April 9, 2012

What Next?: Record Label

These students started their own label.

Gary: There is a new record label about to do business in Music City, USA.

A record label is the company that is in charge of everything involved in recording and then selling a band or musician’s music. But this Nashville, Tennessee based record label is a little different: high school students are going to run the entire operation.

For some students at the Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, making music is their life’s dream.

“Something catchy, but something original.”

Gary: Brandon Holt and Marquise Knowles, a senior and a junior, say for them, music is a little bit like having a diary.

“We don’t keep diaries, but if I’m mad, you are going to get a mad track. If I am excited, you will get an exciting track. Yeah, it’s a diary.”

Gary: Not long ago, Nashville’s mayor, Karl Dean, came to their school’s lobby to announce that as part of his Music Makes Us initiative, Pearl-Cohn would be the first school to have a student-run record label.

“It makes you speechless, to be real. It’s like, the thing I want to do most in life is here.”

Gary: This unique music program is scheduled to get underway next school year. And the company, Warner Music Nashville, has agreed to help the students manage the record label. But the label will be entirely student run.

“It’s not only going to be exciting for the students, but I think our people will learn a lot because, frankly, we learn more from kids than anyone else in our business.”

Gary: And the students won’t just be in charge. They will also be responsible for recruiting, signing, writing for, and marketing talent.

“The students running the record label, they’re going to get a firsthand look at why music should not be free on the internet.”

Gary: Brandon says having this unique opportunity gives the students at Pearl-Cohn a chance to change what some people may assume about young teens.

“This is what can I do and I’m not getting into trouble. I’m not behind bars, I’m behind a desk. I’m not selling drugs, I’m selling music.”

Gary: The student record label is just part of it. The school is also offering classes in songwriting and media publishing and will get an expanded audio engineering lab as well.

Any money generated by the record label goes to Music Makes Us, a Nashville music council that invests in music education.


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