Clive Davis Institute x Berlin: Future Pop Music Studies

Come learn about - and help create - the future of global popular music in Europe's most exciting, vibrant metropolis. 

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Currently experiencing a major renaissance, Berlin is a historic world capital and an electrifying cultural center for artistic creativity. The city has long been an inspirational haven for artists from all over the world, and in the aftermath of its 20th century political turbulence and upheaval, Berlin boasts affordable rent and a vibrant nightlife scene featuring world-class clubs like Berghain and Tresor. Having long attracted and inspired American musicians like Lou Reed and British artists like David Bowie, Berlin has a distinct and mythic musical history.

Drawing on the strengths of Berlin as a multicultural world capital and a preeminent destination for a wide range of musical and sonic innovation, the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music has created a unique and groundbreaking study abroad program that focuses on pop music experimentalism and the avant-garde. We push the envelope to consider the future of music production, business, technology and emergent media, performance, songwriting and journalism.

You will be able to learn about the fascinating past, present and future of music making in Germany and Europe at large, and you’ll be able to practice your craft and learn about the arts and emergent media scene while meeting and working with influential Berlin-based industry professionals. 

CURRICULUM

Students must enroll in core program courses, as well as additional complementary general education or elective courses, in order to complete a full-time, 16-credit semester.

Students are required to take: 

  1. German Language (4-6 units)
  2. REMU-UT 9810 Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future
  3. REMU-UT 9817 Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units)

PLUS, 8 additional units that may be fulfilled with any of the below elective courses or other general education or elective courses offered via NYU-Berlin.

German Language

4-6 units | Required

All students studying in Berlin are required to take a German language course (or course taught in German) for graded credit. This course cannot be taken Pass/Fail.

This course will count towards General Education - International for ReMu majors.

Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future

REMU-UT 9810 | 2 units | Instructor: Mat Dryhurst

Pre-requisite for ReMu majors: REMU-UT 1218 The Business of Music (in-development). This course will count towards required Business core for ReMu majors.

With sales of more than 1.3 billion, the German recorded music market is the third largest in the world: it is larger than the UK music market and behind only the USA and Japan. Beyond just numbers, the Berlin music business is unique: it’s home to hundreds of powerful independent and D.I.Y. record labels; it’s historically been ground zero for innovative electronic and dance music; and it’s a burgeoning tech hub for innovative software/hardware companies like Native Instruments, Ableton and Soundcloud. In this colloquium series, students will meet and hear each week from key creative entrepreneurial figures and innovators in the German and European music business.

This course has several purposes. First, students will consider how ongoing economic and technological changes might be impacting the worldwide music business, as speakers discuss controversial trends like the rise of cryptocurrency, block chain and cashless systems, customization technologies like 3D printing and developments in robotics, and radical, disruptive approaches to copyright. Second, students will develop a greater understanding of the chief similarities and differences between the traditional European and US music business operations, particularly with regard to label operations, publishing and copyright, touring and festivals, and nightlife promotion.

Third, students will become more informed about the D.I.Y.  music business in Berlin itself, as they hear from speakers about the promises and challenges one faces in launching innovative music start ups in Germany. And finally, students will get to meet and network with key movers and shakers in the Berlin scene, past and present. In anticipation for a guest class visit, students may be required to investigate websites, read biographical or contextual material, or attend events outside of class time. Students will be expected to ask informed questions of the guests and to develop responses throughout the course of the class.

Students should leave the class with a greater understanding of how the European and German music businesses work and how they themselves might make a business or sales impact on a global scale. 

Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition

REMU-UT 9817 | 2 units | Instructor: Heiko Hoffmann

There is no pre-requisite for this course. This course will count towards required Writing, History, & Emergent Media electives for ReMu majors.

A classic album is one that has been deemed by many —or even just a select influential few — as a standard bearer within or without its genre. In this class—a companion to the Classic Albums class offered in New York—we will look and listen at a selection of classic albums recorded in Berlin, or recorded in Germany more broadly, and how the city/country shaped them – from David Bowie's famous Berlin trilogy from 1977 – 79 to Ricardo Villalobos' minimal house masterpiece Alcachofa. We will deconstruct the music, the production and the marketing of these albums, putting them in full social and political context and exploring the range of reasons why they have garnered classic status. Artists, producers and engineers involved in the making of these albums will be invited to discuss their seminal works with the students. Indeed, Along the way learn about consider the history of German electronic music. We will particularly look at how electronic music developed in Germany before the advent of house and techno in the late 1980s as well as the arrival of Techno, a new musical movement, and new technology in Berlin and Germany in the turbulent years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, up to the present. As students listed to classic albums, they’ll consider Berlin’s slow transformation from divided city in those anarchic and pioneering days of the early 1990s into the bustling, world-class nightlife capital it is today—alongside the changing and controversial cultural and socio-economic landscape of the city, and how Berlin continues to retain its uncompromising, avant-garde ethos.

On one hand, the phrase “classic albums” suggests pre-eminent status, high standards, top quality. On the other hand, the term classic can infer elitism and exclusion, and, too often, the work of white male rock artists is often venerated in this tradition at the expense of women and people of color subjects.  Given that what gets constituted as “classic” or “canonical” is a vexed issue in popular music, as it is in literature and other fields, this class will also look at non-traditional classics, and “good bad” albums that were once critically panned — as well as albums by women that might be easily reclassified as “classic” especially if we interrogate the criteria used to make the assessments in the first place. Students will be expected to write a final research paper drawing on issues discussed in class and in the readings.

Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies

REMU-UT 9815 | 2 units | Instructor: Moritz Simon Geist

This course is not offered every semester, subject to availability.

There is no pre-requisite for this course. This course will count towards required Technology electives for ReMu majors.

This unique course introduces students to innovative and cutting-edge technologies of sound, video, and interfaces that are changing the way music is performed, produced and received. Music and creative technologies have shifted in the last years from preset-focused black-box devices to open and hackable hard- and software. Examples are MaxMSP (Ableton), the Kinect Motion sensor, VR Platforms or open source music instruments like Korg’s Mono series, little bits or bastl. This shift enables artists today to understand the inner workings of instruments better and engage a very different working process: these days, devices can more easily be created and manipulated, forming future tools and creating a rich variety of different media.

The course consists of both a theoretical and a hands-on part, and has a workshop component.

No special knowledge like programming or electronic skills is presupposed. As this course is intended for students from different disciplines, the content will flexibly be adapted to the level of knowledge of the students, especially for students with little or no technical background.

Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing

REMU-UT 9814 | 2 units | Instructor: Christina Wheeler & Robert Lippok

Pre-requisite: REMU-UT 1004 Producing the Record: Side B, with a grade of C or better or comparable course. This course counts towards Recorded Music electives.

The purpose of this workshop is to expose students to forward-thinking ways to conceive of creative approaches to performing and producing.  As the traditional global recorded music economy has diminished over the last two decades, live performance and touring has become an increasingly important and primary source of income for recording artists. Record producing — once a stable artform largely tied to the manufacture and distribution of physical products like the album and the CD — is evolving in a post mp3, post-ownership moment dominated by streaming services.

During the first half of the course, students will strive to produce original music that draws on a long history of experimental studio practices and techniques. To achieve those aims, students will be exposed to Germany’s key historical role in helping to radicalize the use of the recording studio in the 20th century, as well as the innovative work of composers like Olivier Messiaen, Stockhauser, Steve Reich, Joe Harriott, Anthony Braxton and Iannis Xenakis. They’ll also consider contemporary experimental approaches to making recordings that include sound art. In the second half of the course, students will work with their instructor to find creative ways to stage the original music that they’ve written and produced. The focus will be on immersive performance, and the incorporation of cutting-edge electronics and live visuals, with an eye to experimental spectacular performances of the past (Yma Sumac, Laurie Anderson, Grace Jones, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, Diamanda Galas, Bjork, etc.) The semester will end with a final concert at a Berlin based music venue.

Internship Seminar and Fieldwork

NODEP-UA 9982 | 4 units

This course will count towards the Industry Internship requirement for Recorded Music majors.

This internship course is focused primarily on community placement. With the guidance of the instructor, students independently reflect on and formulate concepts relating directly to their community placement (normally, an internship or volunteer opportunity). The community placement, which the student actively participates in securing with guidance from the relevant site or professional personnel, falls within the area defined by the student ́s concentration and, as much as possible, relates to their individual academic interests.

The course provides students with eight seminars (full-class sessions and individual conference meetings) and support for their placement, as well as for the preparation of their final project. The seminars focus specifically on intercultural workplace skills, the exchange of project plans, the improvement of research, argumentation, and writing skills. 

Students must apply for the academic internship in Berlin. Students can access information about the internship, instructions, and the application here.

The deadline to apply for an internship for spring 2018 is Friday, September 15, 2017.  

More About the Internship Seminar and Fieldwork

WHAT COURSES SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Depending upon your entrepreneurial focus within the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, enrollment in the following courses is suggested:

Business Focus

  1. German Language (4-6 units) - Required Course
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units) - Required Course
  3. Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units) - Required Course
  4. PLUS one elective, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); Internship (4 units); AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)
Browse NYU Berlin Courses

PRODUCTION FOCUS

  1. German Language (4-6 units) - Required Course
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units) - - Required Course 
  3. Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units) - Required Course
  4. Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing (2 units) 
  5. PLUS one elective, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units) AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)
Browse NYU Berlin Courses

PERFORMANCE/SONGWRITING FOCUS

  1. German Language (4-6 units) - Required Course 
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units) - Required Course 
  3. Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units) - Required Course
  4. PLUS two electives, such as Experiments in the Future of Performing and Producing (2 units); Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units) AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)
Browse NYU Berlin Courses

TECHNOLOGY FOCUS

  1. German Language (4-6 units) - Required Course
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units) - Required Course
  3. Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units) - Required Course
  4. Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units) 
  5. PLUS one elective, such as Internship (4 units) AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)
Browse NYU Berlin Courses

JOURNALIST FOCUS

  1. German Language (4-6 units) - Required Course
  2. Conversations in the Global Music Business: From Cryptocurrency to Big Data to Surviving the Future (2 units) - Required Course
  3. Classic Albums: The Berlin/Germany Edition (2 units) - Required Course
  4. PLUS two electives, such as Creative Experiments with Emerging Music Technologies (2 units); Internship (4 units) AND/OR another General Education or Elective course via NYU-Berlin (4 units)
Browse NYU Berlin Courses

Program Dates

Fall 2017

Student Arrival: Monday, August 28, 2017
Last Day of Classes: Thursday, December 7, 2017
Student Departure: Friday, December 15, 2017

Spring 2018

Student Arrival: Monday, January 22, 2018
Student Departure: Saturday, May 19, 2018

ADMISSIONS

Deadlines:

Spring 2019: Thursday, September 20, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. ET

For more information, please view our Admissions Calendar.

Please note that this program is mandatory for all Recorded Music majors.

Tisch Recorded Music Majors: Please contact Brianne Hayes at bp32@nyu.edu

All Other Applicants: Check here for updates regarding non-majors and visiting student admissions for spring 2019.   

Expenses

  • Academic Year 2017-2018 Full-time Tuition, 12-18 unit flat rate per term: $26,451

Additional Fees Include:

  • Nonrefundable Registration and Services Fee: $1,261
  • NYU Housing: Visit the NYU Berlin website for options and costs

Please review the Tisch Special Programs cancellation policy.

Visit the Office of Global Programs for additional study abroad costs.

SCHOLARSHIPS & FINANCIAL AID

There are opportunities for financial assistance to study abroad.

Please review the Scholarships and Financial Aid for Study Abroad page for more information.

HOUSING

Visit the NYU Berlin website for housing options and descriptions.