The Music Business/Management Department presents the 20th annual James G. Zafris Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series, featuring Chris Kaskie, president of Pitchfork, interviewed by Panos Panay ’94, founder/CEO of Sonicbids. A discussion about innovative strategies for building the artist-fan connection and the entrepreneurial spirit that moves the industry forward, followed by a Q&A. Chris Kaskie and Panos Panay both lead companies on the cutting edge of the new indie-centric, socially influenced music business.
Chris Kaskie is the president of Pitchfork, the award-winning online music magazine the New York Times calls "the mostprominent brand in online music journalism." With more than 4 million unique visitors each month and 500,000 visits each day, Pitchfork has one of the web’s most loyal audiences and is considered one of the world’s most popular, trusted, and influential music publications. Starting in 2004 as Pitchfork's first full-time employee, Kaskie has overseen the company's day-to-day operations, guiding its development and growth—the Pitchfork Music Festivals (Chicago and Paris) and Pitchfork.tv being just two of numerous success stories. Chicago's edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival has been hailed as “one of the best, brightest ideas in Chicago rock history.” Kaskie has also recently led the expansion of Pitchfork's coverage beyond the music world into the world of design and visual culture with Nothing Major and is continuously exploring new ways of reinventing how Pitchfork can push its content forward and reach music fans worldwide.
Panos Panay ’94 is the founder and CEO of Sonicbids, a social music marketing platform that connects bands, promoters, consumer brands, and fans. Panos is widely credited for spotting and capitalizing early on three distinct emerging trends in the music business over the last decade: the shift to a primarily online means of marketing, the emergence of an "artistic middle class,” and the shift from a record label-funded industry to a consumer brand-funded music business. Panos is the chair of Berklee's Presidential Advisory Council.