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Drexel to Host Startup Academy for Musical Entrepreneurs

October 05, 2015

music technology

Before companies like Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube became household names, they were startup businesses that had to figure out their businesses in the complex worlds of music and technology. Of course, many ideas like this don’t get off the ground—and it’s not because they aren’t good ones. Drexel University and the Music Business Association (Music Biz) are trying to give these inklings of enterprising musical minds a fighting chance at getting noticed by training them in the ways of entrepreneurs at Philadelphia’s first Music Startup Academy.

The one-day event will be held at Drexel’s URBN Annex on Wednesday, Oct. 28 as an opportunity for individuals and groups with music-related business and software concepts to learn the ins and outs of building viable music services. The event’s coursework was designed to provide an educational platform on the key topics of licensing, business development and technology to entrepreneurs at all levels.

“Drexel University is a natural fit to host Music Biz’s first Philadelphia-based Music Startup Academy,” said Marc Offenbach, an assistant professor of music industry in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. “With a nationally ranked music industry program, a student-run record label, and a school dedicated to guiding young entrepreneurs, our University produces the type of motivated trailblazers that the Music Startup Academy has a track record of nurturing to success.”

Presenters will include Michael Fiebach, CEO of the Philadelphia-based digital marketing firm Fame House, Kelly Snow, CEO of local digital mixtape startup Mixette, and representatives from Sony Music Entertainment, SynchTank/Soundgizmo, and more.

Drexel faculty members will also lend their expertise to Academy participants. Robert Weitzner, an assistant professor in Westphal College and the North American head of Consolidated Independent, the London-based digital supply chain provider for independent music companies, will be part of a panel on music operations. Charles Sacco, assistant dean of strategic initiatives for the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, will serve as one of the judges for the Elevator Pitch Shark Tank at the close of the Academy.

Kicking off in April 2011 at NYC’s General Assembly, Music Biz has taken the Music Startup Academy to Atlanta, Austin, Boston, London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and San Francisco.  

“Music Biz is thrilled to host the Music Startup Academy in our own backyard of Philadelphia,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “Our organization has a long history with this city, and we’re happy to give something back to its strong startup community with these sessions. We hope the Academy will jumpstart the scene even further and give Philly-area entrepreneurs the knowledge they need to change the music industry for the better.”

Registration is available for $39 for startups and just $19 for students. Special complimentary passes are available for Drexel music business students. See your professor for registration details.

For more information or to sign up for the Academy, visit

Those who would like to participate in the Shark Tank must fill out the form here and fill out a profile on Music Biz’s Music Startup Network here by Friday, October 16. Those who have been selected to present will be notified by Monday, October 19.