Each year, the five departments of Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management Productions, or AEMMP, (the Rock and Hip-Hop Labels, the Talent Agency, Distribution, and Publishing) get the chance to put what they’ve learned in the classroom into real world practice. This spring, AEMMP packs up again and heads to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest®, the nation’s largest music conference and festival.
Columbia students have the chance to enroll in the five AEMMP classes that culminate in the trip to Austin. “The trip to SXSW provides students an unparalleled opportunity to engage the music industry, network, develop professionally and to participate in one of the largest music conferences and festivals in the world. All of this happens as part of student’s coursework and provides them a guided professional experience,” teacher and organizer Jerry Brindisi explained. And what better way to gain some real world experience than at the largest music conference in the United States?! Not only is this a great experience for Columbia students, but also a great opportunity for the bands that are a part of the AEMMP label.
Upon arrival in Texas, it is straight to work. The students attend panels and have the opportunity to network. “The various panels I attended were extremely informative and engaging. The conference itself is an idea generator. Listening in on the panels, I can’t tell you how many business ideas I had,” student Patrick Van Wagoner noted. The students even host their own event––a party created and run solely by the students. They do everything from the promotion and marketing to managing the party itself. “A group of people that drew from each class planned the AEMMP unofficial day party, starting in November. I helped manage the production of the event, which took place at Bat Bar. There was some troubleshooting to do, but we pulled the show off well together,” student Parker Langvardt said. At this event, bands from the Rock and Hip-Hop Labels perform to a room full of music lovers and industry professionals.
The conference allows students to see a different side of the music industry; one you can’t learn in the classroom. “It was the beginning of a shift from focusing on the artist management side of music to the live music side for me,” Langvardt explained. “As a performer, I just felt obligated to book my band and present events in order to play shows in certain places, but now I see it as an area that I have strengths in and would like to be more involved in. I’m now interning at The Windish Agency as a booking intern.”
This will be the 4th year AEMMP attends SXSW, with interest and attendance growing each year. This year’s trip will be from March 13-17.