Point Park Students Mix Business & Music through New Record Label
It’s no secret that the music production industry can be difficult to break into initially. That’s why Point Park University now offers students a channel to solid hands-on experience through their new record label, Pioneer Records. Pioneer Records is designed to give students a feel for the business side of launching a record, while chosen musicians pitch original tracks as signed artists.
Nineteen-year-old Hannah Jenkins is the first artist on the label. Late last year, Jenkins submitted three original songs to Pioneer Records’ open call for artists. The judges were awed by her sweet voice, raw acoustic sound, and ability to tell a story through song, similar to today’s pop artists like Ed Sheeran and Sara Bareilles. After beating out two other finalists, Jenkins was told that come April, Pioneer Records will release 300 copies of her new EP on CD and throw an outdoor release performance on campus.
Pioneer Records isn’t just about the artist. Highly focused on the business end, it draws students from the Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management (SAEM) program and the School of Business to develop the CD, secure the intellectual property protection, develop a marketing campaign for the artist, execute a CD release/MP3 launch party, and deliver a three-song EP to the artist or group. Everyone works together for the bigger picture: in law classes, sports agent and attorney, Steve Tanzilli, teaches students how to draw up the contract, while David Rowell’s marketing class creates buzz for Jenkins on social media platforms.
It’s a project for students who wish to mix music and business in multiple ways. An associate professor in the SAEM program, Ed Traversi has long been a concert promoter in Pittsburgh and wanted students to get more hands-on experience with the recording side. The idea for the label sprung from student enthusiasm in his popular class “Business and live entertainment,” which features visits to Stage AE.
The recording studio will be housed at Red Caiman Studios, nestled in Uptown. Point Park instructor and owner and engineer master of Red Caiman, Jesse Naus, has been helping Hannah expand her image by putting together a band to accompany her singing and guitar. Red Caiman also offers mixing, mastering, graphic and web design, and CD manufacturing, all on state-of-the-art equipment with professional engineers, producers, and musicians. Students are able to see the pain-staking process that goes behind a three-minute song, which can take five to 15 hours to record. And that doesn’t even speak to the amount of work and dedication that comes after recording.
Every year, Pioneer Records will launch a new featured artist, and hopefully one day it will be open to the Pittsburgh community as a whole. Not to mention, being the first University in the Pittsburgh area with its own label, Point Park is increasingly more attractive to prospective students. Hannah Jenkins, who happens to be an SAEM student, is the first one to see where this new project will take her musical career. Even if she doesn’t make it big, she is excited to apply her hands-on experience to the music industry in any way possible, most likely in music marketing. As Point Park students have come to find, helping others achieve their dreams is equally rewarding.
The release performance party is April 17 in conjunction with Point Park’s spring fling event at Village Park on campus. Jenkins’ EP will be on sale and her performance time is TBD. Stay tuned for more details!