Indie Down Under — Re-thinking Assumptions About International Music Trends

Guest post by Erin Simon (UG ’16) who is currently studying at NYU Sydney. We encourage feedback and commentary on all Student Outlook contributions. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @NYUMusicBiz.

In the United States, indie pop artists like Vance Joy and San Cisco are known as fast up-and-comers, buzzed about by bloggers and slowly gaining traction on the Billboard charts. But in Australia, these are beloved hometown acts, far from simply having “indie” credibility – Vance Joy’s “Riptide” earned the coveted number 1 spot on the 2013 Triple J Hottest 100 countdown, arguably the most important music event in Australia. Every year, fans vote from all over the country to decide the most popular songs, which are then counted down on Australia Day each January. This year’s number one spot went to Chet Faker, an Australian electronic music act, who also appears to be known only by the most attuned listeners in the USA.

It is easy to think that popular music in America dominates in other parts of the world as well, especially in a place like Australia where the radio charts look strikingly similar. It is easy to think that the New York indie music scene is the place to find out about fresh new acts before anybody else. But as it turns out, a lot of the acts we are just starting to catch on to have been beloved by Aussies long before they made it across the Pacific.

 

So what really makes indie music indie? I always thought it was the underground nature of it, but the definition seems to have evolved to encapsulate more of a musical style than the community that listens to it. It prompts me to wonder how the indie music scene will continue to evolve in the United States, and if a more global perspective may shift the stereotypical mentality of American indie listeners. In the meantime, any indie lovers out there may want to take a peek at the Triple J Hottest 100 list – your next obsession just might be in Australia.

 

Czeching Out the Digital Music Scene: A Comparison Between Czech and American Digital Trends

Guest post by Tara Muoio (UG ’17) who is currently studying at NYU Prague. We encourage feedback and commentary on all Student Outlook contributions. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @NYUMusicBiz.

In my time studying abroad in Prague, I’ve really enjoyed doing research on the
Czech music industry for my Global Music Trends Analysis course. Out of all of the things I noticed many differences and similarities between the Czech and American music
industries, particularly in the streaming and digital music sector. It’s not exactly that the Czech Republic is behind in the realm of technology – it’s just different technology. After taking a second look, the Czechs might even be too immersed in the digital age for their own good.

Since the fall of communism in 1989, the Czech Republic has strived to be
relatively on the same level as much of the rest of the world, whether it be in their government or their everyday lives. Becoming a free country at the beginning of the digital age practically threw the Czech Republic into the realm of technology without warning. Today, the average Czech is tech-savvy, however, they seem to prefer different devices from those that Americans do. Most smartphones that people use in the Czech Republic are either Android or Windows based – not Apple. Even computers predominant computer choice are PC’s running Windows operating systems. In fact, Apple stores are nowhere to be found in the Czech Republic; all Apple products are sold by certified resellers. Many Czechs prefer to buy computer parts that they can take apart and put back together, creating their own device rather than buying one that comes all together. This is commonly the most cost-effective option, which is something that a lot of Czechs prefer. To Czechs, an Apple product is akin to that of a Marc Jacobs. Each of these elements directly impacts the market for digital music and streaming, which is where the main differences between the Czech and American music industries lie.

 

Sure, PC users can load iTunes on their desktop if they have an iPhone or iPod to use, but this isn’t truly mobile unless you have either of those devices. Streaming has become a huge part of the Czech music market with the wide usage of Android and Windows based smartphones because music on these devices is not exactly the most accessible. Music on these devices are only available if you preload songs in mp3 format or use a streaming service–streaming usually being the easier of the two. Top subscription and ad-based streaming services in the Czech Republic include well-known global services like Spotify, Google Play, Tidal, Rdio, and Deezer, but also smaller companies like Mixér.cz, Koule, and Musicjet. All of these services allow access to a wide array of music with of course, the opportunity to listen on the go. It’s worth noting that in the Czech Republic specifically, cell phone companies like O2 are listed as music streaming service providers on www.pro-music.org. O2 has a separate venture for streaming and downloading music, audiobooks, games, and more called O2 Active. This allows users to access their entertainment on the go while connected to their data network or Wi-Fi.

An interesting thing to note is that a Spotify subscription in the Czech Republic is measured in Euros (€5.99/month) instead of the local currency, the Koruna. €5.99 is equivalent to about 165Kc, or about $7 USD. This is less than the price of a Spotify subscription in the United States ($9.99/month). The price of Spotify depends on the region and the demand that specific region presents. In the Czech Republic, the demand is higher because many more people use – and will pay for – streaming at a low price.

In my opinion, I don’t think that the music consumption habits of the Czechs will ever be picked up by Americans, or vice versa. People in general are known to choose whatever option is easiest for them. For Americans, that’s having their music directly on their iPhones via iTunes. For Czechs, it’s much easier and affordable to get their music on their Android and Windows devices via a streaming service. In the end, it all boils down to convenience, affordability, and choice of hardware.

 

Artist j.viewz creates the DNA Project to open up the album-creation process to fans

Guest post by Sarah Jospitre (G ’15). We encourage feedback and commentary on all Student Outlook contributions. Leave a comment below or tweet us at @NYUMusicBiz.

I first came across j.viewz and The DNA Project when I was looking for an innovative figure to profile for the final piece of my Literary Reportage elective class at NYU. After talking with my friend and MUBG peer, Suzanne Rollins—who was interning for j.viewz (a position she found on the MUBG listserv)—she agreed that he would be a great fit for my piece on music innovation, put me in direct contact with j.viewz and the rest is history.

Jonathan Dagan, known as j.viewz, is an Israeli-born, independent songwriter, producer, remixer and visual artist. He has always been frustrated with the music industry’s standard model: spend a year or two recording an album away from the fans, release it, and then tour with a bunch of songs that are no longer fresh. He is challenging this model with the DNA Project website, which is designed to open up the album-making process to fans. The artist explained, “There’s a lot of value in creating an album. I want to share and open that up to the audience.” As a result, the website will enable fans to track the creative process for each song in real time, from inspiring moments on the road to new sounds from the studio and meetings with labels.

Standing at about 5’6, with tousled brown curls, a well-kept goatee, and wide, thin-rimmed spectacles, j.viewz’s physical appearance fits the mold of how one would expect a Grammy-nominated, avant-garde electronic folk artist to look. But don’t expect any brooding here. The multi-genre artist, whose sound has been compared to Cashmere Cat, Young Wonder and Slow Magic, is an optimist at heart who believes in the power of music and using it to elevate communication between the fan and the artist.

j.viewz, born in Haifa, the cultural hub of northern Israel—which is approximately 56 miles north of Tel Aviv—explains that growing up in the country’s third largest city contributed to his proactivity in discovering new music. “When you are into music growing up in Haifa, you have to be really active about getting the music you want. There was no internet, so you’d have to travel to Tel Aviv and go the record store to hear the new Nine Inch Nails record. I had to seek out people with the right records, people who knew about music.” In so doing, the indie artist confesses that he was not affected by Israeli music, but instead his experience with music in Israel made him extremely active in finding and being appreciative of different genres of music.

Prior to moving to Brooklyn, NY, j.viewz found himself in a breakbeat band—unconventional in Israel—where he performed at psy-trance parties. Recalling those early days of his music career, j.viewz explains that such times molded him into the artist he is today: “I had a breakbeat band and the only place they could book us was at psy-trance parties. Now it’s different in Israel, it’s very popular to know good music and the average level of musicianship is really, really high. But avoidance of what was mainstream in Israel back then made me what I am.” Avoiding the mainstream for a deeper path and looking to create music that mattered to him, Jonathan Dagan moved to the United States and became j.viewz.

The DNA Project, which went live late last year, has enabled the indie artist to release music sooner and make it easier for him to respond to his fans. “When you listen to an album, you can’t interact with it. It’s a two, three year-old created product given to you. You’ve got to accept everything that comes with it.” Consequently, j.viewz is using the DNA Project to create an interactive environment where both he and his fans can create, comment and edit music, in real-time.

This isn’t the first time Dagan has experimented with the process of creating and distributing music. He was one of the first to use downloading and direct-to-fan interaction to sell albums and his second full-length album, Rivers And Homes (2011), was released one track at a time to fans who paid to subscribe to his music service. Once completed, Dagan distributed the finished album in physical form to his subscribers and later made it available to the general public. Rivers And Homes was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Recording Package, presented for the visual look of an album. Dagan didn’t stop. In addition to recording the music, he shot a video for the title track off Rivers And Homes. The footage, which was shot in New York and Israel, was used to create two parallel videos—a “normal” music video which showed j.viewz walking through a snowy field wearing a cat costume and then another made up entirely by fans holding frames from the “normal” video. Each frame from the normal video was printed and handed out to fans in the audience during his tour in Israel. In total, 300 fans were recruited to hold the still frames and 2,000 images were used in the making of Rivers And Homes, creating an “ingenious animation” within the video. The frames were then reassembled as a stop motion video in which fans could tag themselves via a Taggable Player he designed. Rivers And Homes was nominated for an MTV Music Award for “Most Innovative Video” as well as a UK Music Video Award.

Dagan says that he never innovates just to innovate just as he does not want fans to engage in his work for the sake of engaging; there is a clear, strategic and valuable purpose behind all that he does. As a result, the DNA Project has fans participate at specific times and emphasizes how the fan and the artist are both a part of the same goal; the same journey. According to j.viewz, “an album doesn’t have to be a documentation of something that happened in the past. It can be an interactive experience between artist and fan that exposes the creative process.” Through the Project, the electronic-folk artist is symbolically opening up the studio to the fan in order to make the process of music available to everyone and essentially, make the process part of the art itself. It is a huge leap in the evolution of the artist-fan relationship.

j.viewz is also an advocate of trying new things, being committed to that experience and overall, remaining optimistic. The indie artist explained that days before the Kickstarter page went up to fund what is now the DNA Project website, he jumped out of a plane. “It symbolized jumping into a new experience with no doubts. You can have doubts but you must still be committed at the end.” j.viewz explained that in jumping into a new experience, one must always have one thought in mind: success. However, success, not in the modern sense of the word—which praises money and all things materialistic—but rather in thinking positively, in believing that the outcome you are after will come into fruition and most importantly, in being optimistic that people will support your efforts.

It is this way of thinking that has enabled j.viewz to make human connection become a real and consistent thread weaved throughout his work. In doing so, he has not only contributed to the evolution of the artist-fan relationship but has allowed his fans to become investors in his art and essentially, his career; gradually erasing the role of the fan as a passive and silent investor. What is being created as a result of this evolution is a synergic relationship where the fan becomes more involved in the artist’s career and in turn, the artist uses the relationship to further sustain their career.

Through past and current projects, j.viewz continues to allow his fans to take on the role of what academic Carsten Winter calls “prosumers”—the hybrid of consumer and producer that the digital age has created. The fan, no longer a silent investor in the artist’s career, has become the creator; crafting content that often progresses the artist’s career and simultaneously, creates valuable engagement. “Fan participation creates a bigger togetherness. If I ever had a doubt of putting my heart out there, those events [i.e. the making of the Rivers and Homes video, the DNA Project, etc.] encourage me to do so.” From their roles as collector—one who adds tags to web pages or photos (as fans did in his 2012 Rivers And Homes video) and joiners—those who support the artist through social media, blogs and crowdfunding (as fans did for j.viewz’s Kickstarter page to fund The DNA Project website)—to the ultimate role of creator—those who upload audio/music, videos and artwork that they create (as fans have done for the DNA Project)—the indie artist has made fan interaction his signature priority.

In discussing the double-edge sword role that technology plays—allowing users to interact more frequently yet simultaneously shortening our attention spans as we quickly move onto the next phenom—j.viewz is an optimist. The indie artist explained that with the temporary trait that comes with technology, there is an “impermanence of music” being expressed. Because we, as music fans, are more aware of how brief each moment is, we are able to embrace and appreciate each event. j.viewz romanticized, “There’s something beautiful about honoring the moment together with our short attention spans. It’s all a brief moment—we celebrate, we dance, we die.”

The digital age has radically put a damper on the music industry’s plan of pushing music onto passive consumers. Thanks to digital network media such as YouTube and SoundCloud, ordinary people are now creating value in relation to music, without the involvement of record labels and at lower costs. Everyone is now a prosumer. Using these new media to undertake activities like commenting, criticizing, sharing, producing, posting and publishing, “prosumers” are able to innovate socially and culturally while simultaneously, creating cultural and social value instead of just economic value. Gone are the push-method days of the industry spoon-feeding us which genres to consume. Prosumers are now pulling the music and the artists that they want towards them.

The impermanence of music has enabled music fans to be far more proactive in not only discovering new artists and music but most importantly, connecting with the artist. The growing trend of artists communicating with fans via social media as well as fans supporting their idols through crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter has essentially broken down the barriers of communication between fan and artist. With the door to communication wide open, another fascinating result is occurring: the mysterious, god-like image of the artist is gradually fading. j.viewz proclaimed, “Impermanence of music has reduced the fantasy. The artist is no longer untouchable, inaccessible.” Live-streams of artists in the studio and backstage at shows can now be viewed and shared, personal photos from their everyday lives can be liked, their random thoughts for the masses can be retweeted: transparency is the driver of the new music economy.

Ultimately, j.viewz’s mission is to explore different ways to improve the communication aspect of music and uncover how technology, when used in certain (unconventional) ways, allows us to connect to people in an immediate way. The indie artist continues to radically shape the industry through his persistent, innovative efforts to bridge the gaps between music and technology as well as the artist and the fan. “I think music is the best communication tool. If I want to translate my experience to you, I can do it in words, but there are only so many words. With music, there’s no word for it, but there is a chord for it. When you put yourself and your heart out there, people will respond.”

Connect with j.viewz on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Youtube.

Senior Spotlight: Julia Pernicone

Where are you from?

I’m from Ardsley, NY, just a short train ride outside of the city.

What is your background in music?

I’ve been singing my whole life, but participating in my middle and high school select choirs was where I gained a more serious passion for music.  In high school I started writing songs, playing in a band, and taking more formal voice lessons at Lagond Music School in Elmsford, NY.  It was there that I really started to consider music as a career, and not necessarily only as a performer.  Though I’ve been focused on the business side of the industry throughout the last 4 years, I’ve continued songwriting and performing, and have released an album and an EP of original music, as well as a few co-writes on another artist’s EP.  I’ve also been managing a few acts that I’ve met through NYU which has been an incredible learning experience.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

I decided to come to NYU because Steinhardt’s Music Business program allowed me to continue my musical training, through music theory and aural comprehension classes as well as private lessons and ensembles, while also receiving an education in business, specific music business classes, and a great liberal arts program as well.  Being in NYC is invaluable for wanting to break into the music industry.  I never would have been able to have the internships and opportunities I’ve had here if I were in another city.  Finally, I just really love the diverse group of people at NYU.  I’ve encountered people studying everything from film, to dance, to global liberal studies, and the music community is so diverse in and of itself!  I love being part of a community of so many talented people following their passions in so many different areas.  Plus, it’s nice to be so close to home!

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

My favorite musician and songwriter is John Mayer.  I also really admire Sara Bareilles.  Lately I’ve been super into jazz, soul, and funk, and some of my favorites are Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nikki Yanofsky.  I’m also a Taylor Swift fan!

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

I grew up listening to pop, and that’s what I write a lot of the time.  So I am not ashamed to admit that you can often find me jamming out to One Direction!

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

My favorite music business class has to have been Music Publishing.  Our professor, Jennifer Blakeman, currently works in the industry, so her perspective is very relevant.  She turned a subject that some consider to be a bit boring into an extremely interesting and fun class, and since then I’ve been working towards pursuing a career in publishing.

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

It is hard to choose just one!  I’ve gotten to attend some great events as a member of GRAMMY U, the Recording Academy’s organization for students of the music industry–like soundchecks for artists like Esperanza Spalding and the Zac Brown Band, and hearing Alicia Keys and her producer speak at the studio where she records.  Last semester I took a class called Topics in Recorded Music: Aretha Franklin & Soul Music, and we got to attend a conversation at the 92nd Street Y with Clive Davis and Aretha herself about her career and newest album.  Finally, a really awesome New York musical moment has to be when I saw Billy Joel play at Madison Square Garden this past summer.  Hearing him play “New York State of Mind” live in NYC was a really emotional experience for me.

What was your best Internship?

I honestly believe I’ve learned something valuable from every one of my internships.  If I had to choose a favorite, it would be Wind Up Songs, where I’m currently interning.  I love how small the company and the roster are.  It allows me to get my hands into all facets of the company’s operations, and do work that’s actually meaningful.  I also love how writer-focused the company is.  Other internship highlights for me include Downtown Music Publishing, and working with artist Garland Jeffrey’s manager.

What is your dream job?

I would love to someday be a working songwriter wth my own production/publishing company.  I want to be able to write for and develop artists, while also fostering the careers of other songwriters.  Kara Dioguardi and Dr. Luke, two of my favorite songwriters, have each done something like this.

Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

I definitely think I have a more entrepreneurial spirit than when I came here.  While I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in the music industry as a freshman, I definitely wasn’t considering the option of starting my own business.  Now, I manage a few artists and bands, and am looking to start my own publishing company!

 

 

What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

Try everything, talk to everyone, and be aggressive in pursuing your passions.  NYU, NYC, and the music industry are not places where you can expect to get what you want handed to you on a silver platter.  It’s important to take initiative and find out what really excites you, and then go for it!  That being said, don’t take anything too seriously, and remember not to get too hard on yourself.  Have fun, too!

 

Senior Spotlight: Sarah Segner


Where are you from?

Cherry Hill, NJ

What is your background in music?

I began studying the violin at seven and it pretty much took over my life by high school. I also studied piano, mandolin, and guitar, and was in Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and had my own string quartet before I came to college.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

As a freshman in high school I realized that I wanted to earn a degree in Music Business. I had always wanted to move to New York City, and when I found out that NYU has one of the top Music Business programs in the country, it became my top choice. I wanted to be able to jump start my career while still an undergraduate, and center myself in one of the capitals of the music industry. I also knew I would have a ton of performance opportunities, and that’s proven true; I’m in a band and regularly perform in classical music concerts, usually in the contemporary classical world.

 

 

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

I’ve got a pretty eclectic taste in music. In the rock realm Led Zeppelin, Alt-J, and Nine Inch Nails are favorites. If we get more pop-oriented, I’m very into Rufus Wainwright, Gabriel Kahane and Woodkid. I love folk music, both in the American sense (Dylan, Baez, etc) and the international sense (I’m very into Persian classical music and Eastern European folk music). In the classical world, some of my favorite composers are Igor Stravinsky, Morton Feldman, Jean Sibelius, Gustave Mahler, and Josquin des Prez.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Oh yeah…most definitely. Does Lana Del Rey count? Also Coldplay. I’m not a superfan but I’m kind of embarrassed that Coldplay is in my iTunes library.

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

I really loved Entrepreneurship. I had been harboring a start-up idea for a few years, and that class really let me learn how to map it out and maybe, hopefully implement it. Larry Miller has so much experience, and he’s a great teacher and mentor. I also loved Sam Howard-Spink’s classes because his brand of philosophy on capitalism fascinates me.

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

There are too many to list. I’ll name two. The sheer energy at a Woodkid show at Webster Hall in 2013 was intoxicating. He hadn’t played in the US for a long time, or at that size of a venue, and it was amazing to see an artist who identifies mostly with a European audience get a huge reaction in the US. It was part of a CMJ showcase, so I had been selling it to people that whole week and I think I got some props from friends for introducing them to Woodkid.

The second moment was a pretty geeky classical music one. I was at the Bang on a Can marathon in 2014, and a friend of mine was clapping the rhythmic pattern from Steve Reich’s “Clapping Music.” David Lang, a co-founder of Bang on a Can and a rock star in the contemporary classical music world, walked by and started clapping the pattern back at our group. Geeky and pretty awesome for us.

What was your best Internship?

I really loved my internship at 21C Media Group. It’s a small publicity/marketing firm that works primarily in the classical music business. Because the company is so small, I got to work with everyone on the team and on some very high profile accounts. While I also enjoyed internships at larger organizations like Lincoln Center, I felt like I was really a part of the team at 21C.

Sarah with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Sarah acts as an artistic consultant and coordinator for two of the members.

What is your dream job?

Thinking really, really big? I want to be the Artistic Director of my own festival presented by an organization like Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall.

Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

Slightly, yes. I came into the program wanting to produce in the studio. Now, I’m finding that I’m much more interested in the live industry (which is also of course where the money is, so that’s a bonus). I’m still interested in producing, but in the live sense, and I’ve found that I love to curate concerts and festivals, so I’d love to get into the artistic planning end of the classical music industry.

What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

Internships are absolutely key to your undergraduate experience. I’ve held six during my time at NYU, and because I’ve applied myself and worked in a ton of areas within the music industry, I have a very rich contact base already, before I’ve started working full time. Also in relation to internships, try working for a smaller company. Often you will have more involved responsibilities and fewer “intern” duties if you’re at a smaller company, and if you really shine in your position, it’s likely you’ll get asked to stay on as an intern or as a full-time employee. There’s more opportunity to promote yourself and really get to know your co-workers at a small company.

 

Senior Spotlight: Kevin Johnson

Where are you from?

I am from Carmel, NY in Putnam County. It’s about 50 miles north of the city. I’ve lived in New York my whole life!

What is your background in music?

I grew up in a family that loved music. My uncle played the guitar and the banjo, much to my dismay since I hated bluegrass music. So to rebel from learning those instruments, I started playing cello when I was 10 years old and taught myself piano at the same time. I was the type of kid who practiced for 3 hours every single day, solely because I just loved music. I started auditioning for the All-County orchestras at a young age and then moved on to NYSSMA’s Area-All State Orchestra. My true love and background in music, however, was playing piano in the pit orchestra of my high school’s musical productions. It’s an entirely different world of music and I thrived in it.

Why did you decide to come to NYU?

Having grown up in New York my entire life, I knew I wanted to stay close and the city was right there. NYU was always the dream college for me and when I found out that there was a combination of music and business in NYU Steinhardt, it was just the perfect fit. I could study music theory and practice my instruments while I also got to study my second passion of marketing.

Who are some of your favorite musical artists?

Some of my favorite artists are: Bastille, Mumford & Sons, CHVRCHES, Layla, and to throw in a musical theatre composer(s), Kerrigan & Lowdermilk.

Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

Not in particular, but I do love listening to musical theatre. I could listen to Broadway show-tunes all day long. I also love doing homework to orchestral soundtracks of films. Currently, The Theory of Everything’s Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Johann Johannsson is my one of my favorites.

What have been some of your favorite music business classes/professors in your time here?

As the undergraduate student assistant to the program, I have to say that every professor in the program is my favorite. In particular, I have thoroughly enjoyed Music Publishing with adjunct faculty member Jennifer Blakeman and Interactive, Internet, and Mobile Music with Professor Sam Howard-Spink. Of course, I can’t leave out Dr. Catherine Moore who has been a mentor to me through and through. One of my favorite projects to work on with Dr. Moore was the Global Music Trends Analysis independent study while I was studying abroad in London. We got to choose our topics as we were guided by Dr. Moore throughout the process. My topic was on global music festival marketing and an expansion report of C3 Presents in the United Kingdom.


You work under Dr. Moore as the student assistant. Tell us about your experience working for the Music Business department.

I was hired during my sophomore year as the assistant to the Undergraduate program. I absolutely love working in the office as every day is always something new. We are always brainstorming new ideas and changes for the program. I love thinking of new developments and collaborating with not only who I consider my professors, but also my colleagues and supervisors.

 

 

 

Have you had any really cool music-related moments in New York?

One time I was waiting for the L train and there was a violinist on the 8th Avenue-bound platform and a cellist on the Brooklyn-bound platform. They were so far away from each other but they were both playing a piece together across the platforms. It was one of the coolest things I have seen in street performance. By themselves, they sounded amazing and then together, if you listened carefully amidst the rumblings of the L and the uncomfortable voice the L train female announcer, it was even better.

What was your best Internship?

It is hard to choose. I have been very lucky to have had many amazing internships across the theatrical industry as that is my focus in the music and entertainment business—Don’t Tell Mama Cabaret, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, The New York Musical Theatre Festival, and now at The Nederlander Organization. I do have to say that being at NYMF was an extremely life-changing experience. I felt like an essential part of the team at such a small company with big plans. I learned more than I ever did and got to do so much hands-on work with essential people in the Broadway industry.

What was one of your favorite projects at NYMF that you worked on at NYMF?

At NYMF, I had an array of very serious projects, but my favorite was the preparation of a live social media feed for the NYMF Gala. I got to live tweet, Facebook, and Instagram the entire night taking pictures of Broadway celebrities and covering every foot of the theater as fast as possible. It was an extremely hectic night, but an unbelievable success! My other project was a bit more confidential, but I can say that it did involve a lot of work with branding which helped me learn a lot more about a sector of marketing that I didn’t know much about.

What is your dream job?

Ultimately, I would love to leave this program with a job in digital marketing in the theatre industry. I want to move Broadway into the fast, constantly-changing tech industry. To be able to do that in any capacity would be great. Maybe,one day, working in London would be a great chance for a dream job.

When you took the Entrepreneur class your project focused on bringing the tech world into broadway. Tell us about your project.

During Entrepreneurship for the Music Industry last semester, I created a project that digitized the rush ticket policies of Broadway theaters’ box offices. Similar to that of WunWun and Uber, it allowed you to reserve rush tickets for last minute shows and acquire information about rush policies in one consolidated location. Since then, I’ve been able to develop my idea more and maybe one day I can bring it to life.

Are you leaving the program with different career aspirations than you had when you entered the program?

Absolutely. Entering this program, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I knew I loved marketing and I knew that I loved theatre. I thought the only path for that was to become a producer. However, from being exposed and seizing the opportunities I have been lucky to have, I can see myself and my career path in an entirely new way.

What is your advice for any incoming freshmen or transfer students to the program?

I took Producing Off-Broadway in the Tisch Open Arts program my sophomore year. It was in that class that I got some of the best advice that changed a lot. “Never say no, but know when to say no.” Try to seize every opportunity. No job is too small. Do not let things come to you, but instead, find every opportunity you can and go for it. When you start saying yes, things will start to change. But, know when it has become too much and that you need to breathe for a moment. Last piece of advice? Study abroad.

 

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Seasons Greetings from VeloCity

(Washington Square Arch, Manhattan Skyline, and Washington Square Park; The Washington Square Park (New York, N.Y.) and Washington Square Area Image Collection; NYU.ARCH.PHOTO.00001; box 2; folder 5; New York University Archives, New York University)

As the fall semester comes to a close, so does the Music Business Program’s 35th Anniversary. With the help of Steinhardt’s David Zapotocky and the NYU Archives, we were able to find the above photograph of Washington Square Park in 1971. The very first students who entered the Music Business Program would have seen Washington Square like this. Visible in the photograph are the then-brand new Bobst Library, and the misaligned fountain where folk singers like Bob Dylan got their start. If you look closely, the Twin Towers can be seen in the distance. Now, the entire park has been renovated, the fountain is aligned with the arch, and our Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life stands on the south side of the park. Though the landscape may often change, Washington Square Park will always be the heart of NYU.

As always, VeloCity would like to wish you a happy holiday season.

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Undergrads abroad report on state of local music: Fall 2010

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(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.

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(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.