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About Berklee Online

Berklee Online brings the best of Berklee College of Music to students around the world. Study Berklee's curriculum, with Berklee's faculty, in a small and supportive online community.


About Online Degrees

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Ron Kadish
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Shift to Par: Indian Music Business Mover-and-Shaker Vivek Paul Turned to Berklee Online to Make the Most of a Major Digital Transition

“I was at a crossroads, an intersection in the digital media business where a new formation was showing signs of convergence between music, tech, and copyright framework,” reflects Vivek Paul, digital music and social entrepreneur. Paul had just become head of Sony Music’s digital business in India. He was watching the intense, rapid change in his home market and knew he needed pull his ideas together.

“I wanted to consolidate my thoughts, focus my hunches, and drill deeper on the shifting landscape in the media consumption which was in migration from consumption economy to engagement economy,” he notes, “as I was tapped to make innovations in direct consumer connections and build new business lines. Berklee was the perfect place to do that.”

Already a seasoned professional, he enrolled in Berklee Online, digging into assignments, substantive interactions with his coaches and instructors, and intense online discussions with his fellow students, all while mastering the art of time-zones. He embarked on a grueling schedule, adding devoted hours of study and discussion to his already packed work life. Yet Paul has no regrets: “I can safely say, there couldn’t have been more diverse, engaged, and insightful structure for validation than being at Berklee.”

Paul’s career has been remarkably diverse. With a background that spans journalism, marketing, live music, digital innovations & entrepreneurship, consulting, and the old and new music industries, he hails from the generation of Indians who grew up in homes without televisions, phones, or the internet, yet who now operate on the bleeding edge of mobile and other digital technologies. The breadth of perspective afforded by this rapid change comes in handy: The Indian music market, with its strong ties to Bollywood and film music and with its volume-rich, value-poor nature, present fascinating challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurial thinkers and digital trailblazers like Paul.

“The whole idea of creating a self-sustainable and scalable market opportunity that can help create a bridge between the creator and consumer through innovations and digital commerce, new monetization models and forming a new structure for reinventing the conventional music business, was as real as it could get at that time,” recalls Paul. “It was the first time the global and local music industry was trying to converge on the rights management and a shift in power back to the artist, in addition to a radical shift in technology, applications, and devices that will become digital consumption touch points.”

Seeing how certain problems—from digital distribution to intellectual property concerns—were handled in the US and other markets proved invaluable. “I learned that the future of music would lie in the artist-fan direct ecosystem, in fan monetization models, the concept of a super fan, the engagement economy, the publishing industry, the value of live performance in the artist’s career, and the notion of the artist as epicenter, as a brand, an ecosystem and would soon deliver not just creative works but aggregated music audiences,” Paul reflects. “I think coming from diverse experience in the media industry, I was able to relate to the linear shift from content being in the center to the consumer being in the center, and realized that there is value to be unlocked by the industry from the context alongside direct content usage.”

Finding this center meant taking steps in several different directions at once. Paul used his knowledge to build Sony India’s direct to consumer digital business integrated with the Sony’s Mobile eco-system, but he also used his growing familiarity with copyright and intellectual property law to contribute to India’s new copyright law, passed and implemented by 2013. He also launched several independent ventures, including a live venue in Mumbai based on what he took away from his live music-related classes, artist consulting for musicians who fell outside the film-powered mainstream and working with multiple startups that were on the brink of forming a new industry model. “We want to empower the creator, nurtures the content-consumer relationship, and finds new economic models both in transaction and equity holding,” explains Paul, “creating corridors for new customers and content collaborations between India, the US, and Southeast Asia. It’s an interesting gap in the industry, an opportunity that was visible after the formation of physical business, a necessity in embracing technology by the content industry.”

He has also joined forces with multi-talented Farhan Akhtar (film star, director, singer, songwriter, entrepreneur, movie producer) and entertainment mogul Anurag Rao to support MARD Initiative (Men Against Rape and Discrimination – http://therealmard.org). Thanks in part to Paul’s savvy, the project focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment is collaborating with Google as part of their Helping Women Get Online program (http://hwgo.com) aspiring to make a difference to the lives of 50MN Women in India alone. Farhan has recently been named UN Women’s First Male Goodwill ambassador, under the HeforShe (http://heforshe.org) initiative.  “Infusing music as a communication channel to spread awareness was the underlined objective,” add Paul.

“From India's standpoint, we're in the middle of an amazing transition. We’ve jumped technologies, and we should soon be at global par,” muses Paul. “There are a massive number of youth online, including the early birds, the 4 and 5 year-olds with access to a connected device at home. We’re seeing a huge shift in the space of a generation, consumption, engagement, and commerce. There cannot be a better time than this, and there cannot be more comprehensive learning than Berklee. It allowed me to understand the gravity of the shifting landscape, sharpening my skills, intellect, and instincts to be able to see through the divisions. The most fascinating part of Berklee’s education program was in the encouragement I got from my tutors Mike King and Chris Stone in Particular, the involved participation I received from my classmates, and above all their long-term friendship.”

“Berklee allowed me to accomplish a dream,” he concludes. “I was able to write and build out a new device-connected business model in hybrid music consumption, which went live to market soon after and became a multi-million dollar boon for the music industry, eliminating painfully fragmented and divided digital eco-system for the music fans.”

About Berklee Online

Berklee Online is the online continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world.  Berklee Online’s award-winning online courses, multi-course certificate programs, and degree programs are accredited and taught by the college’s world-renowned faculty, providing lifelong learning opportunities to people interested in music and working in the music industry.

Berklee Online Courses taken by Vivek Paul

Online Music Marketing: Campaign Strategies, Social Media, and Digital Distribution
Copyright Law
Artist Management
Online Music Marketing with Topspin
Music Industry Entrepreneurship
Music Business 101
Music Marketing 101
Music Business Trends and Strategies
Concert Touring