When College of Arts and Media junior Stu Basham was five years old, he wanted to be a rock star.
By the time he was in high school, he wanted to start his own record label.
But not until he found CU Denver did he believe that he could actually realize his dream of going to LA and working in the music business.
“CU Denver provided the exact program I have been looking for my entire life and even better, I could afford it,” says Basham. “It’s awesome because we learn real world stuff which applies directly to what I want to do after I graduate.”
Basham credits Assistant Professor Storm Gloor who teaches music marketing and CAM Records, a course that produces the student-run record label, with inspiring his students to learn. “A lot of aspiring performers and music professionals know they have to understand the business side of music,” observes Gloor. “But there aren’t many places where they really can learn that. I didn’t even realize I was doing it at the time, but it just made sense to me to make the label more of an experiential course where we don’t just study music and entertainment in the digital age. We do it.”
That’s how Stu Basham found himself helping plan the current CAM Records project— an 11/1/11 music event for 11 locations around campus. On November 1, 2011, 11 bands will pick the number one song from some point in music history and perform it live at 11 locations around campus, at 12:20 p.m. Think of it as a multi-location flash band event. Later, most of those bands will record the songs for the next CAM Records album. Basham’s class must organize the 11/1/11 event, promote it, supervise the recording sessions, create the album, market it, and run the business of selling the album.
“This is so different from an ordinary class where you memorize to learn,” says Basham. “I’m learning stuff I can use forever.”
Gloor uses the CAM Records course and other courses to discuss the monetization of music which has shifted due to piracy and the dissolving of the traditional business model. He teaches his students using what he calls the “outfielder philosophy” when he tells them “the outfielder doesn’t run to the ball. He runs to where the ball is going to be. With the music business, you need to look not at where the business is, but to where the business is headed.”
That philosophy inspired Gloor to ask his students to “think outside the CD, because by the time you graduate the CD will be less viable.” His students responded by inventing USB bracelets, where new music releases go on a USB drive that wraps around your wrist and then can be uploaded to play on your computer. “The next variation,” says Gloor, “could be a necklace or a key chain with music.”
Gloor’s courses are not all about doing. “Storm finds all the important articles about the business that we should read and that’s where I do a lot of my learning,” says Basham. “It’s like trying to drink out of a fire hose, because it’s impossible to comprehend everything at once. But I keep trying.”
With this kind of real world experience, Basham hopes to find internships in LA and succeed in some aspect of the music business. If that happens, Gloor will be pleased but not surprised. “Established music business professionals like to work with our students because they know what they are doing and they know how to think about music as a business.”