The Berklee College of Music today launched the Institute For Creative Entrepreneurship (ICE), and named Sonicbids founder and Berklee alum Panos Panay as Founding Managing Director. Introductory lectures begin this spring, with a full launch in the fall. With an ambitious plans to create the "MIT Media Lab for the music and creative sector," Panay shared his vision for ICE in an interview just prior to launch.
The Institute will offer an academic curriculum, research projects, online courses and an incubation environment to encourage new startups within the music space. Taking advantage of its Boston location, Berklee ICE is also working with area universities including MIT, Harvard and Babson to encourage joint research projects. "Berklee is a hotbed of creativity and Boston is a center of technology, research and entrepreneurship," said Panay. "This is an opportunity to bring them all together."
Some projects could become full fledged startups. "CDBaby, Sonicbids, Round Hill Music and PledgeMusic were all founded by Berklee alum," said Panay, who sees Berklee ICE as the perfect music tech incubator. In addition to its creative academic atmosphere and location, Panay pointed to Berklee's staff, board and alumni who offer the potential for introductions to the music industry, technology sector and venture capital.
Building A Support Network
Several heavy hitters are already offering their help. Bill Kaiser of Greylock Partners, an early investor in Facebook, Pandora, Airbnb and Linkedin, is on the ICE steering committee and Berklee Trustee. "Berklee is embracing a unique opportunity to foster innovation by fusing together creativity, technology and fundamentally new approaches to the music business," said Kaiser.
Other Berklee trustees, entrepreneurs and academics forming the initial ICE support network include Peter Gotcher, Chairman of Dolby and cofounder of Topspin and DigiDesign; Mike Dreese, Newbury Comics CEO; Ken Zolot, senior lecturer at MIT School of Engineering, and former Warner Music Group chief Lyor Cohen, who just launched the Google backed label 300.
Not Just For Music Business Majors
ICE is designed to serve more than just Berklee's music business majors. “Today, as creativity, business and technology converge, entrepreneurs need to increasingly think like artists, and artists need to cultivate their instincts as entrepreneurs."
He also sees opportunities for them in other industries: "Businesses across all sectors are learning that their products and services are more successful if built with input from creative as well as technical minds. Apple led the way, but many others are following."
Building on Berklee's successful online course offering, ICE will also offer lectures, select course notes and other assets online, including many at no cost. "In addition to berkleeonline, we want to leverage Berklee's existing realtionsips with Coursera and edX."
"other industries have a deep
relationship with academia"
"Most other industries have a deep relationship with academia. They fund research, recruit students and more, said Panay. " The music industry has missed this opportunity. Berklee ICE can change that., and the result will be good for both industry and our students."