AEMMP Practicum Provides Real-World Experience in Entertainment Management

Business and Entrepreneurship students release music, manage talent, and develop social marketing campaigns through Columbia’s unique Arts, Entertainment and Media Management course.

AEMMP Records, AEMMP Talent, AEMMP Digital Distribution—to the layperson in Chicago, these titles might not be familiar, but for students in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department at Columbia College Chicago, they are a way of life. AEMMP (Arts, Entertainment and Media Management Practicum) classes are built from the ground up to give students experience releasing music, managing talent and developing social marketing campaigns. These classes are unique in their format, and Columbia is one of the first colleges to create structured collaboration between these aspects of entertainment management.

AEMMP Records consists of two classes: AEMMP Hip-Hop and AEMMP Rock. AEMMP Talent is a class and talent agency that collaborates with AEMMP records on events and a hip-hop and rock performance at South by Southwest (SXSW), the Austin, Texas, arts and music festival. The AEMMP Digital Distribution course provides social media and web marketing services in collaboration with all AEMMP classes, especially for SXSW.

“As [AEMMP Hip-Hop], we identify artists who we want to work with, and we spend time learning about and studying what makes an artist choose any label, and what we are able to offer an artist,” says lecturer Alexander Fruchter. “The kids really get that down pat.” Working with artists—whether they be student bands or acts from around the city—in a professional setting while still in college provides an invaluable experience. Students get into the specifics of licensing music, drafting and signing performance contracts, and developing production and special event budgets—mimicking the real world of the music business.

The students themselves have a range of experience levels, says AEMMP Rock adviser and Business and Entrepreneurship assistant professor Jerry Brindisi. “The benefit is that these students are really learning and forging new ground together,” he says. Brindisi said that graduate students have the opportunity to learn from undergrads’ knowledge base, and younger students can learn from the composure and professionalism graduate students often bring to the table.

Arts, Entertainment and Media Management alumna Jennifer Noyes MAM ’15 was a talent manager in AEMMP Talent, and she’s found a niche that supports her love of managing comedy talent as well as advancing her own comedy career.

“It was really just an interest in managing artists [that made me take the class], but I didn’t know I would get so lucky as to work in management for comedy and self-management of my own career,” she says.

The breadth of experiences available to students through AEMMP courses has been a point of interest for prospective students for years. The AEMMP Digital Distribution class includes developing a social media and digital marketing campaign for Manifest (the end-of-the-year urban arts festival produced by Columbia students and staff), SXSW and a performing artist of the student’s choice. The students do everything from tweeting photos of Manifest to coordinating the AEMMP SXSW social media coverage.

“If you want a more hands-on experience with the online marketing aspect, I would take it,” says Brook Koelndorfer ’14. “Put effort into it, because you get out what you put in.”

All of the AEMMP classes overlap and support each other, just like the students’ work within the courses. AEMMP is a team that has to work through any dysfunction and support each other’s successes because students are creating a product just like any other professional entertainment companyBrindisi says ultimately, the most important lesson is that a company thrives on the invested participation of every member, so every student contributes to the success of AEMMP.

“We’re talking about more complicated types of experiences,” says Brindisi. “There might be a series of deadlines that they are responsible for. It gives those students a very real experience in working with teams, and collaborating not only with other students in other departments, but outside the college. They are truly engaging with the industry.”