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Aimée Jagou doesn’t graduate until July 2015, but she already has a foot firmly in the future. While she completes her master’s degree in Berklee’s Global Entertainment and Music Business program at the college’s Valencia, Spain campus, she’s also getting her sound design business up and running. Her passion for electronic music, fashion, and art is what sparked the idea that turned into AM Agency, which she cofounded with a friend and which provides specialized music scores for art exhibitions and fashion shows.
As she finishes her studies in Valencia, Jagou is splitting her focus between music business courses and courses in music production, technology, and innovation. Jagou says, “I didn’t know if I could produce, and so when I took this class on electronic music production, I wanted to produce something good, and it was really challenging. I would have never had this chance if I hadn’t come to Berklee because I would have figured it’s too complicated for me, or I’m more on the business end.” For Jagou, the chance to study these two aspects of the music industry together has been a key benefit of the program.
Q. Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in Berklee’s Global Entertainment and Music Business program at the Valencia campus?
A. I have a bachelor’s degree from HEC Montréal in Montréal, Canada; it’s a good business school. For my last year, I was already interested in the music industry and in entrepreneurship, so I chose to specialize in entrepreneurship and create a [hypothetical] record label. So I got more and more into the music industry, and I tried to have a lot of [work] experience, to be sure that it was what I liked. I worked for two months for a music festival in Montréal, and I also organized some parties in Montréal with two friends; we promoted electronic music parties. But the key experience was in Germany. I worked for a record label for six months and I was in charge of the press and promotion and was the assistant of a big DJ’s manager, so I really discovered all the music industry within this experience, and I really liked it. So after my bachelor’s, I wanted a master’s to specialize in music business because I wanted to know more before I started working.
Q. What opportunities did you have, being in Valencia, that you may not have had otherwise?
A. In my program almost every week, we meet people from the music industry. I’ve met some really important people like [producer] Rob Dickins and [music industry executive] Scott Cohen, and other very interesting people, so it has really been a good opportunity. Also, it has improved my network. For instance, I’m attending MIDEM, the big conference for the music industry in Cannes, France, to improve my networking skills. People here are great, too; I know that, after graduation, we will keep in touch.
Q. What is your plan for your business, AM Agency, which is also serving as your culminating experience for your master’s degree?
A. I have already cofounded a sound design agency for the fashion and arts. My partner is in fashion school in Paris, and she’s also graduating with a master’s degree in the business of fashion. We’re already working with a fashion brand based in Paris and New York, and we work for a museum. It’s quite specialized because it’s really creating music for fashion sectors and art sectors. We are starting slow, so I’m also currently looking for a job. I really like fashion and art, and to combine music with these two other fields is interesting.
Q. What kind of work does your agency do?
A. If a client really wants a new composition, we can ask an artist to create a composition for them, or else we do music selection. For instance, this French brand we’re working with just opened their first shop in Paris, and we selected all the music for the store. They are really minimalist, and they have a strong image—very creative—so we had to think about the music that fits in the environment they wanted to keep. It’s really dependant on their criteria, what they are looking for, and their artistic vision.
Q. What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learned at Berklee?
A. You need to adapt to everybody and to work with everybody. What I really love at Berklee is that I’m surrounded by people from all over the world. We have different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and everything, but we understand each other and we respect each other. I never felt like I was rejected or they didn’t understand me. And I am one of the only French students, but I didn’t feel at all ill at ease, and this is super important, I think, and it helps you also in the working world.
Q. Would you advise prospective students to come to Berklee’s Valencia campus for their master’s programs?
A. I have a very good friend who I was organizing those parties with in Montreal, and I told him, ‘If you are passionate about music and music industry work and you absolutely must work in the music industry, just come to Berklee because it will give you more key skills and more confidence after to be on the market. And you can network. It’s the perfect program.’ My experience was intense, unique, and I don’t regret it at all.