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Columbia College Chicago
Ryan Johnson
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Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson - Business & Entrepreneurship Alumnus - Music Business

Ryan Johnson, a North Carolina native, received his masters in Business & Entrepreneurship with a focus in Music Business from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. During his time at Columbia College, he interned at Aware Records (www.awaremusic.com) and was selected for the prestigious Study in LA program where he received tutelage in music publishing and supervision under Matt Kierscht of Quiet on the Set Music Supervision and producer, composer and arranger Frankie Blue of My JuJu Music. Later, he interned for Nettwerk Music Group’s Film/TV Department while in Nashville, TN. Ryan claims that he has “a love affair for recorded music” and this led him to “pursue a career in music supervision when it became a way for a broader audience to discover new talent and amazing songs they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.” His wide ranging musical preferences -- Stevie Wonder, N.E.R.D, Queens of the Stone Age, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, Kanye West and Steely Dan — led him to Universal Music Publishing. Ryan currently works in the Film/TV Department for Universal Music Publishing focusing on music for advertising under Tom Eaton and Brain Lambert.

How did your experience in Columbia’s Business & Entrepreneurship department prepare you for your career?
Columbia afforded me an opportunity to focus the scope of my career path through networking opportunities, challenging course work, and real-life, real time industry experiences. I was able to meet dozens of wonderful people who are still my friends and colleagues to this day.  

Any advice for current students?
My advice to current students is never stop wanting to learn. Never stop taking advice from people. Study your craft and be a student of whatever avenue you want to pursue. Stay positive even when the chips are stacked against you, and most importantly, never stop dreaming and using your imagination.

What are some of Columbia’s strengths?
The Study in LA program was one of the more integral parts of me getting where I am today. The real life experiences and industry-related course work helped me understand the ever changing landscape of copyrights and intellectual property by using hands on methods I wouldn’t have received otherwise. Another one of Columbia’s strengths is the faculty and staff who are truly dedicated to the well-being and success of their students. They were (are) always there to help and guide the students who wanted to be helped and guided. They were all very knowledgeable about what they were teaching, but most of all, they were good people.