Cameo + "Next Friday" + John Kellogg + Berklee College Of Music = Free Education

Cameo + “Next Friday” + John Kellogg + Berklee College Of Music = Free Education

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A portion of the music John Kellogg helped create was featured in the background of this hilarious scene from Ice Cube’s classic, “Next Friday.” He couldn’t get paid due to copyright law.

I went to a movie, “Next Friday.” About a quarter of the way through the movie, I heard a background track come up and it was “Rigor Mortis.” I got paid $ 100 a week, and I never signed a contract. I understood the value and certain people were getting paid, and I wasn’t one of them.

John P. Kellogg
Assistant Chair of the Music Business Department
Berklee College of Music
CollegeHipHop.com 2015


[T]hat moment is when John Kellogg came up with a mantra: “every time the music gets played, someone gets paid. But, if you are an artist, I say you should get paid and not played.”

It’s the chief philosophy driving the passion Kellogg displays when discussing “Introduction to the Music Business,” a free online course he teaches via edX.org. edX.org is an online platform created by Harvard and MIT.

The website offers free courses from institutions like Berklee, Columbia University, Notre Dame, Harvard, MIT, CalTech, Boston University and others.

Kellogg, a Cleveland, Ohio native can identify with students on a number of levels when it comes to the music business, which is why he is teaching the free, “Introduction to the Music Business” course.

John P. Kellogg is the Assistant Chair of the Music Business/Management department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA

The year was 1977 when John P. Kellogg had to make the biggest decision of his life. Should he continue as a band member with the rising R&B group Cameo, or take advantage of an opportunity to attend law school?

Thanks to aid from his father, as well as scholarships and grants, Kellogg had already attended Syracuse University and majored in Television And Film.

His penchant for performing music led him to join Cameo, a New York-based R&B group that was igniting in the mid-1970’s.

Cameo was hot at the time of Kellogg’s quandary. The group was on the chart thanks to their singles “Rigor Mortis” and “Funk Funk” from their debut album Cardiac Arrest.

Through Cameo’s early, newfound success, John Kellogg also found a passion for the music business.

John Kellogg told CollegeHipHop.com that he knew he wanted to be a lawyer after seeing an article about a young black executive named Larkin Arnold, who went to law school first, and then jumped into the music industry.

Larkin Arnold
Larkin Arnold currently sits on the Board of Trustees for Howard University

“I saw an article in JET Magazine about a young black lawyer who worked at Capital Music Group. He became one of the first black executives to be a senior vice president of a black music division,” John Kellogg said.

At the time, Kellogg was receiving a $100 weekly check as a contracted musician in Cameo. The week he decided to leave Cameo, the group was performing at New Orleans’ Superdome with Natalie Cole.

Kellogg reasoned his opportunities to fund his long-term education plans through grants and scholarships might not always be available, but he could always come back to music.

“Some of it was student loans, some was made up of grants, so I invested in that time, and it took me a number of years to pay off my law school. I empathize with students. They need to be careful how and where they are getting their education. It’s a very significant investment.”

As a lawyer, Kellogg has had a distinguished career. He has represented acts like The O’Jays, Stat Quo, G-Dep and others. He is also a former board and Hall of Fame member of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer’s Association (BESLA).

Kellogg shares the information and experience he has gained during his career through the course “Introduction to the Music Business.” edX.org started offering the course in November. It is designed to give pupils the most up-to-date information on all aspects of the entertainment business.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQY1jCbrC2k
John Kellogg was a member of Cameo when the group was blowing up with their singles “Rigor Mortis” and “Funk Funk.” Both have been sampled numerous times.

“We’re going to cover a lot of things,” Kellogg said of the course. “I go through a detailed analysis of recording agreements. The business interviews that you should set up to be able to conduct your business under, as well as a discussion of what I call the most valuable right in the music industry, the copyright.”

The course also teaches students how to analyze recording agreements, the proper way to form a corporation, and the theories surrounding copyright laws.

“The most valuable asset in the music industry is the copyright. We’re going to talk about both the sound recording copyright, as well as the copyright to the composition and how to protect that,” Kellogg said.

In addition to providing information, Kellogg and Berklee hope to make learning a gateway to other educational opportunities available for those seeking to gain a better understanding of the music business.

“Berklee recognizes the significant investment students have to make in their education, and we are trying to come up with creative ways to assist students,” John Kellogg told CollegeHipHop.com.

To enroll in Berklee’s free course and to learn how to get official certifications for completing courses on edX, click here.