When Drew Angus and his roommate asked to use the recording facilities at Hartwick College last year, they were rebuffed.
So the pair took a different approach. Drew — who had taken audio production courses at Staples, recorded his band the Euphons in the Staples studio, then at Hartwick created his own music industry major — used a January term course with a business professor to learn how to create his own record label.
Drew discovered that John Doelp — a senior vice president at Columbia Records — is a Hartwick grad. Drew met him in his impressive New York office, dominated by the biggest speakers Drew has ever seen, and a plaque-filled wall.
John told Drew that the record label industry is dying, and challenged him to help find a way to make it viable again. John’s advice: Find a band Drew thought would be successful, and get them to tour.
Back at Hartwick last spring, Drew took an online Berklee College of Music entrepreneurship course. He honed a business plan.
Last fall he hosted a battle of the bands. Then he and a team picked 4 groups with potential. With a $17,000 grant from Hartwick’s Student Senate, he and roommate M.W. Degan put them in a state-of-the-art recording studio — in a section of the music department that had turned him down less than a year earlier.
The result — after Drew spent many hours mixing — is a 4-track compilation on WICKit Music Group, Hartwick’s “student run record label.” It’s available now online. Donations are requested, with funds earmarked to press and promote the compilation as a physical CD in the fall.
This summer — before senior year — Drew is working at A&M Octone Records in New York. His goal: “to really learn how to run a record label.”
What about John Doelp’s warning, that the record label industry is going down the tubes?
“In some senses, yes,” Drew says.
“But they just need to be run better than the head honchos of the Big 4 are running them now.
“John told me to get a band to go out and play. But I’m trying to build something with my educational experience too.”