"Media Assassin" Harry Allen Unveils Affordable, Hands-on Hip-Hop Music Biz Course: GrindXDesign

Posted by Billyjam, September 5, 2012 07:48pm | Post a Comment
Hip-hop scholar / activist Harry Allen - the man perhaps best known as the "Media Assassin," recently launched a unique educational series on the business of hip-hop: a series of conference call workshops designed for people who are trying to break into hip-hop. The course offers at an affordable price a chance to talk one on one with an array of seasoned hip-hop artists, producers, and executives. The series is called GrindXDesign which means "grind by design" and it launched last Wednesday, August 29th. Earlier this evening (Sept 5th) Allen hosted  the second of the intensive eight weekly, live, one-hour, conference calls that run each Wednesday evening (8pm EST, 5pm PST) through October 17th. Each week features  Allen interviewing guests for 15 to 20 minutes on music publishing, touring, production, publicity, and other areas of hip-hop business for 15-20 minutes. Then he opens it up to questions from callers for 30 minutes. The conference call course is billed as "aimed at people in hip-hop who are taking their music careers into their own hands. They're doing this, not just by working hard, but by also working smart."

Last week's opening session featured none other than DJ Premier on the conference call along with Young Guru (engineer for Jay-Z). Other panelists of the 8 week course include Chuck D, Questlove, DJ Drama, Wendy Day (Rap Coalition), Jamie Purpora, Dan Booth, Arthur Wylie, XXL's Vanessa L. Satten, and Kim Osorio from The Source. Considering that so many music biz courses charge a lot the cost of this phonier course is quite affordable working out at only $12 a session: not bad to talk to Premier or Chuck D directly.

I caught up with Harry Allen today who told me that three things inspired the creation of GrindXDesign. "Decades of watching people enter the music industry with barely a clue as to how it works; the hardness and flintiness of the industry, itself, as it seeks to stick its hand into every aspect of an artist's work and thinking; and by my friend, Lena West, who has been working via this tele-class medium for years as a social media strategist." I asked Harry Allen some additional questions about his course and about the hip-hop music business in general.

Amoeblog: To be successful from a business perspective in hip-hop is it essential to know & understand the history of hip-hop as a culture and music or does it make no difference?

Harry Allen: It is important to know—and correctly apply—the history of everything, to be successful in anything. Complete and correct knowledge about how everything works together, and affects everything else, is what lies beyond the boundaries of human understanding. It is, when you think about it, what we are always trying to better know.

Amoeblog:  When the dust settles with this new, still evolving music business model what will it look like in say five years from now? IE will  copyright take center stage and will one large corporation control
copyright and enforce it with constant patrolling of online outlets for illegal use?
Harry Allen: I think that it will be a lot more secure to buy and sell online, but that fear of terrorism will drive this, not fear of bootlegging.

Amoeblog: What is the best thing about the current social networking era from a new artist's perspective?

Harry Allen: The best thing is that, if you're smart, for very little money, you can reach an enormous number of powerful people, from a company you've formed; one that solely exists on a flash drive.

Amoeblog: In this hands-on DIY age do artists still need managers?

Harry Allen: They need managers if they can't objectively act on their own behalves. Most artists are far too temperamental to run defense and offense for themselves, simultaneously.

Amoeblog: How about the role of record labels - do artists at every level not need them anymore?

Harry Allen: They don't, except as a "bank" and "network hub"; a place from which they get certain critical start-up funds, and certain levels of connectivity. The question artists have to ask themselves, though, is if such a loan—one where the interest equals the value of your master—is worth having, or if the costs are too high.

Amoeblog: If folks miss out on your course this time - will there be future ones to catch?

Harry Allen: GrindXDesign is a movement of independently minded, thoughtful people. What I'm doing, formally, is spreading the ideas I've been developing as a person and a professional. I'm developing activities that give those viewpoints a shape, and a practical application. Not only are there more courses on the way, but more in store than that. Join us.

Registration, or email The cost of the 8 week course is $97. Every module is recorded so participants can download and listen to the discussions from week one onwards. More info from Harry Allen  More general info on  Follow Harry Allen on Twitter where the GrindXDesign  hashtag is *#gXd*. Additional questions email:

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