At a press conference today at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and John Esposito, president and CEO of Warner Music Nashville, announced the creation of the first student-run music label in the United States. The record label will be fully-functioning and will be operated by students at Pearl-Cohn High School with the mentoring of music industry professionals from Warner Music Nashville. All students in the Academies of Nashville program and MNPS high schools will be eligible to be signed by the label.
The new record label is part of the Music Makes Us initiative, a campaign spearheaded by Mayor Dean and the music industry to make Nashville’s music education program one of the best in the nation. Mayor Dean said that “our music community is a tremendous, untapped resource for our public schools. With this record label . . . we will for the first time take full advantage of the many talented individuals on both the creative and business side of the industry who live and work in Music City.”
Founding the record label is part of a broader implementation of creative programs at Pearl-Cohn. Next year, the school will begin offering courses in songwriting taught by adjust faculty who are professionals in the music industry. MNPS will become the first school district in Tennessee to offer songwriting classes. The recording facilities at Pearl-Cohn, already outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, will be expanded through a $200,000 investment under the advising of producers and engineers from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Science.
“Whether you end up with a career in the music industry or not, we know that exposure to the arts will make you a better student,” Mayor Dean said. “It’s an industry that brings creative, talented people to our city in incredible numbers, and we know that cities that will succeed in the future will be the cities with creative people.” Dean placed the new record label into the larger context of providing real-world learning and experience for Nashville’s students, to whom he referred as “the future employees of the city and the future employers of the city.”
Esposito reinforced the role the music industry can play in education in Nashville and expressed his excitement to be part of such a committed partnership with the Academies of Nashville. “Music is an essential part of every child’s development, and with this program, we’re combining music education with lessons in business and entrepreneurship.”
There will be a contest in March and April to determine the name of the student-run music label. Nashville students will be able to begin submitting applications in May for auditions and demo sessions in July. The label will launch officially in August. Warner Music and its affiliates will work with the label to distribute its recording on major digital content providers such as iTunes and Amazon Music. The label’s revenue from the sale of songs will go back to the Music Makes Us initiative to make the program self-sustaining and further invest in music education in Nashville. Warner Music Nashville will have the first opportunity to sign recording deals with student artists who are part of the label after they graduate.