Category Archives: Valencia Campus

Music Business Seminar – An Orange with Marty

Student Nicolas Schipper from the global entertainment and music business master’s program reflects upon the fourth of the Music Business Seminars, where he had the chance to listen to American entertainment lawyer Martin Frascogna.

He is a young international entertainment lawyer with an impressive background: more than 7 books about assisting artists with international expansion; professional lectures in the most important music conferences in the world, such as MIDEM; and many more amazing things. His name is Martin Frascogna, with whom we shared three amazing days. Marty talked about a lot of different subjects and the main theme was the music industry in the United States. He also talked about what is happening with music reproduction.

“Piracy, streaming is nothing more than a format change we have been going through”

Marty made me realize that what is currently going on internationally is another transition of the music industry, like it happened with the transition from cassettes to CD’s years ago. Nowadays the transition is to transform streaming so that we do not know what is going to be the next step. Marty taught us that we must know where our business is and foresee where to build it, what is going to be our next step according to all the “formats” that are happening in the music business. Marty talked about Anti-360 deal, my second favorite topic that we learned these days which gave me a new point of view to other ways of working with contracts.

“In today’s market if you don’t want to sign a 360, DON’T”

Marty talked about my favorite topic, management. Regarding this, he mentioned two ideas that I had not previously realized: to be honest to yourself and also with your artist, and to always work as a collective and to be part of the team. I apply these rules daily (at least I try).

The best experience that I had with Marty was not all the talks that he gave us but, after we had lunch with the ICC, I asked him if he had a minute because I wanted to ask him about trademarks. Then both of us took an orange from the ICC room and went to sit outside. He made me just one question: what do you want to do when you have your masters done? And I realized that now there are so many things that I would like to do so I answered – I just want to work with music – and he started talking about how he got to the business position where he is right now while he was trying to eat his orange without making a mess (it did happen though). He made me feel that I was talking to a guy with whom I already had had some beers and worked together in the past three years. He told me how I should go to the next level of music business and just do what I want to do because I am on the right way. For me it is really important to be a person, no matter where you come from, how much money you have or in what position you are and Martin Frascogna showed that to all of us. I think these kind of possibilities that the GEMB program gives us, such as meeting people that are in the industry, is very important because it teaches us what is going on and it opens our eyes to get to their position or higher.

Martin Frascogna

Just remember: “You don’t need to be on stage to be a Rock star.”

Music Business Seminar – Don Gorder on the US Music Industry’s Trudge to Modernization (Pre 1972 – 2014)

Students Alex Foing and Megan Himel 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 Don Gorder discuss the changes in the US music industry.

Since the dawn of time, the relationship between art and commerce has often seen troubled waters. We have gone through format changes, evolving paradigms, local to global, bottom to top, and from analog to digital. But in our era of digital consumption, there will always be two prevailing mechanisms that help steer the industry’s course: Legislation (the ability to protect and exploit ownership) and Technology (the vehicle used for distributing, sharing and monitoring). As long as the economics of art force it to be monetized, these two guardians will hold the power to bring about the industry’s flourishing or demise. Continue reading

The Land of Berklee in Valencia

Carmen WoodruffCarmen Woodruff is a Contemporary Vocal Performance graduate student at Berklee’s Valencia campus. Originally from the Detroit Metropolitan area, Carmen attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. After working for 10 years in the marketing field and some serious soul-searching, she went back to school to complete a second degree in Music at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is now living her dream at Berklee College of Music in Valencia and encourages others to do the same. It’s never too late! Follow Carmen’s musical journey on Facebook or Reverbnation.

“Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high, there’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” – E.Y. Harburg and Harold Allen

These are the sentiments I reflect on daily as I walk to class, scurry to the state-of-the-art studios, or anticipate show time, which happens more often than not. This is a dream I’m living. It just started and I don’t want to wake up! I’m not alone in this. Ask any Berklee student here in Valencia and they will sing “la misma canción” (the same song).BerkleeOutdoorClass

We’ve not only been welcomed with open arms by world-renowned faculty and administration; we’ve been dually embraced by the local community. Most of us do not speak Spanish fluently, but the business owners, cab drivers and poor souls we stumble upon as we’re seeking directions or ordering from a menu, politely play “Charades” in “Spanglish” with us. And then there are those of us who have smartened up and recruited a Spanish-speaking colleague to join us as we venture out in our new environment.

I haven’t been immersed in this much magic since working in public relations at Walt Disney World Resort years ago. In the Palau de les Arts, they present fireworks almost nightly, which competitively places Berklee’s Valencia campus neck-to-neck with Mickey’s Magic Kingdom. One may even desire to squeeze into a kayak with a friend, just for fun on a sunny day or wriggle into a human-sized rotating plastic bubble to navigate the crystal-blue waters.


Here, you’re never alone or lost. The Student Affairs team led by Clara Barbera, addresses our questions or concerns, especially as they pertain to our personal lives: doctor’s appointments, physical fitness, diversity initiatives, etc. The International Career Center staff led by Maxwell Moya Wright and Stine Glismand provides enlightening workshops, which keep us aligned with our future plans.

All doors are open throughout the day, even the door of our Academic Dean, Brian Cole. Professor Stephen Webber and his Music Technology Innovation (MTI) team work with us early on to make sure we infuse technology into our work. Gael Hedding and Carlos Ballester tirelessly make sure to amplify our best sounds and artistic visions onstage. The front desk team graciously greets us as a concierge service of sorts, answering questions, collecting our packages and referring us to the best take out restaurants in town as we work into the wee hours of the morning.

Un Lago de Conciertos

Berklee’s Valencia campus is a place like no other with a distinct culture of diligence and devotion where character and integrity take center stage. Some of the most beautiful spirits from around the globe reside and flourish here. The genuine kindness we’ve all received from colleagues and staff alike is truly comforting. We help each other as we anchor our way through our ever-changing, fast-paced surroundings.

Berklee’s campus in Valencia is a land for all of us dreamers to congregate and conspire but only in the best way. We are experimental. We are adventurers. We are trailblazers. We are Berklee. Berklee at Valencia Open 500 ATP

Thank you for opening up your homes. Thank you for visiting mine. Thank you for sharing your customs and viewpoints. Thank you for coercing me onto the stage at an impromptu jam session. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy harmony class outside during Valencia Day. Thank you for pushing me onto the Valenbisi bike that one night we all rode to el barrio Carmen. Thank you for listening to my dream job description and replying with “You can do it! The sky is the limit here.”

And to think, we’ve only just begun… Looking forward to sharing more of our exciting journey as the year continues to unfold.

Valencia show Valencia BerkleeDinner1 BerkleeDinner3 BerkleeDinner2

Music Business Seminar – A&R Month with Pete Dyson

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.Pete Dyson at Berklee's Valencia campus

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”.Rob Dickins at Berklee's Valencia campus

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.

A&R series at Berklee's Valencia campus

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!