Proud Teacher Moment
This is why I love what I do in the world of academia:
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Below is an email from a former student who took my Music Industry Entrepreneurship and Innovation class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music in 2019. She was an international student from China who, before taking my class, was unsure how her interests in math and music could turn into a career in the music industry.
When she enrolled in my winter 2019 class, she was pursuing a Bachelors degree in Applied Mathematics and had never worked in the music industry, nor was she a musician. We spent many office hours sessions talking about possible post-grad paths based on her academic background and interests.
Through my curriculum she learned about the intersection of music, data, and technology and wanted to explore the field further. As I had done with many other students, I helped her get her first internship in the music industry. She landed a data analytics internship at an in-vehicle music streaming startup-—a startup that I had been mentoring through the Capitol Music Group / Capitol360 gBeta MusicTech accelerator program.
The internship with the startup would set the tone for her academic and career journey post-grad.
A few months after taking my class, I wrote one of her letters of recommendation to support her candidacy to attend the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She was accepted and later graduated with a Master of Science degree in Business Analytics.
Today, she is a Data Scientist at TikTok and graciously claims that “All of this couldn’t have happened without your help.”
Clearly, she’s being way too kind.
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The second message is from another former international student of mine from Australia. He also excelled in my UCLA class. I helped him get his first music industry internship at Repost by SoundCloud, a former music rights client of mine.
Like the student mentioned above, I spent many office hours with him discussing his career goals, which were to build and launch his own startup. I even advised him on the idea itself. After graduating, he went on to build upon his idea with his co-founders and eventually launched the startup in real-life.
Today, he has been named a Music Network’s 30 under 30 finalist and his startup has gone on to raise money and be accepted into two different startup business accelerators.
He graciously praised that, “Your class really enabled me to start to think with ambition and to imagine how technology could positively make an impact on the music industry and I wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to be in your class. It was a pivotal part of my life that led me to where I am today and helped me shape my ‘why’ as a human. This whole journey started there.”
Clearly, he’s being way too kind.
I have no words to express how proud I am to see my students go off into the world and do great things with the encouragement and motivation that they received—that I bestowed—while spending 11 awesome weeks with Professor Dae. =)
Cheers to my former students and to the next cohort (2023) of Music Industry Entrepreneurship students!
On Teaching Next-Gen Startup Founders
When I conceptualized and developed a course on building and launching tech startups in the music industry at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, my goal was simple yet ambitious: I wanted to prepare the next generation of young entrepreneurs to enter the competitive startup landscape with a breadth of music industry knowledge, a fundamental understanding of strategic business research and planning skills, an entrepreneurial mindset, and founder insights gained from guest speakers, internships, and networking opportunities.
After spending several years advising, mentoring, and consulting founders of music tech and digital media startups, I felt that universities and colleges had a unique opportunity to prepare individuals early on with a robust class in music industry entrepreneurship and innovation. UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music agreed and hired me to develop and teach such a course course in 2016; a course that Billboard recognized among its list of “The 15 Best Music Business Schools In 2017.”
It is with this backdrop that I am made ever more proud by many of my former students who do exactly what I had hoped my class would inspire them to do: pursue a path towards music industry entrepreneurship.
That said, I’d like to shine a spotlight on one of my former students and his innovative startup.
David Hartley is a former student and the founder of SoundSmith, a marketplace for artists, labels and distributors to automate their influencer marketing on TikTok. They’ve recently been accepted to the Startmate business accelerator program.
David took my class in Winter 2018 and was a shining example of a model student. Not only was he engaged during lectures and guest speakers, he excelled in completing course assignments. He and his collaborators leveraged my officer hours to seek advice on their startup ideas and took full advantage of the ancillary opportunities that I offered students to land an internship at Repost by SoundCloud.
Students like David is what makes teaching music industry entrepreneurship enjoyable and stories like his is what makes it rewarding.
See David’s message to me below via LinkedIn (shared with his permission).
10 years ago I was on a trajectory to enter the C-suite of a company that was operating in an industry that I’ve long since lost interest in.
In 2012, I was abruptly laid off of my job after the company I worked for acquired another company and let go of employees in duplicate/similar roles.
In that moment I was devastated. I loved the work that I did and enjoyed my co-workers.
I used the opportunity of becoming unemployed to attend graduate school at CSUN Music Industry Administration to earn a Masters Degree in Music Industry Administration. Simultaneously, I bet on myself by investing $1,000 into developing my first tech startup. Yes, I racked up over $50k in student loan debt, but partially due to my education, I was able to get my company acquired and paid off all of my debt, including the student loans.
Since then, I’ve earned industry-wide recognition for my work and research, I became an educator at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music teaching a class on a topic that I’m deeply passionate about (music industry entrepreneurship), I’ve built and sold 3 tech startups in the music industry, and I’ve championed initiatives for and advocated on behalf of music creators’ rights.
There were definitely some setbacks, but I bounced back and charged forward into my purpose.
When I was derailed from my journey in 2012, just a few weeks shy of being unable to pay my rent or my car lease, I leaned into my passion and bet that my ambition was greater than failure.
Whatever you’re going through in your professional life right now, know that it is not your end. It may very well be the exit or pivot you need to a better future.
Here’s an interview that I did in September 2012 about my transition from being laid off to becoming a music tech founder.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”– Marc Anthony
I’ve always found this quote to be intriguing and optimistic.
The notion that working in your passion should feel so fulfilling that it overshadows and numbs any pains or losses that you’ve endured from doing the work itself. Furthermore, that your passion is one in which you can make enough of a living to satisfy your basic needs and (hopefully) more—live comfortably.
It’s a fascinating idea, but it generally doesn’t become a reality for most of us; even those of us who absolutely love the work that we do.
I do think there is a form of this optimism that is true and obtainable. A world in which you can be completely fulfilled by your work while still appreciating the challenges that you face and overcome.
Challenge builds character and expands knowledge.
Challenge is a catalyst for problem-solving, a skill that has a positive cognitive effect on aging adults.
Challenge invites innovation, a realm in which we foster creativity.
And challenge can feel painful. Setbacks and failures can take a deep emotional, physical and/or financial toll.
At last, challenge can coexist when working in your passion and doing what you love (even when “living your best life!”)
Today marks 10 years since I have been able to work in my passion and do what I love full-time (previously, I had been moonlighting in my passion for 7 years). While my specific adventure within the land of music, creator rights, technology and innovation has changed over time, my focus has always been rooted in a passion for empowering music creators.
I am now 2 years into my current adventure at The Mechanical Licensing Collective as Head of Third-Party Partnerships and 7 years into my adventure at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music as a part-time music industry professor and I can say that doing what I love is work, but it is work that I appreciate.
In this podcast with Gigi Louisa Johnson, I discuss some of the key events in my youth and early adulthood that laid the foundation for my adventures as a serial entrepreneur and music rights professional.
Happy New Year! To kick off 2021, please enjoy our free online creative career courses at https://NextCareer.me AND enjoy this week’s Creative Innovators podcast with the amazing Dae Bogan. Link to listen: https://lnkd.in/gequU5B
Dae Bogan shares how he sees solutions and “warps” them into business ideas — which is both a blessing and a curse. He began with selling cakes in middle school and organizing bus tours in high school from Cleveland, OH to New York. From his early history in acting, singing, and creating and producing events, he moved into a long series of start-ups (including putting gogo dancers in store windows) before moving into various endeavors in music tech. Dae has started and sold a variety of cloud-based ventures as well as mentored founders of other startups. Dae shares how he now is bringing those diverse skills to bear as head of Third-Party Partnerships with The Music Licensing Collective. The MLC works with music publishers and artists to collect and distribute their streaming royalties.
I wish there was a device that counted how many excuses we made in a day, a week, a month, and a year and could calculate the cost of opportunities lost.
“I want to, but…”
“It’s too difficult.”
“I will get around to it after…”
“I’m not like you. We’re just different.”
How much time do we lose in our lives telling ourselves that we can’t achieve something? That we’re not good enough? We’re not smart enough? We don’t know where or how to start, so why even bother?
If we add that time up it is probably enough time to accomplish something small, then something medium, then something big, then something life-changing.
I remember when I told myself that I didn’t have time or didn’t need to (because I enjoyed where I was at in my career) go to graduate school.
Then, I was abruptly laid off of my $65k per year job.
I decided to take the time to go back to graduate school and I found a nights and weekends program at CSUN Music Industry Administration that fit my schedule.
That was a life-changing decision.
As a result, I had the availability and took an opportunity to teach at a college; and now I develop and teach a Billboard-recognized course at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
As a result, I took a music publishing and copyright administration class taught by Steve Winogradsky, which strengthen my interest in music rights, which evolved into a research-fueled obsession with conceptualizing strategies and solutions to a broken and seemingly unfair system, which became my area of expertise, which changed the focus of my profession as a music industry professional, and which shaped my achievements as a serial entrepreneur to the point that I’ve sold nearly $2M of my ideas in this space.
As a result, I’ve advanced my role as an executive and increased my pre-graduate school salary to post-graduate school salary by 115%.
As a result, I’ve been able to financially gift my family, claw myself out of debt, and afford certain life experiences.
As a result, I look at excuses differently now. I look at the cost of excuses differently now.
We can measure our achievements, but can we measure opportunities lost? The cost of putting it aside one more day?
How much will one of your excuses from this morning cost you?
I honestly believe that some people are so comfortable with struggling that they refuse to make uncomfortable changes in their lives that would see their outcomes improve in the future. It’s a “chasing immediate results” mindset that encourages them to think about and talk about how a better future could look; all the while simultaneously taking no actions that create long-term and lasting changes.
What is your 5 year goal?
What are your 2nd, 3rd and 4th year milestones?
What is your 12 month plan?
If you took stock of where you are today compared to where you were 5 years ago and have little to no measurable net improvement in income, wealth, professional or academic achievement, global life experiences, health and fitness, or relationship status (I don’t mean just single or taken, but rather does the new or existing relationship (or lack thereof) make you feel happier, more secure, better, more loved than this time 5 years ago?); then you need to think about breaking the cycle and making real changes.
Get used to doing things in phases, whereas a phase could be several months or years, and stop thinking in terms of quick and immediate results. Those generally prove not to be long-lasting.
I’ve completely changed my life outcomes by applying the above to myself. You can too.
[Podcast] Dae Bogan Reflects On His Career Journey On This Episode Of “Hey, How’d You Get That Music Job???”
I was invited to the podcast “Hey, How’d You Get That Music Job???” to talk about my journey into the music industry and growth as a music industry professional. This was quite the vulnerable discussion as I explored my past as far back as a child aspiring artist, my YOLO move to Los Angeles as a homeless teen, and the founding of my first music companies as a senior at a UCLA. If hearing how I navigated hurdles and barriers to entry to become a 3x exited music tech entrepreneur and Billboard recognized music business educator, have a listen to this podcast episode.