Over the next three months, student teams from the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program at Kennesaw State, working with Sony Music Nashville and PlayPro Media, a social media start-up that helps artists build fan bases, will be promoting and marketing artists of various music genres. The experience will give the KSU students a chance to learn first-hand the inner workings of the music industry, earning class credit along the way.
“This is a wonderful learning lab for our students,” said Keith Perissi, associate director of the program. “This project will give students hands-on experience in the music and entertainment industry, working with heavyweights such as Sony. They will be doing the job that agents, managers and promoters do. This is about as real as it gets.”
Week after week, the students will be producing video clips, booking the acts at local venues, pitching local and national media, and using social media to launch campaigns. Throughout, they will meet with the artists and post weekly blogs chronicling their progress. On April 11, the 10 artists will perform at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta at an industry mixer, with the top act earning a chance to play for top executives at Sony Music Nashville.
“This is a win-win situation for everybody involved,” said Brad Todd, an entertainment industry executive who founded PlayPro Media. “The artists are getting a consulting team with professionals who have years of experience in the industry.”
Todd explained that this project is the antithesis of the TV singing competition model, as each artist that is selected will not be asked to make any commitment or sign a contract. Sony Music Nashville and PlayPro Media are offering three months of consulting in the areas of production, marketing, booking and management at no cost to the artists.
“We want to see if the synergy is there between the artists and PlayPro before any long-term commitments are discussed,” Todd said. “While we want to work with artists at all stages of their career, we won’t use the fast-track method for the artists that are not ready.”
It all starts with a great song, Todd said, but local artists typically do not have the resources to launch their music careers and get noticed by the big labels. The consulting provided by Sony Music Nashville and PlayPro Media will give them this opportunity. Todd and Duane Hobson, an A&R rep with Sony Music Nashville, are working closely with the students to promote the artists.
“We are doing old school A&R (Artist & Repertoire) with new resources,” Hobson said. “It’s not about trying to reinvent the wheel. We are trying to find local artists using new ways to discover music. We want to get their music heard.”
PlayPro Media has partnered with Education Realty Trust, a national developer and operator of collegiate housing, to help market the artists to local college students living in these facilities. The goal is to get students to sign on as members on PlayPro Media so they can familiarize themselves with the artists and vote for their favorite.
Sony Music Nashville and PlayPro Media selected the 10 artists the students are working with last fall through the A&R Southern Talent Expo, which attracted 62 artists.
The 10 artists that the KSU students are promoting are: Lauren St. Jane & The Dead Westerns; Kurt Thomas; The Whiskey Gentry; Andy Griffen; Mr. Lee; The Armory; A-N-T; Leslie Mack; Amy Gerhartz; and Elgin Nation.
To follow the students’ work with the artists, please go to http://www.facebook.com/KSUMEBUS