A graduate of Tufts University (1988) and the Washington College of Law (1992), Andy Hurwitz’s passion for music helped pave his way through school in various capacities including: the music director for WMFU (Boston), hip-hop director at WAMU (Washington), the house DJ at Revival (Philadelphia), and as the associate producer of Black Entertainment Television's "Rap City" program.
In 1992, Hurwitz started his professional career as a music attorney in Philadelphia where he practiced for three years specializing in artist contracts, music publishing and label deals. In 1994, he accepted a position as general counsel for Fillmore Mercantile – the music/technology firm that was hired by the band Pearl Jam to challenge Ticketmaster’s monopoly and helped put the band on a 12-month tour of alternative venues.
In 1995, Hurwitz moved to New York City where he was named general manager of the Knitting Factory Record Group, a combination of four separate independent labels that combined to release over 50 records a year. In 1997, he joined Sony Music Entertainment as the director of Artist Development for Columbia Jazz, where he helped manage the careers of new artists while helping oversee the entire Miles Davis reissue series. Frustrated by Columbia's refusal to release one of his developing artists (DJ Logic), Hurwitz started Ropeadope Records as a side-project simply to put out Logic's record and with the tremendous success of that first release, Hurwitz left Columbia to work on Ropeadope full time.
Ropeadope enjoyed the last of the music business glory days and was subject to a bidding war, which resulted in the fledgling label signing a lucrative P&D deal with Atlantic Records in 2000 and became a key part of the Warner Music Group, eventually moving into their midtown Manhattan offices. While Ropeadope went on to sign and develop bands including Robert Randolph, Kid Koala, Antibalas and others, the label found a niche in the world of jazz and helped guide the careers of artists including Charlie Hunter, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Sex Mob, Christian McBride and Medeski Martin & Wood. In 2003, Ropeadope received its first Grammy nomination for the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
At the core of Ropeadope’s business plan was creating a brand that transcended music. Towards that end, the company was able to develop a highly successful line of branded clothing for itself and for other partners including Blue Note Records, Ninja Tune Records, Giant Step and others. The website also became a highly trafficked destination and was one of the first to podcast, blog and serve daily content. In 2004, Ropeadope left WEA and entered into a two-year deal with industry veteran Danny Goldberg and his Artemis Records. In 2006, Hurwitz sold his majority share of the company to a new financial partner and now remains a minority shareholder and a consultant to the label responsible for helping guide A&R, marketing and multimedia. Ropeadope has survived and thrived for over 10 years and continues to release over 25 full albums per year.
In addition to his work in the music and law businesses, Hurwitz is a children’s author who has penned nine music-themed books for Penguin Publishing and also is a founder of “Baby Loves Disco” – the national dance craze for toddlers and their parents that now operates in 24 cities across the world. The success of the latter led to the formation of Baby Loves Everything – a children’s entertainment company now in production with DVDs, CDs, books and more. New projects have also included Baby Loves Hip-Hop, Baby Loves Salsa and Baby Loves the Blues, all of which have given Hurwitz one of the most unlikely of all honors – he was recently inducted into the Dads Hall of Fame through Parents magazine in 2008 in between Brad Pitt and President Obama.
Hurwitz has also become a trusted source in the worlds of new media marketing and consults for companies ranging from the Marathon Grille restaurant group, Future Financial Insurance, Tower Investments (where Hurwitz is credited with helping launch and market the Piazza at Schmidt’s) and dozens of artists, musicians, technicians and entrepreneurs including LiveDownloads.com and LivePhish.com
Hurwitz likes to quote John Lennon in describing his present career situation: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” and while he was extremely busy making those other plans, he found himself as an adjunct professor of Music & Media at Temple University where he taught one class per semester and was the founder of the University-run record label Owl Drop Records. He was later recruited to teach at Drexel University where he ran the school’s Mad Dragon Records and taught classes ranging from copyright law to media marketing. He now is Of Faculty at the University of the Arts teaching Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology.
Hurwitz currently resides in the Borough of Narberth, just outside of Philadelphia where nothing makes him happier than spending time with his three sons and his best friend in the whole world – his wife of 10 years, Phyllis. He practices mindfulness mediation, is a dedicated follower of Bikram Yoga, and a passionate volunteer for his favorite charity – Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
Class Schedule, Spring 2014
|T||04:00PM - 05:50PM||Business of Music|
|W||04:00PM - 04:50PM||Topics: Booking Agency|
|W||09:00AM - 09:50AM||Topics: Marketing & Promo|
|TH||01:00PM - 01:50PM||Topics: Univ Record Label|
|M,TH||04:00PM - 05:20PM||Business Fund. Artist/Entrep.|