Secondary Ticketing Needs to Change

As an advocate of the future of Live Music as both a consumer and provider I would like to express my frustration in secondary ticketing. In May of 2014 I remember sitting down at my computer to purchase a ticket to my favorite band, Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park. It was an hour after the tickets went on sale that I went to select “purchase” but soon realized I was an hour too late. 70,000 tickets had been sold within thirty minutes. A ticket that went from a reasonable price of $60 with a decent view, quickly jumped to $170.

The secondary ticket market in 2012 was about a $3 billion to $5 billion business, growing at a rate somewhere between 12 percent and 24 percent. As of 2013, only a few states prohibited reselling tickets or made it unreasonable to do so. The practice is prohibited in Kentucky and Michigan, although Kentucky doesn’t establish any penalties for a violation. Massachusetts limits the markup to $2 but allows a broker to add a service charge to recoup the expense of buying the ticket. Rhode Island and North Carolina both limit the amount charged above face value to $3. New Jersey has a more generous policy that enables brokers to charge up to 150 percent of the ticket’s face value. In Hawaii, Indiana, and Maryland it is currently illegal to resell a ticket for a boxing match at more than its face value (according to the Maryland Code, this law only applies if you are an event “promoter”). Indiana also prohibits the resale of tickets to any sparring or other unarmed combat match for more than face value, while Maryland limits it to boxing, wrestling, and kickboxing. Although, selling a ticket for any other type of event is legal in those three states.

Radiohead have announced a partnership with ethical ticketing company Ticket Trust. The issue of secondary ticketing has become a hot topic, with noise being heard far and near, a number of bands have stepped into the fray. Radiohead’s management issued a statement blasting the practice of secondary ticketing. “Secondary ticketing is wrong on so many levels… the band’s enjoyment of their own shows has been marred by the knowledge that a great many of their fans have been obliged to pay well over face value for their tickets”.

With new ethical ticketing companies such as Ticket Trust there is no reason why artist shouldn’t be protecting themselves. If there is money to be had, then the artist is deserving of it. And as an artist supported by fans of all different economic standing,  one would hope to be represented as an artist that doesn’t rip off their fans. Music is to be enjoyed and accessible to all, not survival of the fittest or… the richest.

Life with a Sound Track

Imagine if your everyday life had a soundtrack. The places you visited from Paris to Hollywood, the same everyday route you took to school or work, the local park down the street or even the closest beach you jog in the morning had a specific soundtrack associated to that location.

Musicians and music lovers alike have had a form of doing this for years through playlist. A group of college students going on a road trip might construct a playlist, or a compilation album that would then become the sounds of a memory forever associating to that road trip. A sixteen year old girl going through a break-up might decide to create a playlist of heartbreaking pop hits.

Adding location awareness to music apps is fast becoming a major mobile trend, as is evident by a rash of new mobile music apps hitting app stores of late. Use of location technology is taking many forms. Many, if not most, are designed to let users tag a location with a song. The result can be a localized, crowdsourced playlist, add context to the discovery of a new song or even be used as a way to find concerts and live shows. Other apps flip it around a bit by letting users in the same area determine what the venue should play. Think about the data local businesses could collect.

For those Spotify Premium listeners, Spotfiy early this year created a new feature for their mobile device app that has tempo detection to the rhythm of your Stride. Here is how it works: Pick from a playlist, such as “Recommended For You,” “Pop Hits,” or “Electronic Moves,” and you’ll hear a woman’s voice say, “Start running to detect tempo.” Your stride shows up as pulses on the green circle until she says that she knows your stride. It takes a few seconds—about ten paces. Then you’ll get a track with matching beats per minute. Genius.

Imagine if these two amazing app features together in one. As a provider of music and sound catalogs such as Spotify, this would open up a whole new world of revenue for musicians. This would create jobs for composers, DJs, playlist makers from all over the world giving them the opportunity to compose and invent infinite sounds/compositions for streaming services. This could re-inspire the consumers value of music and appreciation for it; along with allowing non musicians to compose and create the film score of their own life using the catalog provided by the service.

Putting It To Rights: An Interview With Women’s Symposium Organizer

As mentioned in a previous post, Berklee Valencia was lucky enough to host the Women’s Empower Symposium- an all day event packed with speakers spanning various job fields, all in the name of empowering women. So I decided to sit down with Claïs Lemmens, an organizer of the event.


Berklee Valencia: How did the event come together?

Claïs Lemmens: We were at one of the Lagos concerts, and [a fellow organizer] came up to me and said, “It’s so weird, we were looking at the list of speakers, and there’s one woman on it, and like 20 men. Isn’t that weird? Shouldn’t we do something about this?” So we all started talking, and a lot of people got involved. We were having fun, and the day after we started a Facebook chat. We started thinking, “let’s think about who we know in our own personal circles that we can ask to Skype in.” This was not going to be a whole symposium, it was just going to be Skype sessions. We didn’t really need money to do Skype sessions, we just needed people that were willing to Skype in, so we started to make a list, and it was actually [our advisor] who said, “Why don’t you just make this a whole day event? Or even two days? Like a conference?” So we started working thinking about that, and the ball really started rolling when we got the diversity grant from the school. “This is the money you can start with and then maybe do something with.” And we were like, “We’re not gonna spend $4,000 on Skype sessions, so now we have to do something.” So that’s when it got super, super serious. The Facebook conversation that we had in the beginning, we cut it down from the people who weren’t really being responsive, then we had a first meeting. At that first meeting, we’d already started giving each other roles and responsibilities. I really wanted to do operations because I love thinking of details, and how everything works, and where everyone has to be.

BV: Why did you believe an event like this would be important to put on? Why would it be beneficial for the Berklee community?

CL: Every industry is still very male dominated, especially if you look at the CEOs and other executives. We see that in class as well, and in the music industry. All the executives are, for the most part, middle-aged, white men. So why is this good for the community? Well, especially for our program, we’re 50/50 in gender. It’s different in the other programs where girls are outnumbered by men. For us, it’s really balanced, which makes it a little schizophrenic to see that in class we’re treated the same way, but if we want to look forward and see what the future might bring, and the industry as a whole, that’s not the case. It’s not going to be…I’m not going call it equality because there’re different layers in that. But the music industry is not at all what we see in our class, so we wanted to give a voice to that female side, to our female students; but actually for everyone, just to make sure that they know that there’s also women and try to break the stereotype. One of the panels was called, “Recreating the Narrative”, and that’s what we were trying to do. And step away from that middle-aged white man in executive positions.

BV: And do you think that worked?

CL: I think so. We were frightened that there wouldn’t be enough people. Afterwards, especially the students who got to go to the workshops and ask questions, they said, “I’ve never felt so inspired, and these women were amazing, and still so down to earth, and they still find a way to balance family and have their job.” Their reactions were very positive for us, and they’re the reason we’re going to want to do it again next year. For next year, we’re gonna try handing it over to someone else. Hopefully, the person who gets to be the fellow gets to take the lead role and take charge of that next year.

BV: How did you go about picking speakers?

CL: We started looking for people in our own personal networks. For example, Christine Krzyzanowski used to be [another organizer’s] former boss. Angie Martinez, [one of the other organizers] did an internship with her. We got a bunch of people just by connecting with Berklee Boston. They said, “We know people who are cool or would be good for this.” Judy Cantor-Navas was actually recommended by Berklee Boston, and they paid for her ticket. That’s why we tried to find them close to home because it would be easier logistically and easier to convince them. It all really started with the first one, which was Yvette Noel-Schure. And that was because [another organizer] went to school with her daughter and knew that she was the publicist of Beyonce, and just wrote her a Facebook message. That’s what started it eventually because Yvette said yes. We were like, “We have to get her. Whatever happens, even if we don’t have any money after her flight, we have to have her.” And that was great, because we could say, “We have Beyonce’s publicist,” and other speakers would actually take us seriously. If we just say, “we have a secretary of some festival in Narnia,” they’d be like, “Well…okay, sounds like a student event that won’t be very big.” When we sent other application forms to the other speakers, we put it in there. They’d be like, “Ooh, well, this is probably going to be a big thing”. Even though it was not a big thing yet at all. We were still struggling with the budget, we were not sure about flights, and they would change all the time, and we were looking for venues and we had nothing. But we had Yvette, and that’s what started it all.

BV: What was the best part of the event?

CL: We can use this success to convince the speakers for next year, that all the speakers from this year already had a chance to network. These ladies, at the one dinner we had at the end of the day, these ladies were all taking selfies the whole time and putting them on Instagram and saying, “Look I made a bunch of new friends that I’m gonna do business with now!” That was amazing to see. We thought we were going to bring them to Berklee, but we actually brought them to each other. And we didn’t expect that.

BV: Do you think the event had an impact on Berklee?

CL: They’re not going to change their faculty, they’re not going to say, “Let’s fire half our faculty just to hire more women.” And that’s fine. At the end of the day, it’s not about gender, it’s about how capable you are. And all the professors at our school, they’re very capable of what they’re doing. But for guest speakers, I’m pretty sure when we started this event that Emilien was contacting speakers for next year. So I’m pretty sure it will have an impact, at least a little bit. I can only hope. It had a positive impact so far this year. Emilien said he didn’t even realize that there was only one woman, and now he does, so at least they’re aware of the problem.

BV: Do you think the Boston campus will be inspired to host similar events?

CL: There’s an event we modeled our symposium after, which was “Women in Tech”, at Berklee Boston, so they have their act together, they know about all this stuff. They think about everything, so this whole gender thing must’ve come up.

BV: Any advice to girls for not getting discouraged?

CL: Find a mentor, find a female mentor who has achieved a lot, someone that knows the business. We’ve been emailing with the ladies from the event, and job searches have been made, and connections have been made. I would say find a mentor because you can fall back on this example you have. If you feel discouraged, at least you have someone to look up to. Don’t hate on men, it’s a really fine line between this whole empowering women thing and blaming guys.


Berklee As A Frontrunner

Just two weekends ago, Berklee College of Music hosted the Women’s Empower Symposium at their campus in Valencia, Spain.


With speakers from all over the spectrum, the event brought the likes of music journalists, producers, composers, PR agents, and everything in between. Featuring some of the top names in the business, the affair drew in sizable crowds for the various lectures, workshops, and presentations by women such as Beyonce’s PR agent.

This puts Berklee in a significant position in relation to other music schools across the globe. Though they’re certainly not the first to host an event like this, this particular event garnered enough attention to make it one of the more significant ones. Upon Googling “women in music symposium”, 7 of the 10 top hits on the first results page link to Berklee’s event.

What does this mean for Berklee, then? They’ve shown that they’re willing to put a foot forward when it comes to matters of diversity in their business- and their business is creating musicians ready to storm the industry, and what good is that if your female students lack equal encouragement? Of course, with a hefty handful of music schools within the US as well as elsewhere, there’s been a slimming disparity between the genders of students. Which is great news- more women are feeling more confident in their abilities and are, therefore, more willing to pursue their dreams in lieu of “more practical” options. Guys don’t have to be the only rock stars.

And so Berklee has set a precedent not only for other music schools but also for themselves. While other institutions will have to up their pace to keep in stride with them, Berklee will have to continue clearing boundaries and making an example of themselves. Perhaps this is contingent on the promise of more events like this in the future, perhaps it’s reliant on their emphasis on their female students. No matter- it’s a huge step in the right direction.

See, the reason an event like this is so monumental for Berklee is in its impact. Looking past the search engine results, there was a resounding physical response at the campus. Not only was turnout an indicator of the event’s success, but the coverage throughout the school it received proved that as well. There wasn’t a hallway you could walk down without passing a poster for the symposium. Professors altered class times to ensure students could attend the event. In maintaining the appearance that Berklee was really passionate about the event, it fostered the same passion in the students. Write this down, Juilliard.

Throughout the day, attendees could sit in on panel discussions regarding various topics in the music industry- particularly how the particular women speaking were involved. Or they could attend various workshops crafted for specific interests, such as music blogging or banishing stage fright. When it came down to it, there was something for everyone, and there was something at almost every hour throughout the event. Never a dull or free moment.

If you’re interested in seeing some of the event, you can watch clips from some of the panels here.


Nayvia’s recording session at Berklee!

Finally we got to makIMG_5108e the recording of the song Jon composed for Nayvia. I was kind of nervous because this was her first experience in a studio. Actually now that we have had the session I’m very pleased and surprised. There was a point in the session that I actually experienced something really refreshing… I was in the middle of a creative process between my artist and the producer/composer.

I guess this is one of the rewards of working with artist, watching them enjoy what they are doing and rocking while doing it. I’m very happy that in a very busy week I managed to be part of this moment. Nayvia did great even when she had a sore throat. While she was singing I could see her feet dancing.

About this “happy feet” moments, I noticed she does that even whIMG_5102en rehearsing. At the beginning my perception was that she was showing anxiety, nervousness and even I tried to convince Nayvia she was being distracting. Now I realize it is part of her personality as a performer and I’ll supervise the public reaction of it.

Jon told me he was going to mix it and do the master of it as soon as possible. I hope he could have an advance before this week ends to share it with you and my partners in class. Back there in the studio, it was already sounding great. I can’t imagine what Jon will do with the files.

Obsessive 音楽 part #1

Japan,the second largest music market in the world, mixing tradition and modernism, different point of views of the music industry, those are some characteristics that Japanese music industry has.

It is ILLEGAL to sell a CD for less than $25, CD market is still the biggest making up over 85% in the market, a country were the illegal download revolution never happen. Steve McClure he was born in the United States, he has been leaving in Japan more than 17 years and this days he is Formerly Billboard magazine’s Asia Bureau Chief. In the next video he talk a fast and very interesting summary of the music Industry in Japan:

As Steve said they have made their own industry. When somebody talks about J-pop (Japanese pop) first name that comes to your head is the name AKB48, is the biggest group of Japan with more than 40 members, all girls, they had record sales of over $226 million. Yasushi Akimoto the chief producer of the group made a big business with this.

“I just want to make super stars from ordinary girls”

here an Interview:


Technology Changes Everything.

If there is one thing that has become quite obvious is that technology has the power to change everything. It has certainly transformed the music industry throughout the years! From the way we make music to the way we produce it. From the way we source music to the way we listen to it. It can be said that technology has affected the music industry in both positive and negative ways. The short clip above provides an excellent example of this.

If you were to type “technology and the music industry” into the multiple search engines that are available to us, you would soon discover that the majority of the articles out there focus on the negative effects technology has brought to the music industry. It is important to point out that technological advances have not only affected music but also publishing, television, radio, and the news. While it is true that perhaps technology has had a negative impact on the music industry (as well as other industries), there are many other changes that have been positive.

Today, I am choosing to focus on the positive as it is important to recognize favorable disruption. Let’s look at the short clip below.

Positive changes in the music industry (thanks to technological advances) include: consumers having access to music more than ever before, online music education availability, new musical instruments, access to digital tools (by both artists and consumers), artist collaboration increase, artistic control and independence, artist and fan communication/interaction via social media channels, crowd funding platforms, etc. All these changes continue to ultimately shape the music industry today.

Though there are many who feel nostalgic when thinking about the way the music industry used to be, it is important to appreciate the way the music industry is now. It will never be the way it used to be. In other words, it is important to see the good and bad (without specifically focusing on the bad). I am not saying the music industry is perfect. In fact, there are many things that could be improved. I am simply saying that technology should not to be seen as evil. It is important to embrace it and welcome the changes technological advances may continue to bring.

Raw talent first performance

I’ve been representing Nayvia for some months now. She’s a talented girl that never took any sort of voice education but still can do what you can see in the video of this post.

It’s a very special and satisfactory challenge that actually demands more patience than it usually needs. It’s special because you’re building an artist from scratch, you’re trying to let the new talent learn a ton of new things, learn how to communicate with musicians that actually have been in the business for a while. It’s a constant struggle with simple but huge insecurities and interests.

It’s satisfactory, because every step Nayvia takes, don’t matter how big it is, it feels like it’s being a huge one. Jon O’Hara and myself are always having our jaw dropped when we hear her during rehearsal. Every time she sings I can see how she gets more and more convinced that maybe her voice it’s her biggest asset, I can see her dancing while practicing her song and having a dumb smile that she can not contain.

Jon O’Hara, just finished Nayvia’s first song, they have been rehearsing and working on its details. In less than a month they will be recording it in a professional studio with some professional artist and professional sound engineers. I’m not sure if she realizes how big is this recording going to be. Jon and myself are convincing some artists from Berklee to get involved in this project and we are getting good response so this dream is about to come true.

Next step it’s making a photo shoot to Nayvia so hopefully next time you read something from me, you’ll see a beautiful picture of her in the post.

Finland in Three Parts #2a

Opera has also been a genre that has influenced the music in Finland, so now let me talk about the last big genre of Finland. Popular music in Finland is very varied, it all started with Georg Malmstenstarted in the 1930s. There were also artists like Olavi Virta or Tapio Rautavaara, who were the most popular male singing stars in Finland and Toivo Karki, one of the most popular songwriter.

I don’t understand a single word of what he is singing, but this makes me move. Back to what I was talking about earlier, best hits are called “Iskelmä.” Other of the great singers is Katri Helena, who has been performing since the 1960’s.

The biggest influence that Finland has after the Rock Era is Metal. Finland is one of the biggest influence of Symphonic Metal around the world. In the ’90s, Apocalyptica was founded, whom started making Metallica covers with a chelo quartet.

Other famous groups are Stratovarius, Nightwish and Children of Bodom. This last group, Children of Bodom, made a cover of Britney Spears’ song “Oops I did it again.”

Now that we have some background about the music in Finland, let’s talk about the music industry these days. In Finland there is IFPI, which is the national trade association representing 23 record companies in this country.

“IFPI Finland´s goal is to ensure favourable operational environment for the recording industry in Finland”.

IFPI’s Digital Music Report illustrates that the global music business offers consumers a more diverse range of licensed music services. For the first time, revenues from streaming and subscription services rise 51.3% globally, crossing a threshold of US$1 billion.

As you can see in this chart, since 2005 there is a significant increase of money in the digital music streams.

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Raw talent with professional artist

Nayvia, raw talent in Valencia

Jon and Nayvia rehearsing their song.

It’s very interesting how things are developing so fast. Yesterday, Nayvia and myself met one more time with Jon O’Hara.

A couple months ago, I told Jon I wanted him to meet with a talented girl I was representing, and now they are working in a brand new song tailored to my artists qualities and strengths.

I enjoyed a lot watching this talented guys having such a great time singing together. There’s no doubt music is an universal language.

I’ve noticed a great progress with Nayvia in terms of confidence, voice and attitude. It hasn’t been easy for all of us, particularly to her. Sometimes I notice she gets quite overwhelmed and insecure about her capabilities. It must be shocking to see how people fall in love with things you took for granted of yourself, in Nayvia’s case, that was her voice.