David Kusek is a musician who has been inventing the future of music for the past twenty-five years. He was one of the first to capitalize on the commercial potential of computers and music. As an early synthesizer and electronic music pioneer, Dave cut his teeth on innovation.
At the age of nineteen, he co-invented electronic drums at Synare, which helped ignite the disco era. In 1980, he founded the first music software company, Passport Designs, which made it possible for musicians to record and produce their music at home with its award-winning software.
Kusek is also a co-developer of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) standard that opened up electronic music to literally millions of people. His efforts, along with others, set the stage for the desktop music market that we have today. In 1993, Kusek, with A&M Records, designed and developed the first commercially available enhanced CD that connected audio CDs to a personal computer. He also produces interactive DVDs for BMG Music, Windham Hill Records, and Berklee Press.
Today, David Kusek innovates at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., the premier school for aspiring professional musicians for over half a century. Dave is Vice President of Berklee Media, the continuing education division of the college. In that capacity, Dave oversees some of the college’s most visionary projects. These include: the college’s online extension school Berkleemusic berkleemusic.com, a major initiative to expand music education worldwide; Berklee Shares berkleeshares.com, a venture that taps the potential of digital networks and music content licensing by making a broad selection of Berklee’s curriculum free and universally available online; and, Berklee Press berkleepress.com the publishing arm of the college. Kusek also provides strategic consulting and advisory services to companies and individuals involved in the music and entertainment industries.
Kusek has written for or been quoted in Billboard, Boston Globe, New York Times, Wired, Christian Science Monitor, Associated Press, and San Francisco Chronicle, Forbes, NBC-TV, Nightly Business Report, NPR, Corante, The Deal, Inside Digital Media, the Financial Times. Kusek has been interviewed by over 25 radio stations nationwide. He has been a speaker and lecturer at Berklee College of Music, MacWorld, Comdex, PC World, NAMM, AES, and California State University.
Gerd Leonhard is a respected music futurist and oft-quoted visionary, a well-known music industry executive and music business entrepreneur, a sought-after strategic adviser and music industry super-node and still a performer (guitar), writer, and producer. A native of Germany, Gerd has spent more than twenty years in the U.S. music, e-commerce, and entertainment technology industries, and is equally at home in the U.S. as well as in Europe.
During the dot.com days, Gerd was the founder and President/CEO of LicenseMusic.com, a company that revolutionized music licensing, reducing the average transaction time for music licenses from six weeks to two hours. LicenseMusic, Inc. served thousands of clients from 1996-2002, including Disney, Paramount Pictures, and Fox TV.
He is the Founder and CEO of ThinkAndLink (TAL), a boutique advisory agency based in Basel, Switzerland and San Francisco. TAL connects people, ideas, companies, and resources in the converging sectors of entertainment and technology, and catalyzes their development. As CEO of ThinkAndLink, he serves as Senior Advisor to Media Rights Technologies, BlueBeat, and ShareTheMusic Networks. Gerd sits on the Advisory Board of Musicrypt, Inc., and works with dozens of startups and new ventures in the entertainment and technology industries in Europe and the U.S.
Gerd served as the Executive Producer of the pan-European talent event EuroPopDays, as Expert Advisor on the Cultural Industries to the European Commission in Brussels in 1993-1996, and as Senior Strategic Adviser to Rightscom Ltd. (London). Gerd graduated with a diploma in Jazz Performance (Guitar) from Boston’s Berklee College of Music (1987), and won the college’s highly acclaimed Quincy Jones Jazz Masters Award. His performance credits include touring internationally, including opening engagements for major acts such as Miles Davis.
Gerd has been quoted in Billboard, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, San Francisco Chronicle, Business2.0, Wall Street Journal, and Wired, and continues to speak, moderate, and/or present at the music industry’s biggest events. He publishes his music business visions at MusicFuturist and you can visit his Web site at gerdleonhard.com.
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