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On Teaching Next-Gen Startup Founders

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).

The End of Your Current Job May Be The Beginning of Your Future Career

screenshot of September 2012 YFS Magazine interview of Dae Bogan

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.

https://yfsmagazine.com/2012/09/05/former-vp-of-marketing-turns-layoff-into-multimillion-dollar-deal-with-former-employer/?fbclid=IwAR1jpSVKYzRrN_m8XfCiyCThFbKJMoAtTXqEVr0SvRZR1cMyFy5co3Zd_p8

Milestone Reached: 10 Years Working Full-time In My Passion

Selfie taken next to one of the signs explaining The Mechanical Licensing Collective’s core principles.

“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.

[Podcast] Creative Innovators Podcast

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.

Listen here.

The Cost of Excuses

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 can’t”.

“Next time.”

“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?

Set Goals Or Struggle

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.

House of Blues Music Forward Foundation’s Bringing Down the House Seeks Young Emerging Artists

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House of Blues Music Forward Foundation‘s Bringing Down the House is a chance for talented musicians, ages 14-20, to connect with music industry insiders through interactive workshop sessions and showcase your talent on legendary stages.
 
Six to eight Bands or Solo Artists in four cities will be selected to participate.
 
This opportunity is being offered free-of-charge to musicians in: Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans
 

[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.

Link: http://musicjobspodcast.com/ep-39-serial-music-entrepreneurship-and-innovation-with-dae-bogan/

Why I Founded TuneRegistry

When I managed artists, I made this “Song Processing Checklist” to keep track of everywhere that I was aware of to register my artists’ music. It was daunting. TuneRegistry simplifies this.

Nearly 10 years ago I founded my first music company. It was called Renaissance Artist Management (RAM Artist) and I managed DJs who I had for several years prior booked often to play club events that I produced while in undergrad at UCLA. Some of these DJs were also aspiring music producers, so later I launched Loft24 Records and Loft24 Publishing to help them collaborate with artists and topliners. I picked name Loft24 because I was 24 years old and I lived in a loft in Downtown Los Angeles, which had been a goal of mine since my youth (I have no idea why). I had also signed my first two live acts – a singer/songwriter and a rapper/songwriter — after producing a multi-city mall talent search tour for Reebok…they were the winners.

Prior to founding RAM Artist, Loft24 Records, and Loft24 Publishing, I had some music business exposure having grew up in a multi-generational music family and having been an aspiring musician myself, but my knowledge was nowhere near as expansive as it is today (insert a lot of self-teaching and an eventual masters degree in music business).

One of the things I was really good at as a manager and music entrepreneur was creating systems and processes to make workflows efficient. This was necessary considering all of the tasks I had to juggle as an artist manager, label owner, and music publisher. And I had a daytime job as VP of Marketing & Partnerships of a youth-targeted retail chain and founder/GM of its music division.

I had previously built database-driven e-commerce systems at two companies where I had worked in marketing; and with a history of event production, I was generally a very logistical and process-oriented person.

At the time that I was managing artists, DJs, producers, songwriters and marketing music, I was unaware of software that would make my life easier in these administrative tasks. So, I built my own.

I had previously developed a checklist of everywhere that I was aware of where my client’s music needed to be registered before it was released. I used this “Song Processing Checklist” for every work in our catalog. I’d manually login to ASCAP and the Copyright Office systems to register works and record confirmation numbers. It was daunting!

To pitch our catalog, I built an internal platform called “Music Licensing Portal” (basically an early version of what DISCO or SourceAudio is today). I’d invite music supervisors to search our catalog and initiate sync license requests.

Then I built what would be my first music tech startup, SongBank, a marketplace where A&R’s could shop for unpublished songs using an audio fingerprint of a reference songs. SongBank was described as a robust cloud-based project management platform developed specifically for songwriters and record label A&Rs (I’m still unaware of anything like it on the market). I wanted to help undiscovered songwriters get placements on major label projects after my experience pitching my writers to A&Rs. I had brought on advisers who were A&Rs or VP of A&R at Hollywood Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Roc Nation, and Atlantic Records. I later stopped working on SongBank to launch Maven Promo (formerly ChazBo Music), which is an in-store independent music video network, which I sold to EMPIRE Distribution last year to fund the development and launch of RoyaltyClaim, the world’s first search engine of unclaimed music royalties, which I later sold to Haawk Inc and then to Made In Memphis Entertainment this year.

All of this leads me to this: TuneRegistry.

TuneRegistry is a software like no other. I conceptualized it based on all of the above experience (although I had been working on it prior to RoyaltyClaim). What started as a Word Doc checklist of places to register my client’s songs has evolved into a robust software to streamline the process of registering works across rights organizations, delivering music metadata across the music industry, the management of disputes and conflicts, and the insurance of royalty accountability, all in one place.

We had a setback for a few months, when I had to buy the company back from a company that had acquired it in 2017, but will be launching an new and improved platform on October 1st and I can’t wait

(Photos below are of the tools and platforms that I referenced above. I built these in my early twenties to operate my music companies and manage my clients’ careers more efficiently.)

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