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Sandy Pearlman

avatar for Sandy Pearlman

McGill University
Sandy Pearlman/MicroBio Visiting Professor and past Schulich Distinguished Chair, McGill University. A Woodrow Wilson Fellow in the History of Ideas at Brandeis and New School Fellow in Sociology and Anthropology. Over the last few years, at McGill, Pearlman, has taught, and, often in collaboration with former Dean Don McLean of the Schulich School of McGill, created, a boatload of provocative new courses in the Music, English, Religious Studies, Law and Management Faculties. Relentless brainstormer of the ever-tightening embrace of Music by Technology and Technology by Music. Member of the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) of the Library of Congress. Producer, creator, songwriter, manager and theorist for many of the most important bands and musical trends of the last 25 years: Blue Oyster Cult, Clash, Black Sabbath, Dictators, Pavlov’s Dog, Dream Syndicate, Space Team Electra… Described by the Billboard Producer’s Directory as “the Hunter Thompson of rock, a gonzo producer of searing intellect and vast vision.” Gonzo enough to be played by Christopher Walken in Saturday Night Live’s infamous skit on the making of “The Reaper” (which Pearlman produced for Blue Oyster Cult). One of the first of the teen age Rock Critic cabal (see “Almost Famous”), he is usually credited with inventing the use of the term “Heavy Metal ” for that music, during his time as a founder, editor and writer at Crawdaddy magazine. Consultant to, and scourging critic of, overweight (but undernourished) multinational entertainment conglomerates, stressing out on declining market share and growing irrelevancy. President and Owner of the seminal American alternative label, 415 Records. A founder of EMusic.com (the first of the downloading companies, way back in 1998). A principal of Moodlogic (creator of omniscient trans-media navigation and recommendation engines for the likes of Sony and Microsoft). Framer of many of the key terms of the current public discourse concerning “the Future of Music.” Visiting Lecturer on these issues at such academic venues as Harvard, Stanford, the University of Calgary, Stony Brook, McGill, assorted Universities of California (Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Hastings College of the Law), as well as the Mill Valley Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Festival, Southbank Festival, Canadian Music Week, Montreal Pop Festival, SXSW, etc. His (now famous or notorious) proposal for the “5 Cents Solution” to the total re-architecting of the music business, rolled out as the output of his work at McGill, has remained rampant in print, radio, TV and the Internet, since first appearing in an interview he did with the Toronto Globe and Mail. At McGill, he, and his associates are currently involved in architecting an all-encompassing project for construction of a "Grand Unified Field Theory of the Future of Music", incorporating the “5 Cents Solution” and the parallel emergence of the "Paradise of Infinite Storage" and new hybrid analog-digital codecs, for music and media objects in general. In total, perhaps the most disruptive game changer yet.


Speaking Schedule




  • Band
  • Party
  • AC Select
  • SXSW Interactive Conference
  • SXSW Film Conference + Screenings
  • SXSW Music Conference
  • Venue
  • Free Stuff
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  • Level

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