MUSICIANS HAVE never had a simple career path, but there’s a new route to fame or, at least, professional advancement: YouTube. Rather than simply apply for jobs, many musicians conceive of themselves as stewards of their own brand, building an online army of fans. That’s why Berklee College of Music is doing its prodigies a huge favor in creating a special institute to help them become their own agents and marketing directors.
Last week, the college launched the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship , which will connect students with savvy mentors and figure out ways to expand career options for musicians by integrating their work into other realms, like health care. The institute will be run by Panos Panay, a Berklee graduate and entrepreneur who sold his company Sonicbids, which provides online links between musicians and concert promoters, for $15 million last year. According to Panay, most musicians already have the skill sets to be successful entrepreneurs, such as the ability to improvise and the discipline needed to practice for hours each day.
If more Berklee students develop ways to combine their musical know-how with emerging technologies, so much the better — for them and for Boston. Talented music graduates decamp each year for music-industry capitals like Los Angeles and Nashville, or places with well-defined music scenes, such as Brooklyn and Austin. If they can build careers just as successfully from behind a screen, they can advance their art in Boston as easily as anywhere else.