Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Johnson (MAM ’09)

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Johnson (MAM ’09)

Ryan Johnson (MAM ’09) is a Columbia alumnus currently living the dream. He chose the Master of Arts Management degree at Columbia because he wanted to learn more about the business of the music industry. His degree and his experience through the program, helped Ryan land jobs after graduation at both Universal Publishing and Warner/Chappell Production Music. He is currently the Associate Director of Music Licensing at Sony Legacy. We had a chance to catch up with Ryan and found out why the Business program at Columbia was so valuable to him and his career

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I currently live in New York City and I’m originally from North Carolina. I enjoy music, film, television, and sports.

What degree did you earn from Columbia? When did you graduate?

MAM – Masters in Arts and Entertainment Management. I graduated in 2009.

What is your current job? How did you get there?

Synchronization Licensing at Sony Legacy. Previously I worked in the “sync” licensing departments at Universal Publishing and at Warner/Chappell Production Music.

How did the Business program at Columbia prepare you in your career?

It gave me an understanding of the ever-changing landscape of copyrights and intellectual property within the digital marketplace.

What was your most valuable Columbia experience?

It would have to be my experiences I gained through internships. In particular, my internship during the Study in LA program where I studied music supervision and sync licensing. In addition, my internship at Aware Records/A-Squared Management in Evanston was a very important part of my professional development and networking.

 Is there any particular professors that made a significant impact on you? How?
While he wasn’t a professor of mine, my supervisor while interning at Aware Records, Mark Cunningham, became a personal friend and mentor to me both professionally and personally. I learned and continue to learn so much from him.
Do you have any advice for current students that would like to pursue a career in music business?
Contrary to what you may hear a lot, there are plenty of very fulfilling jobs and careers within the music business. Stay caught up with current music business news and read the trades. Networking and growing your contact list is vital, even if it’s merely writing a quick email to stay in touch with former classmates, interns or colleagues. However, the most important thing is to stay positive, work hard and be nice to people.

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