Russell Simmons & Steve Rifkind Team Up To Launch All Def Music

Here’s the facts.  3 BIG names attached.

steverifkindBrian-Robbins-photo-18243-Russell Simmons_09-11-2010

Steve Rifkind (Founder of Loud Records  and SRC

Russell Simmons (Founder of Def Jam)

Brian Robbins (veteran film and TV producer)

“How [Russell] built Def Jam and how I built Loud was through the streets and through grass-roots marketing,” said Rifkind according to “Cut to 20 years later, we’re applying this same formula, this same blueprint, using YouTube as our street team, using YouTube as our A&R source, using YouTube as our branding machine.”

First artists on the new label are Asher Roth(who will be developing his own TV show?!) and Youtube rapper/actor/comedian Spoken Reasons (star of hit comedy The Heat).


Grammy Winning Producer Walter Afanasieff : The Music Biz is “De-volving”

Good morning Wiz Kids!  

Today we’re sharing quotes from an interview (thanks to Hypebot and Jessica Blankenship, a writer and media manager at Muzooka (,@muzookawith Walter Afantasieff, most well known for producing #1 hits with Mariah Carey and Celine Dion.  The basic premise is that the music business is devolving and shows like The Voice and American Idol are washing away musical talent in favor of good looks and a good story.


Here are some key quotes from his interview.

Music industry people do not take chances anymore. They default daily to whatever is the flavor of the month as determined by the media, and the social media machine.

We are less innovative, have less balls, are less willing to take chances, less willing to sign artists who are not known. That’s the biggest problem, and that’s why I say the music industry did not evolve, it devolved.

Adele, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire – these were accidents. They set a different tone for a minute. They reminded everyone that not all music is this conglomerate media bullshit. That’s what I believe in. All of these things keep dragging us along. Along the way, we must all have enough of a commitment to our craft. We can’t be afraid to pursue greatness. Because the reality is that mediocrity is celebrated.


What do you think about Mr. Afanasieff’s ideas?  Is the music business really devolving?  Is there hope for the future? Continue reading

Wu-Tang’s GZA Teaches Kids Science With Least-Lame Classroom Rap Ever


Via Slate

As part of a program created by Columbia professor Christopher Emdin, 10 New York City high school classes have been writing raps as a way to learn about science. The program is calledScience Genius, and it sounds like the sort of patronizing pop-culture hijack kids hate more than anything. But when Wu-Tang’s GZA drops by a Bronx classroom to discuss the importance of scientific inquiry, you can see the actual moment when the students realize the program is legit.

Overheard at New Music Seminar (Via Hypebot)


Courtesy of Hypebot

The festivities got under way with a part.convert on Sunday night, and since then it’s been a constatnt stream of keynotes, panels and seminars.  Here are some of the most quatable quotes so far:

  • Matt Harmon of Beggars Group: “An indie label looks for artists because they have real interest in music.”
  • @bryancalhoun: “If you dont geo-target & personalize your lists, then you aren’t maximizing your direct to fan. You are just spamming via @sarahmary
  • Bandzoogle CEO @DavidDufresne: “Musicians need mobile-friendly websites—not apps. “Email is the ultimate app.”
  • @AudiophiliacMan: “If you really love the band you should BUY the album and if you buy the album it should be the best quality”
  •  Kenny Gates @piasrecordings: “Streaming is replacing piracy.”
  • Paul Campbell, CEO, #AmazingRadio: “We pay artists 100 x more than streaming for in-store performances.” (via @MosesAvalon) and “What we’re really interested in is having people lean forward while they are leaning back.”
  • “”only 30 mil people in the US who pay for music on iTunes, only 100 mil in the world”  via @mostdefinitemax


An Interview with New Music Seminar Founder Tom Silverman on Digital Music & The Long Tail

New Music Seminar: Music Subscription Companies Talk Differentiation in a Crowded Field

Virgin EVP Ron Fair & New Music Seminar To Choose Top 6 A&R “Young Guns”


MBWK Featured on Hypebot and MusicThinkThank

We at MBWK would like to send a big SHOUT OUT! and a very special Thank You to HypeBot and MusicThinkTank for featuring the article Why Most Indie Music Groups and Labels Fail (Part 1) . All of us at MBWK are humbled by the response we’ve gotten since the article was featured.  2013 is off to a great start with much more in store in the very near future!ImageImage

Happy New Year from MBWK, Future Plans, and Closing thoughts

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM MBWK!I want to thank everyone that has visited the site in 2012 and anyone in the future who reads this for making this site what it is.   2013 will many new projects from the MusicBizWizKids family and new exclusive content…  We have very big plans to turn this site into THE resource for young people interested in a career in the Music Biz!  We will be announcing these additions, changes, and new projects in the coming weeks so STAY TUNED!

Until next time,

Share Knowledge. Spread Love. Make Music.

Everything You Need to Forget About the Music Industry (via


Rick Goetz, of MusicThinkTank and MusicianCoaching, writes a truly inspired and informative article that I had to share with my fellow Wiz Kids!  In the article, he talks about the misconception about what it truly takes to be successful (perpetuated by media like “Behind The Music.”  In short, it takes grit (patience, persistence), solid business knowledge, marketing your personal brand, setting goals, building a community, and networking

So Without Further ado here is a link Mr. Goetz’s article.

For more about the author, Mr. Goetz, go to