by AUTUMN OSIA
Throwing concerts, working closely with musicians, and becoming promoters are all components of a Drake University J-term taught by co-professors Tobi Parks and Thomas Kutz titled “A Peek Behind the Curtain: The Recorded Music Industry.” Aside from being co-professors, Kutz and Parks have a background working for Sony Music Entertainment and now co-own Station 1 Records and XBk Live. Coining the name “Drake Productions,” this course allows roughly 20 students to act as promoters putting on shows while working hands-on with a venue and record label.
“As I was creating Station 1, I made a pitch to Drake to say that I would love to have students involved,” Parks said. “ I wanted a class for young professionals that are going into the industry to have an opportunity to get experience.”
The appeal of the class reaches students from a variety of mediums, but music business major Tyler McGuire was especially fascinated with the course. The class objective includes creating a budget for a show, working professional with artists around the country and volunteering for jobs during the show students show such as production, promotion, or finance.
“I’ve never had a class be so up my alley,” McGuire said. “It opened my mind to how many roles you can fill in the music industry and how you can always be involved in it no matter what.”
Students like Tyler who find a passion for the music industry can continue to work with Parks and Kuntz after the course with internship opportunities at Station 1 Records or XBk Live.
“It’s always been an unrealistic dream of mine to work in the music industry,” said student turned intern Savanna Bous. “Since meeting [Thom] and [Tobi], it actually feels like it could become a possibility.”
Bous’ background involves advertising, magazine writing and digital media production, but she was able to find a place in the music industry. Parks encourages those who are considering taking the course to consider the vastness of positions within the industry.
“The music industry is not a myopic business; it requires PR and marketing, it requires digital talents, it requires a number of different things that touch different areas on campus,” Parks said. “You may think ‘I have no idea how I would fit into a live music production course’ but you do. You’re needed.”
Parks and Kuntz will be offering this course again in Jan. 2021.