseph, he cited shrinking budgets as one of the trailer industry’s primary issues as artists like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses are notorious for charging six and seven-figure licensing fees.

On Saturday, February 19th, Yoav Goren’s music was performed live at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts as part of Trailer Music Live, produced by Kellie Maltagliati. The event marked Trailer Music Live’s New York premier and featured the NYU Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Master Chorale conducted by John Graham.


CMJ 2010: Undergrads report on panel discussions

 

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.

Music Business Program celebrates 35 years

(Female giant panda Taotao celebrates her 35th birthday at the Jinan Zoo in eastern China’s Shandong province)

The 2010-2011 academic year marks the 35th anniversary of New York University’s Music Business Program. Our Undergraduate program debuted in September 1976 while the first Graduate students entered in 1993. In our 35 years, the Undergraduate and Graduate programs have graduated an estimated 1000 alumni! 

To commemorate this milestone, we bring you 5 other notable events from 1976:

January 11 – The Philadelphia Flyers play the Soviet Red Army team, the Red Army leaves the ice for a portion of the game and the Flyers win 4-1.

April 23 – The punk rock group The Ramones release their first self-titled album.

July 20 – The Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars. 

August 5 – The Great Clock of Westminister (or Big Ben) suffers internal damage and stops running for over 9 months.

November 26 – Microsoft is officially registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico.