Digital Notes: UCLA's 'Future of Digital Music Delivery'; Berklee's Online Degrees; CreativeLive's Biz Model

Berklee to Award Online Degree Program
The Internet has unbundled the music business. Now, it's also unbundling music education. The Berklee School of Music, which pioneered online courses a dozen ago, began taking applications on Monday for its first online degree program. The private, non-profit school plans to accept 300 students for its 2014 academic year, beginning next fall. Its program will award two undergraduate degrees -- in music production and music business.

As with albums, digital distribution of education has meant more flexibility and lower prices. Students can earn up to 30 "prior learning" credits, from professional work experience, for example, applying them towards their 120-credit degree. In addition, Berklee's annual tuition, at $16,500, is about 60% less than the $36,514 charged by its brick-and-mortar school. That doesn't include room and board in the tony Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, where Berklee's main campus is located.

"Berklee has learned a lesson from our front row seat observing the music industry, namely, lead the change or be a victim of it," Berklee president Roger Brown said in a statement. "With an online degree, we can expand access to the powerful tools of contemporary music making to many more students."

Interested? Apply here, online of course.

UCLA Launches Series on Innovation in the Digital Age
The University of California at Los Angeles next week will kick off its first panel on in a series entitled "Innovation in the Digital Age." The music industry, which was among the first to feel the disruptive heat of innovation in the late 1990s, will be the inaugural topic at an Oct. 15 panel on "The Future of Digital Music Delivery."

The panel is expected to tackle the questions of how fans will listen to music five years from now, how the industry can adapt to those behaviors and what policymakers can do to balance the needs of innovation and artists. Speakers include Pandora's general counsel Chris Harrison, music rights expert David Oxenford and Jeff Price, co-founder of TuneCore and chief executive of Audiam.

Other topics in the series, held throughout the academic year, include Content and Licensing, the Future of News, the Cloud, Digital Literacy and Digitally Powered Public Services.

Disclosure: This writer is a moderator for the music panel. 

CreativeLIVE Dives Into Music Learning
CreativeLive, an online learning site, has dived into the world of music, starting with a trio of audio courses including an introduction to music business from Steve Rennie, an in-depth tutorial on Ableton Live and a course on playing digital drums.

Unlike Berklee's program, CreativeLIVE does not offer degrees, but instead focuses on people who just want to acquire skills, said Mika Salmi, the company's chief executive. Founded in 2010 as a series of photography classes, CreativeLIVE plans to expand its scope of subjects to include music, as well as business and "lifestyle" classes.

Live broadcasts are free to watch, but access to the back catalog requires a fee. Courses cost anywhere from $29 to $149, with an average cost of $90. CreativeLIVE has more than 400 classes in its catalog, ranging from launching an online business to video and motion graphics, with three to five new classes added each week, said Salmi, who founded Atom Films and sold it in 2006 for $200 million to Viacom, where he became president of Global Digital Media. He joined CreativeLIVE earlier this year to grow the small but profitable company.

"Our instructors make about $10,000 per class," Salmi said in an interview with Billboard. "Some make over $100,000 a class in revenue share. But they generally don’t do it for the money. They tend to do it out of a genuine desire to teach their craft."

The three-year-old San Francisco start-up has raised more than $8 million from Greylock Partners, Creative Artists Agency, William Morris Endeavor and Google Ventures.