Rethink Music Announces Schedule and Speakers

Nick Balkin
January 25, 2011

Rethink Music today announced the full schedule and over 50 confirmed speakers for its inaugural conference to be held in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, April 25–27, 2011. The conference, Rethink Music: Creativity, Commerce and Policy in the 21st Century, is presented by Berklee and MIDEM in association with Harvard University's Berkman Center and Business School, and will provide a forum for high-level deliberation among creators, industry experts, and academics about the future of the music industry.

The symposium will include a fireside chat with Lyor Cohen, vice chairman of Warner Music Group and chairman and CEO, recorded music, Americas and UK. Cohen is responsible for all aspects of WMG's United States, United Kingdom, Latin American, and Canadian recorded-music operations, including the Atlantic Records Group and Warner Bros. Records labels; WEA Corp., the company's sales, marketing, and retail distribution company; and Rhino Entertainment, WMG's catalog-marketing division. Cohen was responsible for restructuring WMG's Recorded Music division in 2004 and for leading the company's transition from a physical to a digital music company. Known for developing and guiding the careers of many early pioneers of rap music, including LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, and the Beastie Boys, Cohen is widely credited with expanding Island Def Jam during his tenure there to a wide range of musical genres. These top artists include Ryan Adams, Ashanti, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Elvis Costello, Melissa Etheridge, Everlast, Hoobastank, Nickelback, Slayer, Slipknot, Sum 41, and Shania Twain. 

Other notable speakers include: 

  • Cary Sherman, president, RIAA
  • Joe Kennedy, president and CEO, Pandora
  • Mark Piibe, executive vice president, Digital Business Development, EMI
  • Tom Rubin, chief counsel for intellectual property strategy, Microsoft
  • Don Gorder, chair, music business/management, Berklee 
  • Dave Kusek, VP,
  • Lawrence Lessig, professor of law, Harvard Law School
  • Jon Platt, president of creative, EMI North America
  • Amanda Marks, EVP/general manager, Universal Music Distribution
  • Zahavah Levine, director of content partnerships, Android
  • Amanda Palmer, artist
  • Bill Whelan, composer, Riverdance
  • Michael McDonald, founder, Mick Management
  • Richard Gottehrer, founder and chief creative officer, the Orchard
  • Steve Schnur, worldwide executive/music, Electronic Arts
  • Rio D. Caraeff, president and CEO, Vevo

Additional speakers include executives and industry experts from Sony Music, Island Def Jam, Topspin, Nimbit, MOG, Sonicbids, the Echo Nest, Harry Fox Agency, Berklee, MIT, and more. View a full list of speakers and their bios at

Programming will cover a wide range of topics, including licensing, the current state and future of copyright, "cloud" music services, financing creativity, DIY and ancillary revenue streams, and alternative compensation schemes. At one forum, six entrepreneurs will present their concepts in 10-minute intervals. Registered delegates will be treated to private live entertainment at Harvard on April 25 and at Berklee on April 26. The conference concludes with the award presentation for the winners of the $50,000 business model competition and the policy proposal paper competition. View the full schedule at

Rethink Music, presented by Berklee and MIDEM in association with Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Harvard Business School, will focus on economic and policy concerns that dictate the viability of creative industries. The event will bring in creators and stakeholders from across the spectrum about the future of creative works, their distribution, and the laws that regulate them. The event is a solutions-based symposium, focusing on law, economics, and emerging business models together; extensively involving creators; soliciting input from both within and outside of traditional music companies and organizations; and inviting submission of policy proposals and business models.

To register online, visit