Ever wonder where the next generation of entertainment executives will come from? What will be their launching pad? Who will be the drivers in the front seat — moving towards the top chard and will their journey be similar to the pioneers that paved the way for Hip-Hop’s industrial revolution?
That’s a great question.
And Glassboro, NJ’s Rowan University is stepping up to make answer the call with its new music business program, set up to support students who want to know the ins and outs of entertainment. In the class/ program students set up their own record label, The Rowan Music Group.
The Rowan Music Group (RMG) is a campus-based, student-run label structured within the College of Performing Arts. Unlike other labels, this one (particularly since it is located in a school with curriculum) is also a 501c2 non-profit that operates under its president, Michael McArthur.
McArthur, an R&B music vet, has had a substantial musical career spanning almost 30 years. Various GRAMMY-nominated and multi-platinum artists can look to him as an architect to their successful careers. That fact is well documents. What has not been as celebrated is the legacy of mentorship that he has built as an industry professional: RMG shifts that narrative.
Already four years in existence, RMG has a growing roster of artists and personnel of strong thought leaders. From their nucleus of the program both talent and suit learn about production, promotion, marketing & public relations, financing, artist development, management, and philanthropy. Prior to the global coronavirus pandemic, the team was set to execute their first label activation at the South by Southwest festival, where they would learn from leaders in their field, interview and meet new mentors and see how their peers (other professional artists) get it down.
Two artists that look to benefit from this experience are Kenz and Orange Soda.
Kenz is a millennial inspired heavy by 90s Hip-Hop and R&B. The classically trained artist writes her music and is a singer/ rapper like her idol, Lauryn Hill: “Nowadays, it’s all about the hook and lyrics are abandoned. No matter how much success I achieve, I will never stop creating music with a message.” You can hear her attention to lyrics in her song, “Through the Motions.”
Orange Soda is a genre-fusing duo that smashes EDM and Hip-Hop together like nothing on the radio now. Rob Kowalskii and Matt Centurione may have two different types of approaches to music, but together they bring magic like found in their debut single, “Rona SZN.”
Programs come and go. Schools like NYU and Howard have programs powered by endowments and the promise to give you quick entrée into the biz, but the Rowan program differs because the promise is actualized with hands-on get it down and drive. Already, these students are ready to take their position in history.