The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Student-run music entertainment group seeks to represent local talent

(Left to right) Aaron Class, director of marketing, 21, Ryan Aicklen, co-producer, 25, Tyler Edmonston, co-producer, 21, and Professor Carey Christensen are part of the CSUN music industry Five of Five Music Entertainment program. "Everythings becoming DYI (do it yourself). So might as well learn how to be a professional - which is why I'm here," said Class as Aicklen and Edmonston shook their heads in agreement about the music industry. Photo Credit: Andres Aguila / Daily Sundial

Los Angeles is home to a number of struggling artists dreaming to make it big in the ever-changing world of professional music.

Under the guidance and service of Five of Five Music Entertainment, this dream could very well turn into a reality.

For the past few weeks, Five of Five Music Entertainment, or V/V, has been looking for musical talent to represent during the academic school year. Staffed by more than 35 CSUN seniors and overseen by professor Carey Christensen in the CSUN music industry studies program, V/V hopes to lessen the frustrations and troubles many amateur musicians face as they attempt to enter the music industry, said Aaron Class, 21, director of marketing for V/V.

“Our goal is to be a transitional entity in the career and life of an artist,” Class said. “Five of Five is a musical term that refers to a module chord that changes from one key to another. We want to help modulate up-and-coming musicians from an amateur to professional level.”

V/V will provide one lucky undiscovered talent with a year’s worth of free marketing and production, Class said. The artist will work with V/V’s managers and members of the events, marketing, multimedia production and A&R, or Artists and Repertoire, departments.

While the yearlong sponsorship provides the chosen musical act with a profound learning experience, the staff members of V/V note that they also have much to gain from this endeavor.

“I am really excited about all aspects of this opportunity,” said Ryan Aicklen, 25, co-producer for V/V. “The most appealing aspect of this project and being in the music industry studies program is that I get to incorporate the lessons I learn from school directly into my active career in the music industry.”
Co-producer Tyler Edmonston, 21, also shares in this excitement.

“I am looking forward to working with my peers toward our mutual passion for music,” Edmonston said. “I also am looking forward to the networking, promotional and hands-on experiences the project has to offer.”

The Artist of the Year project was created in the 1997 – 98 school year, Christensen said.

“The project was created to provide experiential learning opportunities for the practical application of music industry theories, concepts, principles, processes, and practices covered in our MUS 393 and MUS 493 courses,” Christensen wrote in an email. “Through this project, students also develop the interpersonal skills and leadership qualities necessary for effectiveness in mixed artistic and non-artistic, team-based environments.”

Though V/V is primarily controlled and run by students, every staff member is committed to providing the client with the utmost level of professionalism, Class said.

Interested artists submit their portfolios, which should include a 3-song demo, photos and a short bio about the artist, Class said. V/V is currently accepting all genres, solo and group artists.
The process of selecting a winner will be a tough one, as over 40 submissions have already been made, Class said.

“Our (Artists and Repertoire) team is going through submissions every day,” he said. “It’s going to boil down to who we believe we can represent the best. And it also comes down to who is already presenting themselves in a professional manner. You have to have talent and present yourself in a way that really impresses us.”

The top four submissions will be asked to perform at a showcase event planned for Nov. 2. From there, an open-voting system will determine the winning artist, Class said.

V/V’s presence in the music industry studies program is a refreshing take on a project that occurs every year. As part of the curriculum, students are given the task of representing an artist of the year and promoting their career.

“By the end of the year, (the artist) will have a press kit that V/V will hand to a bunch of professionals,” Class said.

This year’s group underwent a rebranding when Christensen took over for Joel Leach, a music professor who retired at the end of the Spring 2011 semester.

The re-branding involved the creation of a new company name, logos, mission statement, job descriptions and responsibilities, and a company hierarchy, Aicklen said.

“As co-producers for V/V Music Entertainment, Ryan and I are responsible for the project-management duties typically associated with most businesses in the music industry,” Edmonston said.

In addition to the knowledge V/V members will acquire from this yearlong project, the program itself has already provided them with many opportunities to learn and grow in the professional music industry.

“The department’s connections in the music industry have allowed us to go to some really close places and meet a number of professionals working in the business,” Class said.
The music industry studies program provides students with many open-ended possibilities, Aicklen said.

“I want to make sure that I am a well-rounded individual who is able to excel in different sectors of the music industry,” Aicklen said. “I feel that the MIS program offers this diversity, allowing me to develop several skills needed to stay afloat in today’s music business world.”

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