What Kind of Creative Entrepreneur Are You?

The Clive Davis Institute offers a holistic curriculum in music business, writing, history & emergent media, musicianship & performance, and music production with the goal of educating you to become a well-rounded, visionary creative entrepreneur.

There are no "tracks" at the Clive Davis Institute. All students are required to take the same core courses, students will become an entrepreneur, and eventually define themselves as such.  Below we have identified seven types of creative entrepreneurs in music — Executive, Journalist, Performer, Producer, Social, Songwriter, and Technology. However, you may also discover that you fit in to more than one category and choose to direct yourself as a hybrid entrepreneur, someone who wants to do it all.


Executive Entrepreneur

Do you want to eventually launch and operate a record label, a live music venue, music festival, a retail store, an artist management company, or become involved in A&R, marketing, branding, touring, booking or promotion? If you want to be chiefly involved in the business of creating, marketing, managing, and distributing music beyond producing or performing, you may be what we describe as an aspiring Executive Entrepreneur.

Examples of renowned Executive Entrepreneurs: Virgin Records founder, Richard Branson; Atlantic Records founder, Ahmet Ertegun; Arista and J Records founder, Clive Davis; Motown founder, Berry Gordy; Downtown Records co-founder and CEO, Josh Deutsch; Geffen Records and Dreamworks founder, David Geffen; Def Jam co-founder, Russell Simmons; Vested in Culture/Epic Records President, Sylvia Rhone; Atlantic Records Group Chairman/COO, Julie Greenwald; Whitesmith Entertainment co-founder, Emily White; Fania Records co-founder, Johnny Pachecho; Senior VP of Concerts/Head of Contemporary Rock at ICM, Marsha Vlasic; concert promoter, Bill Graham; management titan, Irving Azoff, Coachella Music Festival founder, Paul Tollett; artist manager and media impresario, Simon Fuller.


Journalist Entreprenur

The music industry is full of journalists, bloggers, publishers, curators and tastemakers who build and leverage their brands to start labels or other music or internet ventures. If you’re interested in writing about, or archiving or curating music, beyond simply performing or producing it, you may be a journalist entreprenuer.

Some famous Journalist Entrepreneurs include: Rolling Stone Media Publisher, Jann Wenner; Pitchfork publisher, Ryan Schreiber; Tommy Boy founder, Tom Silverman; Sub Pop founder, Bruce Pavitt; Bruce Springsteen manager, Jon Landau; celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton. Recording artists like Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys started as writers and editors; and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of The Roots is as much a music curator and archivist as he is a producer and DJ.


Performer Entrepreneur

Do you want to become a recognized recording artist? Do you want to build and leverage your “brand” as a performer to start a label or other entrepreneurial ventures? If you’re chiefly into performing on stage or in the studio beyond producing or writing then you may be a performer entrepreneur.

Some famous Performer Entrepreneurs - artists who are also involved entrepreneurially in the business of music - include: SuperEgo founder, Aimee Mann; Krucial Keys Enterprises co-founder, Alicia Keys; Righteous Babe founder, Ani DiFranco; Maverick Records founder, Madonna; LaFace Records co-founder, Babyface; Parkwood Entertainment founder, Beyonce Knowles; Luaka Bop founder, David Byrne; Paisley Park founder, Prince; StarTrak Entertainment founder, Pharrell Williams; Roc-a-Fella Records and RocNation founder, Jay-Z.


Producer Entrepreneur

Do you want to become a renowned producer or DJ who chiefly works “behind the glass” in the recording studio? Do you want to not only produce music, but also launch your own production company, record label or other music venture? If you’re chiefly into producing songs or beats beyond writing or performing them, then you may be a producer entrepreneur.

Examples of famous Producer Entrepreneurs: Chairman of Verve Music Group, David Foster; founder of Aftermath Records and Beats Electronics, Dr. Dre; Qwest Records and Vibe Media founder, Quincy Jones; Sugarhill Records founder, Sylvia Robinson; Def Jam co-founder, Rick Rubin; LaFace Records co-founder and Epic Records president, L.A. Reid; Mosley Music Group founder, Timbaland; Mad Decent founder, Diplo.


Social Entrepreneur

Are you interested in one day launching a music business venture that has a social or philanthropic mission, or seek to use music to call attention to an existing social issue, or that aims to bring about transformative change affecting communities and groups of people? If so, you may be an aspiring Social Entrepreneur.

Examples of renowned Social Entrepreneurs: Lauren Sullivan and Adam Gardner, founders of Reverb; John Carlin and Leigh Blake, founders of the Red Hot Project; Russell Simmons, founder of Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation; Daniel Glass and Bob Caviano, the founders of Lifebeat; and artists like Bob Geldof, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Bono, Jack Johnson, and Peter Gabriel all leveraged their artistic success to emerge as Social Entrepreneurs.


Songwriter Entrepreneur

Do you dream of becoming a renowned songwriter who creates a catalog of songs and finds creative ways to publish and license those songs (in movies, TV or across media)? If you’re chiefly into writing or publishing songs beyond producing or performing them, you may be an aspiring Songwriter Entrepreneur

Examples of famous Songwriter Entrepreneurs: Arthouse Entertainment founder, Kara DioGuardi; RealSongs publishing company founder, Diane Warren; Mighty Three/Philadelphia International founders, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff; Spirit Music Group founder, Mark Freid; SonyATV Co-President, Jody Gerson; Kobalt Music Group founder, Willard Ahdritz. Prior to launching their recording careers, artists like Lady Gaga and Jessie J started as songwriters with publishing deals.


Technology Entrepreneur


Do you think you have the skills to become a technology visionary who starts and launches a music venture for the internet, mobile or any other form of emergent media? If so, you may be an aspiring Technology Entrepreneur, someone who leverages technology to develop innovative, new ways to create, produce, consume, market, broadcast, promote, or distribute music.

Examples of famous Technology Entrepreneurs: founder of Spotify, Daniel Ek; founder of Pandora, Tim Westergren; StageIt founder and CEO, Evan Lowenstein; Section 101 founder and CEO, Liz Leahy; founder of Songify and CEO of app development company Khu.sh, Prerna Gupta; founder of Soundcloud, Alexander Ljung; co-founder of Beats Electronics, Dr. Dre.