In the Spring of 2015 NYU’s music business graduate program at Steinhardt offered a course on analytics in the music business. This was the first time, to my knowledge, a full course like this was offered at any university. This news was one of the most validating moments of my career. After years and years of beating the drum of the importance of data and analytics in the music industry, NYU’s prestigious music business program was offering a course on the intersection I’ve been obsessed with for years!
In 2014, as the course was coming together, I was too busy running Next Big Sound to be very involved but I did help the professor, Larry Miller, with my thoughts on the syllabus and I did host one of the class sessions at the Next Big Sound offices on 19th and 6th Avenue. The second year the course was offered Larry Miller invited me to co-teach the course as the “entrepreneur-in-residence.” I became even more involved in planning the syllabus, reviewing the proposed assignments, discussing lesson plans, coordinating speakers, and leading some of the sessions completely on my own. We hosted one of the class sessions up at Pandora’s NY office across from Grand Central.
A few of my favorite parts about teaching so far:
Clarity of thought. I live in a music data bubble surrounded by colleagues who know what we do and why we do it. It’s very refreshing, and a great reminder, to meet 20-30 grad students who have very little idea about Next Big Sound, social/streaming/video data, or what a data scientist actually does.
Meeting new people. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds and is headed in so many directions, I really like hearing about why people are in the room and what gets them excited.
Flexing different muscles. I really love the practice of constructing a course curriculum, reading assignments, and figuring out the optimal way to lay out a progression for the class.
Industry relevance. Every single person I’ve asked if they’d like to come speak to an NYU class has enthusiastically agreed. People have generously re-arranged their schedules and sacrificed travel to be there. It is neutral territory on behalf of the students so even folks that compete vigorously in the market agree to come in and candidly talk to us about their challenges and opportunities. We’ve had folks from Pandora, Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Ticketmaster, Sony/ATV, mTheory, Warner Music Group, Edison Research, and many others.
I’m excited to announce that this year, I will be teaching the course completely on my own as an adjunct professor at NYU! I still have my full-time job as Head of Next Big Sound at Pandora but with the support of my team and Pandora - I will get to spend Monday evenings for 14 weeks (starting tonight!) with a few dozen graduate students talking about data analysis in the music industry.