In March, 70 students from five different AEMMP (Arts, Entertainment & Media Management Program) classes came together to put their classroom knowledge into real world practice at South by Southwest®. This was the largest trip in AEMMP’s four years of attendance.
Not only is this annual trip a wonderful opportunity for students, but it’s also a great experience for artists from AEMMP’s record labels. One of the artists in attendance was hip-hop artist, Pmartt. Pmartt was a part of AEMMP’s Talent Agency class, 707 Talent Agency. This class was responsible for booking shows for Pmartt. Despite hundreds of bands vying for attention, the students had great success promoting and booking shows. “We were focusing on marketing bands, and were constantly trying to come up with ways to stand out from everyone else,” senior Sam Bengtson explained. Their hard work helped make each artists’ experience a memorable one. “Going to SXSW for the first time was the greatest experience I’ve had this year,” Pmartt said. “Not only was it a great networking opportunity, it was also a big learning experience for me. As an artist and businessman, I learned to always be prepared everywhere you go, that presentation is key, and mostly importantly, teamwork is the best way to work. I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with various AEMMP classes.”
Students from the various classes agreed that the cross-class collaboration was really what made this experience unique. “Being at SXSW in general would have been fun, but being there with AEMMP is what really made it fantastic,” Bengtson said. “The various AEMMP classes organized a showcase with artists we’ve been working with all year, so seeing the hard work from all the classes pay off was rewarding.”
SXSW is also an excellent way for students to see first hand what is going on in the music industry. Senior Charlie Ockerlund learned that, “nowadays live music is about the visual experience rather than the audio experience. It also opened my eyes to the amount of corporate sponsorships in the music industry and at live events, and how much of a viable commodity live music is to large brands.” In addition to helping students stay up to date with the latest trends, the conference helped calm some nerves about the ever-changing industry. “It’s definitely changing,” admitted Bengtson, “but not in a bad way. The most important lesson I learned is that the music and media industries are stronger than ever. You always hear that they are ‘dying,’ and SXSW was the most overwhelming proof against that I’ve ever seen. It was so encouraging being around so many people who were in the same industry I wanted to be in. Being in my final semester at Columbia, I’ve been having some worry about the future, just like every other senior. The SXSW trip as a whole took a lot of that worry from me and showed that as long as you’re passionate and care about your work, you’ll have no problem finding a place to fit in.”