Top 5 Takeaways from Berklee’s 20th Annual Zafris Lecture, Featuring Pitchfork’s Chris Kaskie


Article and photos by Lisa Occhino

[click here to view all of our Zafris Lecture photos]

One month ago, Berklee’s Music Business/Management Department brought Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork, to speak at the 20th Annual Zafris Lecture. Following an introduction by Don Gorder, Panos Panay ’94 (founder/CEO of Sonicbids) hit Chris with round after round of thought-provoking questions about Pitchfork’s journey through the years, music discovery, the current state of the industry, and his advice to aspiring musicians. has published a wonderful recap of the event, but for all you busy Groovers looking for just the highlights, here’s what we considered to be the top five takeaways from the lecture (in the form of direct quotes from Chris Kaskie):

THE EARLY DAYS: “We said, ‘We’re gonna be music fans, and let’s express that to the world.’ And that was the thesis of our business plan.”

GETTING HIRED AT PITCHFORK: “Don’t be cool, be good.”

BUYING MUSIC: “I buy vinyl because when I die, I want more than just my passwords to give to my kids.”

TODAY’S FAN/ARTIST RELATIONSHIP: “Bands, at their core, want to provide value to their fans…. Artists [and bands] are learning how to be more honest and forthright with what they’re doing.”

ADVICE TO YOUNG ARTISTS: “Start thinking about your band or art as a business, and learning about that…. It’s a less glamorous answer, but it’s an important foundation.”

Did any of this resonate with you in some way? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.