Alexander Fruchter

Business and Entrepreneurship

Alexander Fruchter aims to reveal the inner workings of the music industry to students.

Sometimes big risks pay off. Just ask Alexander Fruchter, assistant professor in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department and co-owner of Closed Sessions, Chicago’s premiere independent hip-hop label.

When Fruchter’s parents offered to buy him a car his senior year of college, he opted for turntables so he could teach himself how to DJ. A few years later, he left a stable career in teaching and moved back home with his parents to devote himself to music. He wrote and edited hip-hop magazines and websites, worked at record labels, and performed as DJ RTC.

What Fruchter learned during this time surprised him: The music industry is run (mostly) by normal people who simply love music, not by slick opportunists who see dollar signs when they hear an undiscovered artist. He emphasizes this point with his students: “I want them to understand that the music business is not all about greed. There are real people operating these businesses,” Fruchter says.

As one of those “real people,” Fruchter—who grew up in Hyde Park and has written sociology and psychology curricula based on hip-hop lyrics—believes that a music business can effect social change in a community. Almost all the artists on Closed Sessions call Chicago home and care deeply about their neighborhoods.

As for the future, Fruchter envisions a day when his label becomes a major employer for local creatives (like photographers and graphic designers) and others interested in using music to leave a positive mark on the city.