Started from the bottom…The Berklee Valencia record label practicum has been a quite a memorable experience already! The first few weeks were spent trying to lay the foundation and the groundwork for Berklee Valencia’s budding student record label. We are the chosen ones to help build this label from the ground up for future students. (No pressure at all!)
Some of our tasks included brainstorming names for the label, and picking our top 12 artists from all of the SoundCloud submissions for the label. The amount of talent in this school is unmatched and that was visible when listening to the various tracks that were submitted!
The entire class was able to function as the A&R department throughout this process. It was fun to listen to the submissions and share our thoughts as we collectively compiled our list of artists to interview for the next round. This wasn’t an easy task for various reasons—obviously the talent pool was one, but the other was identifying the criteria. What exactly were we looking for? How do we choose our finalists? What attributes are important? Are we measuring their potential or what they have to offer at the moment? These were just a few of the baffling questions that we had to sort out amongst a group of 20+ students with a lot of opinions and expertise.
Organization was the enemy! We clearly had no template to follow and it was up to us to organize most of it. We realized in retrospect some things that we could’ve done differently to be more effective—but that’s why it’s a practicum. We’re definitely learning along the way. The most important thing that is vital for the sustainability of the label is—communication. We have to learn how to communicate with one another and how to communicate clearly and directly. Although we may not agree with one another at times, it is always important to respect each other as people at the end of the day. An issue that arose was in reference to the deadline for students to submit their material. There could’ve been more clarity such as a specified time instead of just a date because people were still submitting material on the due date after our class was over. To avoid issues like this in the future, we appointed two points of contact in an attempt to prevent any form of miscommunication or confusion about deadlines and interviews.
To simply put it—initially it seemed that there were too many chefs in the kitchen (which could have lead to the ultimate recipe for disaster). It has been a process of collectively learning how to work together (especially when everyone may not be on the same page) and adapt to dealing with various personality types. Eventually, we were able to format our game plans and and we are continuing to work towards our common goal…the successful creation of a student operated record label. Up next…auditions will be held for the 12 artists that were previously chosen. I’ll update you soon on the rest…