Berklee Valencia’s Paul Pacifico Named 2022 Billboard International Power Player

Paul Pacifico

Berklee Valencia Associate Professor Paul Pacifico has landed on Billboard’s International Power Players list thanks to his dedication to independent music industry advocacy.

The music news outlet recognized Pacifico for his work as CEO of the Association of Independent Music (AIM) in spearheading the launch of the Music Climate Pact in December 2021. The program serves as a resource for independent and major music groups to collaboratively reduce the industry’s negative effects on the environment.

Through the Music Climate Pact, 14 major industry players, including Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group, have agreed to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and drive worldwide action on the climate crisis.

“We're a sector that's known for our lack of collaboration, but this was really an incredible experience of people who saw the benefit of coming together, saw the importance of the commitment and the urgency of the issue,” Pacifico said.

Much of Pacifico’s passion for advocacy and his knowledge of current music industry issues, including its contribution to climate change, come from his music business experience and work as associate professor of Berklee Valencia’s Artist as a Startup course.

Pacifico has worked for 30-plus years in the indie music space as a blues harmonica player in his band, Pacifico Blues, and as managing director of the company Specific Music. He has also had an extensive career as a leader in music industry associations, including in his current role at AIM and as management board member of IMPALA Independent Music Companies Association.

Meanwhile, his role in the Berklee Valencia community has allowed him to stay updated on issues relevant to rising indie music artists and provide them with resources for successful careers. Pacifico uses this knowledge to inform the development of new initiatives at AIM to support passionate artists and music labels wanting to effect societal and environmental change.

“We do that work with our members and for our members so we can then reflect back good advice and good practice,” Pacifico said, “so they can have confidence that the action they take is meaningful.”

AIM provides indie music companies with opportunities, resources, and advice on how to be more effective on global issues like climate change. The organization developed a climate action group, expanded the program to include independent and major music labels, and devised ways to collaboratively reduce their carbon emissions. 

Its initial milestone accomplishment was connecting large music businesses with the United Nations Environment Programme and small ones with the Climate Group’s Race to Zero.

AIM followed this up by collaborating with IMPALA and the environmental charity Julie’s Bicycle to provide its carbon calculator to independent music companies. This helped these companies get a baseline reading of their carbon footprint as a starting point to begin reduction.

The organization plans to continue this momentum within the next six months by signing more labels onto the Music Climate Pact and getting the carbon calculator translated into many other languages. It also seeks to use its worldwide network of sister organizations to bring more global music companies into the pact.  

Putting Well-Being and Ethics First

As CEO of AIM, managing director of Specific Music, and associate professor at Berklee Valencia, Pacifico is adamant about incorporating advocacy into his work to support students and music artists.

As a teacher and leader, Pacifico’s priority is to support mental health, well-being, and inclusivity in his teaching and leadership. He also combines his experience in music, finance, and strategy consulting to provide students and artists with a platform to build a better business.

“I try to bring the same values and the same sense of responsibility with me to do good business,” Pacifico said, “by which I mean: do business that's profitable and sustainable but also make sure that that business is in line with my values and ethics.”

At AIM, he leads with this ethical framework by helping the organization live by the mantra, “We need to make money or save money for our members every day.” AIM tries to follow through on this by establishing benefits, including an insurance discount, and major initiatives such as lobbying the government.

In February 2021, during the United Kingdom Parliament’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming, Pacifico advocated for several improvements to the independent music industry that would increase access to capital, scale, and skills, Music Ally reported.

Pacifico ultimately hopes that recognition for these types of economic, social, and environmental initiatives gives music industry professionals confidence to continue them collaboratively and long-term.

He sees his induction into Billboard’s International Power Players list as recognition of the teams who worked together with him to build the Music Climate Pact. According to Pacifico, this shows “what we can achieve working together on positive initiatives.”


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