What made you become a musician?
I was always into playing keys, but I never considered music as more than just a hobby. After graduating as a Computer Engineer & working for 2 years, I realized that it was not the life for me. I started learning basic Electronic Music Production and started playing around with MIDI controllers and sampling techniques. Every time I created something good, I would get a crazy euphoric feeling which forced me to take this up full time.
Tag: Berklee’s Valencia Campus (Page 1 of 2)
Berklee’s Valencia Campus
What made you become a musician?
Paul Nnaoji and Michelle Golden are students from the global entertainment and music business graduate program at Berklee’s Valencia campus.
Almost ten months ago, over 150 students from 35 different countries, came together to attend various Master’s programs at Berklee College of Music, Valencia campus. We didn’t know what to expect — some of us were fresh out of college, while others had a few years of experience under our belts. But we came to Valencia, Spain — from various parts of the world — to explore our passion within the music industry. As the spring semester comes to a close, we sit here and write filled with more knowledge, experience, and guidance as to what comes next. In the spirit of this year’s TEDxBerkleeValencia event, which took place on April 25, 2015 at L’Oceanogràfic themed Changing Currents, the idea of change is one that every student at Berklee is rather familiar with, and one that we all faced head on when we came to Spain in August.
Julia Hoffman is a global entertainment and music business graduate program student at Berklee’s Valencia campus. In this post she reflects on the Womex conference she attended in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
In October I learned what it means to be a ‘Womexican.’ Womex takes place for five days every October in a different city throughout Europe and it is not to be missed by any artist manager, agent, label, or festival programmer in the world music scene. And this really is a ‘scene.’ At this year’s Womex in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, I realized that anyone who is anyone seemed to know everyone! It is a close-knit community and having an ‘in’ can lead to many opportunities. Some notable encounters of mine included meeting Bruno Boulay, Programmer of MIDEM, Todd Puckhaber, programmer for the SouthxSouthwest Festival, and Malcolm Haynes, programmer for Glastonbury.
Our students Clais Lemmens, Kelley Lubitz and Elliot MacKenzie from the global entertainment and music business master’s program reflect upon the second of the Music Business Seminars, where they had the opportunity to meet Pete Dyson and Rob Dickins and work on their A&R skills.
In the context of the global entertainment and music business program at Berklee’s Valencia campus, we had the chance to welcome Pete Dyson, senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University, and co-founder of the Smoky Carrot Records. Specializing in entertainment law and Artist & Repertoire, Pete was a perfect fit to host a weekly seminar during the month of October to educate students about the role of A&R’s in today’s music industry.
One of the most interesting points Pete made during his residency at Berklee’s Valencia campus is how much the traditional role of A&R’s has changed over the years. While they used to view the industry from the perspective of music and talent, by matching great performers with quality songs, A&R leaders now focus on the marketability of the artist. With music itself being very subjective, it is important to know how today’s industry finds talent, assesses it, and develops it.
Aside from the marketability aspect, the most effective A&R work involves critical analysis of overall artistic talent: song, stagecraft, aesthetics, and artistic identity. Dyson mentions the importance of artist recognition. Voices can express and emote in ways that are soulful, sneering, pleading, androgynous, effortless, authentic, etc. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. An artist’s stagecraft is also a key component to the artist’s identity. A great artist must showcase their talent in a visible way and draw the audience’s attention to the stage. After analyzing these elements, A&R executives can better determine the potential success of an artist. And Pete gave the students great tools to categorize and evaluate these fundamental skills and assets. Interestingly, he also stated that it is better to assess talent by asking “Which artists will not work” rather than “Which artist will work”.
For the final week of this A&R month, students had the honor of getting further A&R insight with the presence of British talent-finder extraordinaire Rob Dickins (CBE), ex-Managing Director of Warner Bros Music Publishing. Rob is credited for scouting incredibly successful talents such as R.E.M., Tracy Chapman or Alanis Morissette as well as playing an important role in the careers of Madonna, Neil Young and Prince amongst countless other music legends.
The way both Rob and Pete interacted with the class was challenging while remaining aware of the cultural differences between the students. As soon as the first seminar was over, we were encouraged to showcase our diversity by showcasing artists we liked. Our assignment to find and present an unsigned artist took us on a journey through a wide range of genres around the world. Rob’s rule of being uninterested in signing anyone above the age of 22 was particularly controversial amongst students but also served as an industry reality check. Most importantly, the GEMB students were excited to be talking about actual music again. In the five weeks before – weeks of RIVE models, balance sheets and contract deals – we seemed to have forgotten about our collective passion: the love of music! And although some of our naive visions of the industry were crushed, this was perfectly timed to remind us of what we all love, while being highly informative about the capital role that A&R holds 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?”.
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 – $0.50.
If fail to build your business model according to your audience, you can easily find yourself falling behind projected profit margins.
One of the more difficult aspects of app development is accounting for interfacing needs of your audience. An app needs to account for culture, language, location and Internet accessibility. For instance, some languages require text to read from right-to-left. Naturally, this can heavily influence the visual layout of your app.
The average platform operating system (e.g. IOS 8, Android 4) will go through 25 updates each year. To remain relevant and functioning properly within a specified platform, it is mandatory to stay on top of these changes. There’s no easier way to convince users to delete your app than letting your app become incompatible with their operating system.
Remember Flappy Bird? This app was a pioneer in effectively accruing large numbers of ratings in short time-spans. A recent article from Business Insider revealed a major aspect of Flappy Bird’s path to success. Because of Flappy Bird’s app design, almost every user would quite quickly click on the “rate this app” button, effectively promoting the app within the app store. This is one of many possible methods of promoting an application.
If you’re absolutely set on having a top-ten app on the Apple app store, take a look at the following formula and see how you can break it:
App Store Ranking = (# of installs weighted for the past few hours) + (# of installs weighted for the past few days) + REVIEWS (star rating + number of reviews) + Engagement (# of times app opened etc.) + Sales ($)
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!