Watch this week’s Nightly Business Report on NPR and Public Television to see a special series on the Music Business, featuring Dave Kusek and Gerd Leonard.

"On December 6th, 1877, Thomas
Edison shouted a nursery rhyme into his new talking machine. The recording
industry was born.

Over more than a century, the technology evolved from wax cylinder to
shellac platter to long-playing vinyl to cassette tape to compact disc.

But the business model remained the same: The artist recorded to the
label`s satisfaction, the label did the manufacturing and handled the
distribution, and the consumer could take it or leave it.

That changed in the mid-1990s, when personal computers got the ability
to make digital compact discs. Unlike analog, digital recordings are
simply computer data files, and the tools need to create, capture and
manipulate digital music are inexpensive, high quality and widely

Now, consumers can use the recording industry`s compact disc to create
their own compilations, re-edit to produce derivative products, and yes,
make perfect copies.

When the cost of the blank needed for a copy fell to pennies, the
industry`s business model fell apart.

If the ability to easily copy compact discs was a problem for
the recording industry, Napster and other file-sharing systems were a
disaster. Created in 1999, Napster let consumers freely trade the computer
files of songs with others over the Internet. The artists, publishers and
recording companies never saw a dime.

Nearly 40 million people were said to be using Napster when
it shut down. And for every Napster that was shut down, another method to
share files sprang up.
The industry`s trade association sued thousands of people, mostly
college students, to stop the practice. The lawsuits, tens of thousands by
some counts, continue today.

More info here.

About David Kusek

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, a major initiative to expand music education worldwide; Berklee Shares, 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 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.

Dave lives near Boston and can be contacted at

About Gerd Leonhard

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 days, Gerd was the founder and President/CEO of, 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

Gerd currently resides in Basel, Switzerland and can be contacted at


The authors can be contacted via snail mail at:

David Kusek
Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston Street
Boston, MA USA 02215

Press contact:

Lori Ames
212-620-4080 x12