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.
UCLA, UC, and non-UC students (including individuals who are not enrolled in college anywhere) are welcome. Enrollment is now open at summer.ucla.edu.
The class will meet on Thursdays (June 27 – August 1) from 6pm to 9:50pm at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music with the exception of Thursday, July 4th (there will be a total of 5 class meetings).
From digital-first record labels and music messaging apps to AR/VR (augmented reality / virtual reality) music experiences and blockchain-based music startups, entrepreneurs have been disrupting and innovating across the music industry since the launch of Napster in the early 2000’s. In this course, you will learn and apply principles of entrepreneurship and fundamental business strategies to the music industry. We will analyze case studies and current events and participate in critical discussions around music industry entrepreneurship. Course work will consist of developing business plans, workgroup labs, and building out infrastructure for start-ups that focus on technology and innovation in the music industry; all culminating in the pitch of a fictitious music industry company at the end of the quarter. You will also take away cautionary tales and lessons for success from founder stories presented by guest speakers of music industry start-ups and executives from established music industry companies.
Without a doubt one of the most useful classes I have taken in my undergraduate career at UCLA. Professor Bogan has so much real world knowledge and knows how to convey that knowledge in a classroom setting immensely well. All the course material was invaluable to my progression and aspirations of being in the music industry. Every lecture was extremely well-prepared, with amazing guest speakers and information that I will be using for the rest of my life. Professor Bogan did a phenomenal job and I will be recommending this class to all my friends interested in music or starting their own company. Can’t say enough good things about this class. – Anonymous, Student Course Evaluation
Dae Bogan To Teach “Music Industry Entrepreneurship” Class At UCLA Summer Session, June 27th – August 1st – Open To General Public
Dae Bogan, Co-founder and CEO of music rights and metadata management startup TuneRegistry and a UCLA alumnus, has been confirmed to develop and instruct a course on music industry entrepreneurship at UCLA.
The 4-unit course will be included among UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music‘s class offerings through the UCLA Summer Session program. The class is open to UCLA students (undergraduate and graduate students) as well as Non-UC students/general public.
From the tentative syllabus:
The music industry is an ecosystem consisting of an interrelated network of robust sectors. From recorded music and music publishing to live music and mobile apps, entrepreneurs have been disrupting and innovating across these sectors for decades. In the Digital Age of music, there has been a spike in startups across all sectors of the music industry with new players entering the industry despite cautionary tales of challenge and failure. They’ve re-shaped how consumers access music, they’ve challenged the relationships between so-called gatekeepers and aspiring musicians, and they’ve created niche markets that have grown to become billion dollar sectors. They’ve launched new talent in innovative ways and they’ve earned one hundred million dollar valuations within mere months. This is the entrepreneurial spirit at work. This is the manifestation of great ideas at work. This is entrepreneurship in the music industry.
In this course, students will learn fundamental principles of entrepreneurship across all phases of the start-up process. Students will analyze case studies and current events and participate in critical discussions around alternative business strategies in music industry entrepreneurship. Course work will consist of group assignments, workgroup labs, and strategic planning; all culminating in the presentation of a fictitious music industry company at the end of the session.
To learn more or to enroll, contact the UCLA Summer Sessions program at http://summer.ucla.edu. The class ID is 434828200 (Music Industry 188 – Special Courses in Music Industry: Music Industry Entrepreneurship)
What can I do with music and my career in a changing world?
Something different. Something new.
Join us this summer at our Music Innovation Summer Institute at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
- Earn 8 units of UCLA credit while meeting innovators in music and technology.
- Learn to apply your own skills with the changing world of music, Internet, production, and technology.
- Look forward, not just back, in understanding how technology is changing how we create, collaborate, distribute, produce, enjoy live performance, and build new businesses.
Experiment. Make new contacts and build new communities. Find other like-minded students to launch new businesses and project with. We will explore digital disruption of existing models, what already is happening with/to music, and what may be happening over the next 3-10 years.
How: Register now at http://summer.ucla.edu/institutes/MusicInnovation
What: Two 4-unit Music Industry Program classes form the center of our Music Innovation Summer Institute:
- Music Disruption, Music 2020 and Building New Futures — Dr. Gigi Johnson (bio)
- Music Tech Innovation, Launching New Ventures — Dae Bogan (bio)
The Institute will include speakers, local site visits, receptions, and other programs with creative and industry leaders. The program also includes a career coaching program in partnership with iCadenza (bios) to help students think and plan their careers.
Who: We welcome undergraduates from not just music, but also computer science, marketing, pre-law, economics, music industry, journalism, film, TV, and any other field. We also welcome graduate students, high school seniors, and non-students who would like to dive deeply for 6 weeks.
Where: UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Los Angeles, California
When: Mondays-Thursdays, June 20-July 29, 2016. Registration is now live at this link and will continue until the class is full or May 1.
Cost: Cost varies by type of student. Program fees: UC undergraduate $2,925; non-UC student $3,469. Financial aid will be available for continuing UCLA students only. (FAFSA is due March 2, and Summer Aid documents are due in April.) Housing at UCLA also is available.
Additional questions? Please reach out to Gigi Johnson.
SXSW (aka South by Southwest) is one of my favorite conference series where creators and technologists converge around content, innovation, and industry issues. It’s a place for discovering and being discovered, a place for inspiration, a place to conduct business, and a place to build new lasting relationships. And from the never-ending day parties, concerts, brand activations, and Austin nightlife, it’s fun as heck!
As a SXSW Mentor, I have the privilege of participating in one-on-one sessions with SXSW attendees who seek feedback on their projects/careers/startups and insight based on my areas of expertise and experience in digital media and the music industry.
This year I will be participating as a Mentor for the SXSW Interactive Conference (March 11-15) in the Startup Village track and SXSW Music Conference (March 15-20) in the Music Tech & Format Wars track. I will also be present at the SXSW Music Hackathon Championship where hackers use their programming knowledge and a collection of music-tech APIs to develop their industry-changing prototypes and compete for over $10,000 in prizes, awarded by our panel of celebrity judges.
For my mentor session schedule and to reserve a slot with me, see my schedule at http://sxsw.is/1KYDFO2.
Going to SXSW? Say “hi” @DaeBoganMusic
Tech founders, don’t be a #featurehoarder.
I’ve worked with enough failed digital media startups to have identified one trend of failure: poor MVP execution.
Ambitious first-time CEOs who want to bust out of the gate with outrageous competitive differentiators…products that implode.
The keyword in MVP is not minimum; it’s viable. With relatively few features, you can identify what areas drive value and build accordingly going forward; delivering incremental value with every version release.
It’s all about compelling introductory features that uniquely address a set of needs and user feedback, which informs future milestone features that expand on those needs.
Because you can’t be everything to everyone, make your product do something great for some one(s).