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“Have Your Own Sound”: Women in Music Licensing Event Offers Feedback to Artists

Emoni Matthews, sync manager at Rostrum Records, speaks with Tommaso Di Blasi ’18 about his music. Photo/Justin Allen
By Alejandra Zimmermann ’19

Local musicians and guests had the opportunity to play their original compositions and receive feedback during a Women in Music Licensing event at Emerson College Los Angeles last month.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to hear what these people, who are super successful in the industry that I’m trying to break into, have to say,” said Shannon Swart ’15, a musician.

The event took place in Emerson’s Gersh Studio Audio Post-Production Room. Nearly 30 students, alumni, and friends attended the event while 15 had the chance to play their music for a panel of four professionals working in music licensing. During the panel, attendees soaked in advice on everything from how to make music stand out to how to get songs played on film and television.

“I like that the event is specific to sync licensing, which is what I was looking for,” said Lauren Burdzinski, a freelance artist manager.

Among the panelists was Tess Taylor, president of the National Association of Recording Industry Professionals, which promotes career advancement and education in the record industry and related fields. Taylor offered widespread advice, but reminded attendees of one thing.

“Go out, talk to people and listen,” said Taylor. “Have a conversation with someone and convert that information into value and opportunity.”

Crowd at event
Students, alumni, and friends listen as Women in Music panelists offer advice. Photo/Justin Allen

Other panelists included Emoni Matthews, sync manager at Rostrum Records; Charisse Presley, manger of music licensing at 411 Music Group; and Georgette Bivins, director of licensing and brand partnerships at 411 Music Group. Both Presley and Bivins spoke with pride about working at a music publishing company that is women- and minority-owned.

When talking with the audience, Bivins emphasized how important it was for music to be creative and unique.

“Have your own sound,” said Bivins. “[It’s] best for you to be original.”

After the panel, artists and musicians had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with some of the panelists to play their own original material. Tommaso Di Blasi ’18, a writer and performer, played a trio of songs for Matthews.

“Being able to play my music and receive feedback was so helpful,” said Di Blasi, who has utilized the audio room to record music as both a student and alumnus. “I felt validated as an artist and I’m so ready to continue making music and thankful for the opportunity to showcase my creativity.”

Having an event in the audio room and being surrounded by creative minds was enough for some attendees to feel inspired and energized about making music.

“I didn’t know that they had so much audio stuff [at Emerson LA],” said Jordan Ferrin ‘14, a musician. “It’s just cool to get in a room with other people interested in the same type of things.”

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