Warner Music Nashville, Mayor, Metro Schools Align For Student-Run Label

Pearl-Cohn students eagerly look on, waiting for the announcement.

Nashville’s Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School received some exciting news this morning (3/8) during a student body gathering. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Warner Music Nashville President/CEO John Esposito, and Metro Schools Director Jesse Register were present to unveil a a student-run record label that is a key component of the Mayor’s “Music Makes Us” program.

The students of Pearl-Cohn will run the multi-genre record label—the first of its kind—recruiting the talent of their student peers across the Metro Schools district. The label, which will named in the following months, will mimic the operations of a real music label by signing, recording and promoting student artists. Students will be in charge of A&R, brand management, publicity, royalty collection and distribution, marketing, promotion, HR and sales. Warner Music Nashville will digitally distribute the music on iTunes, and have the first opportunity to sign artists upon their graduation. Money made from the tracks will be funneled back into the record label, in hopes of making it a self-sustainable program. Metro Schools student artists will be required to audition to join the label.

Warner Music Nashville president and CEO, John Esposito discusses Warner's role in the program

“These students are going to get a first hand look at why music shouldn’t be free on the internet,” laughed The Recording Academy’s Nancy Shapiro.

As part of the program, Pearl-Cohn will also introduce songwriting classes, a multi-media pathway for students to learn about promoting artists, an audio recording pathway for students to learn about recording music, a styling and imaging pathway, and an expanded audio engineering lab.

“With this record label, along with classes about songwriting, audio engineering and other facets of the music industry, 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,” said Mayor Dean.

Warner Music Nashville will play a major role in the new program, not only by distributing the students’ music, but inviting students and teachers into their label. Both faculty and students will have opportunities to learn about the record business from executives and Warner Music Nashville through shadowing mentors.

“Music had a profound effect on me,” said Esposito. “As a skinny little kid who didn’t fit into any niches, I found playing instruments or singing in a production gave me confidence.”

Mayor Karl Dean and Warner Music Nashville's John Esposito answer questions following the press conference

Students across the district will soon be invited to find their confidence. The record label is scheduled to launch in August, for the 2012-2013 school year. Before the launch, NARAS producers and engineers will aid Pearl-Cohn in building a new live room and Metro Schools students will have the opportunity to submit for one of twenty free summer demo sessions.

Following the announcement, Pearl-Cohn senior Leona Turner performed “The Greatest Love of All.” She was accompanied on the keyboard by Llewellyn Peter, the Visual and Performing Arts Content Chair at Pearl-Cohn.

Leona Turner and Llewellyn Peter perform "The Greatest Love of All"


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