Americans have grown accustomed to television series talent shows, such as “American Idol” and “Making the Band.” These programs provide immense national exposure for aspiring singers and musicians seeking stardom.
On a more modest scale, the music business program at the Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is pulling the elements of talent search, music CD recording, and artist management and promotion together into a coordinated effort that should offer practical experience to its music business majors and provide exposure to talented student musicians.
Tonight, Thursday, 2 April, 20 musical acts, including soloists and bands, will compete at a talent search event at the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based historically Black campus for the opportunity to be among the featured artists on a CD to be produced and released by Sound University Music Group. SUMG is a WSSU student-run record label. Anthony Artimisi, coordinator of the WSSU music business program, said the competition and the planned CD, are being managed by students majoring in the school’s two music business concentrations.
Students are credited with “organizing a musically diverse program that will be sure to entertain, inspire and invigorate the musical culture at WSSU,” Artimisi noted.
“The competitors are top-notch, and it will be exciting to see who will make the cut to be a featured artist on the very first SUMG album,” he added.
Among the 20 student acts performing this evening, 10 will be chosen by a panel of four anonymous judges. Performing original songs, the artists will be judged on song quality, lyrical content and academic record. All performers are required to be WSSU students, and they are performing in various musical styles, including rap, soul, classical and rock.
By next fall, WSSU music business students from the management and marketing curriculum as well as those in the music recording and technology concentration will begin recording and managing the featured artists for the CD and will be able to earn academic credit for their work. Featured artists will have press kits and other promotional efforts developed for them and will receive royalties from CD sales. In addition, funds earned from sales of the CD will be channeled to support a new music business scholarship at the university.
“This is an incredibly exciting moment in the history of the music business program at WSSU,” said Artimisi, a percussionist who relocated from Tennessee State University to Winston-Salem State in 2005 to revive and expand the music business program.
Since 2005, the management and merchandising concentration, soon to be renamed management and marketing, has grown from 11 student majors to nearly 40. The sound recording concentration, which is to be renamed music technology, attracted 13 students declaring that major this school year, which is the first year the concentration has been offered, according to Artimisi.
Enrollment in the WSSU music business concentrations has matched that of the music education concentrations, which have 48 majors. “We’ve drawn students, many of whom have a musical background but who are not drawn to teaching. The expanded music business program has given students the option to study and work in an area they already know and love,” Artimisi explained.
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