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Music Business Seminar – The Road Taken

Students Lexi Giannandrea and Michelle Golden from the global entertainment and music business master’s program reflect upon the third of the Music Business Seminars, where they had the chance to listen to Robert Kraft talk about ‘Entertainment Connectivity’.


From the day we were born we have been taught to always think about our next step.

As babies, we were anxiously waiting for the first word to come out of our babbling mouths. When we finally reached pre-school, the next step was thinking about kindergarten. When we made it to kindergarten, before we knew it, it was time for first grade. When fifth grade came around, we were basically running the elementary school. Then we had to try to make it through middle school, and then came high school, which included bad acne, poor hairstyle choices, and green braces. High school became years of teachers drilling into our heads that the college essay we wrote, the SAT scores we received, the GPA inscribed on our transcript, would determine where we would spend the next four years.

Four years of college are now over and a couple years of work experience under our belt. We can all agree that each of us individually decided our next step was grad school. But even now as we memorize financial formulas, learn about the ever-changing business we all see a future in from knowledgeable professionals in the industry, and compete to win each of Emilien’s challenges, we still can’t help but ask ourselves: what’s next and how will we get there? Because in 8-9 months, that “next” moment will be at our front door and we’ll all be looking for the big red sign that says ‘THERE.’

Robert Kraft, an award-winning American songwriter, film composer, recording artist and record producer and Former President of Fox Music, asked us one Friday morning, “How do you get there?” As he stood there, with a stoic look of contemplation, pausing in between sentences and carefully selecting his words, he wasn’t expecting us to answer, but, instead, answered his own question by sharing his experiences.

In a time of our lives when ‘there’ isn’t clearly defined for us, after years of knowing what the next step would be, we are challenged with focusing not only on our end goal but the journey itself.

Throughout his career, Kraft had learned that being brilliant is not an excuse to let pride eclipse character. In an environment where many of us are brilliant, talented, and unique, ego peeks out from time to time. Nevertheless, humility and positive attitude, when paired with our own brand of excellence, can transport us to a brilliant destination.

In order to get ‘there,’ we must allow our passions and convictions propel us. Nothing positive can occur when standing still. If we fall down, then we learn from those mistakes. Ultimately, we decide to be participants in the world or not. In the words of Kraft, “The universe will respond to clear intentions.” Putting effort in will not always guarantee the results we want, but they will guarantee results.

These results should not be misconstrued as ‘luck.’ Luck is merely a repercussion of effort and planning. The effort and planning is where we, as students, as entrepreneurs, and as artists, demonstrate our significance. This preparation can be as simple as ascertaining what skills we have to offer to a business and to a situation. Whether or not we initially realize it, we all maintain propensities to be both fierce entrepreneurs and inspired artists.

And that’s where Kraft’s term ‘entreprenartist’ comes in. Initially coined by Kraft himself, the word ‘entreprenartist’ encompasses his own innate artistic sensibility and acquired business skills.

Until recently, the terms entrepreneur and artist have seemed to be mutually exclusive. The former denotes a high-intensity objectivity of forging a successful business, while the latter alludes to an emotional, creative entity. The dichotomy between these two factions has led to the necessary development of the ‘entreprenartist.’ This delicate balance of creative animal and shrewd businessman is not merely unique to Kraft, however, but exists — to a degree — in everyone.

Kraft’s journey was, at times, unforeseeable, as is each of ours. The inspiration acquired during his presentation is undoubtedly another arrow in the quiver of the inner entreprenartist. As Kraft said, whatever you think your ‘there’ will be, it’ll probably change — or the path you thought you would take to get to that ‘there’ will be completely different to what you had envisioned.”

And guess what? That’s okay.Kraft2

Music Business Seminar – Pablo Langa, Technology in the Music Industry

Wesley A’Harrah and Martin Erler, students of the global entertainment and music business master’s program, reflect upon the first of the weekly ‘Music Business Seminars’ where they had the chance to listen to Pablo Langa, Business Director for Blackboard International, talk about his presentation “Does your next million dollar business idea need a mobile app?”.Nomophobia-Berklee-blog

Are you one of the many individuals who suffer from nomophobia? In their 2012 study, a technology company called SecureEnvoy found that roughly 67% of their research population believed they had this strangely named condition. So what is nomophobia, exactly? Macmillan dictionary states nomophobia is “the fear of not having or not being able to use a cellphone.”

Pablo Langa – a specialist in global mobile-app development and strategic technological marketing – provided our music business Master’s class with some insights on drivers of powerful, innovative technological advances in today’s web-based environment. His presentation “Does your next million-dollar business idea need a mobile app” introduced us to six critical factors in creating a successful mobile application to meet the needs of today’s challenges. These six factors are the following: scope, pricing, knowing your audience, creating a platforming roadmap, promotion and the decision to build or buy your app.

When you think of versatile tools, a Swiss-army knife is likely among the first few things that come to mind. In the case mobile-apps, versatility often presents itself in a different form. Apps that claim to offer numerous functions are often less effective than competing apps with specialized functions. Simplicity is key: less is more, and more is less. Make sure your app is fast and performs well, and you’ll be much better off than having a slow app that can do many things.

When it comes to pricing a mobile app, it is crucial to understand the devices from which your target audience will utilize your app. Take into account the following average amount users will spend for an app on the following devices:

Android phone – $0.06
iPhone – $0.19
iPad – $0.50.

If fail to build your business model according to your audience, you can easily find yourself falling behind projected profit margins.

One of the more difficult aspects of app development is accounting for interfacing needs of your audience. An app needs to account for culture, language, location and Internet accessibility. For instance, some languages require text to read from right-to-left. Naturally, this can heavily influence the visual layout of your app.Pablo Langa Music Business Seminar

The average platform operating system (e.g. IOS 8, Android 4) will go through 25 updates each year. To remain relevant and functioning properly within a specified platform, it is mandatory to stay on top of these changes. There’s no easier way to convince users to delete your app than letting your app become incompatible with their operating system.

Remember Flappy Bird? This app was a pioneer in effectively accruing large numbers of ratings in short time-spans. A recent article from Business Insider revealed a major aspect of Flappy Bird’s path to success. Because of Flappy Bird’s app design, almost every user would quite quickly click on the “rate this app” button, effectively promoting the app within the app store. This is one of many possible methods of promoting an application.

If you’re absolutely set on having a top-ten app on the Apple app store, take a look at the following formula and see how you can break it:

App Store Ranking = (# of installs weighted for the past few hours) + (# of installs weighted for the past few days) + REVIEWS (star rating + number of reviews) + Engagement (# of times app opened etc.) + Sales ($)

While there is no definitive answer to whether you should build or pay someone for your app, there are some things to consider when faced with this question. If you want to have total control of your app then it is almost necessary you develop your own app. It’s relatively easy to create a clean, effective app through the use of app-creation websites (Appmachine, Phonegap, Xamarin or Goodbarber) and it is becoming more and more frequent for people and companies alike to manage the creation of their apps. If you’re terrible with technology, though, outsourcing your app creation is always a viable option. Keep focused on what you and your team are good at, and supplement these skills however you need.

Remember: if you want to reach as many people as possible, your app must be able to connect across various platforms, devices and audience demographics.

Want to learn one last thing? You know how your phone’s camera still makes that old-time camera sound? That sound is an example of something called a skeuomorph. Go Google it!


Berklee LAMBA at the 2012 Latin Billboard Awards (April 2012): Part 1

Luis Galeana, President of Berklee’s Latin American Music Business Association (LAMBA) reports from the 2012 Latin Billboard Conference in Miami.

On February 24th of 2012 I received a letter from Andrea Martin, Event Marketing for Billboard Magazine, inviting me and other peers to attend to the 2012 Latin Billboard Conference & Awards in Miami, FL. She and Leila Cobo (Director of Latin Content & Programing for Billboard) gave us a discount on the ticket prices as well as a free exhibit table at their exhibition area. This was the perfect opportunity to not just get important connections and insight of the music business but also to promote the Berklee Valencia Masters Programs and the Latin Studies Minor. 

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