Live Nation Exec Brandon Pankey: Positivity in the Music Industry

Salim ALi
May 9, 2017
Brandon Pankey and student moderator
Brandon Pankey, vice president of Business Development and Operations at Live Nation, and Berklee student moderator Cierra Johnson discuss Pankey's experiences in the entertainment industry.
Image by Salim ALi

Brandon Pankey, the vice president of business development and operations at Live Nation who's worked with T.I., Drake, the Roots, and Jill Scott, is a young agent of positivity in the entertainment industry. He's served as associate producer for BET channel Centric’s Philly Fourth of July Jam television special and is one of the brains behind the annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, a hometown event near to his heart.

Alongside his career in the entertainment industry, Pankey created an iOS app, TourStar, that offers an in-depth virtual experience of what it's like to go from burgeoning artist to a star who plays for sold-out stadiums, and he runs multiple after-school programs in which he teaches youth about entrepreneurship in the entertainment industry.

Berklee music business student Cierra Johnson and Berklee's Student Government Association, in collaboration with author and social entrepreneur Sakina Ibrahim, brought Pankey to Berklee to talk about his music business journey and the benefits of acquiring a strong “behind the scenes” acumen.

Johnson advised her follow students to take advantage of these sorts of opportunities at Berklee, while Pankey spoke to the eager students about passion and the rewards of hard work, responding to a number of questions with tips for success. The following is an edited and abridged selection of his advice.

On careers:

"My advice for anyone who wants to work in the business, whether it’s touring, marketing, music publishing, through internships, shadowing, or mentoring, paid or free: really understand the business behind what you do, because, ultimately, you are a business. You are a brand. You are the CEO."

On hard work:

"Be great at what you do. Work like an intern. What does it take to do your job well?"

On success:

"I'm not where I want to be, even though some people will perceive, 'You're very successful.' Success is a state of mind, and there's a lot that I haven't done. Like, I'm not curing world hunger."

On education:

"It's important for someone like myself who has been around an environment that has nurtured and cultivated learning and education to help some of the younger generation so they can understand education is the key to advancing and becoming better themselves."