Steinhardt Village Records class turns students into music executives

Courtesy of Milton Koh
Courtesy of Milton Koh

Every time students walk into their Village Records class, they are no longer students — they are music executives trying to help a band break out into the public eye.

Village Records, a class for juniors and seniors in the Music Business Program at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development class, is designed for music business students looking for hands-on experience in the music industry. Each semester, students vote to select a band, promote it and help it break into the music industry. This semester, the class is working with Tigertown, an Australian band, and thanks to Village Records, the band is now being featured in Billboard magazine.

The class is structured like a independent music label and the students make every decision necessary to run the project. At the beginning of the semester, students choose to break into different groups, including public relations, product management and marketing.

Steinhardt junior Sarah Segner said while the music business program is very practical, this class puts a unique emphasis on being completely student-run.

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“You’re expected to have all of that knowledge,” Segner said. “And you’re expected to make intelligent business decisions, which is really different.”

So far, Segner and Steinhardt senior Grace Harris, members of the press, publicity and partnership team, have written press releases for the band.

“[We’re] making sure that how we describe their music, how we describe their dynamic, is how they want to be presented to the world,” Harris said. “So we worked a lot with their manager on fine-tuning the language of exactly how they want to be presented. Same with the publicist, figuring out, ‘how does the band want to be seen in the U.S. market?’”

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Harris and Segner have also written an article about Village Records and Tigertown for Billboard for the class. This is the first time, Village Records has established a relationship with Billboard. NYU’s press team sent pitch letters to invite reporters to the Village Records class and Billboard, intrigued by the class, contacted NYU.

Instead of sending reporters to cover the project, Billboard suggested two students from Village Records write the article for an insiders’ look on Village Records and their project.

The article was published on Billboard’s website to incorporate multimedia aspects, such as links to Tigertown’s performances. Segner and Harris will continue working with Billboard throughout the semester to document the rest of the Tigertown project.

As a part of the project with Village Records, Tigertown’s press was handled by the NYU students and were showcased with CMJ Holdings, a music event and publishing company. Tigertown also self-produced a record in Steinhardt’s James L. Dolan studio.

Clinical associate professor of music business Catherine Moore, who designed the structure of the class, said the student-run class has proved effective.

“Students [have] the opportunity to see their initiatives come to fruition,” Moore said. “And that’s also where it’s different from an internship because … by and large at an internship, you’re going to get instruction. Whereas with Village Records … all bets are off, and everything’s on the table.”

version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Oct. 24 print edition. Nicole Del Mauro is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]

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