|Vale Records to Showcase its First Album During Nov. 23 Music Conference
IDS-199: Vale Records has few prerequisites. LVC students may enroll regardless of major, class standing, or previous experience. The student-led, one-credit interdisciplinary course is offered during spring semesters and is purposed with creating a campus record label, along with developing a marketing plan, methods of distribution, and financial projections.
Recently, student collaboration and funds from two Arnold Grants have yielded the label’s first record, “Scott Eggert: Volume 1,” which will be showcased at LVC’s 9th annual Vale Music Conference on Nov. 23.
Originally released May 1, 2013, the album is a compilation of work previously recorded by Dr. Scott Eggert, a former music professor who retired last spring.
According to Nikki Abbamont ’14, the chair of Vale’s artist and repertoire committee, “We decided that putting out an album of his songs might be the best way to test-run the class and figure out the details of what we’ll have to pay attention to as the years go on.”
The first album itself is not the only product of the students’ success—the entire record label has been rebranded within the past year.
Previously known as Revolution Records, the Vale name was officially adopted on April 3, 2013 after the marketing committee decided that the original name was redundant with other companies in the music industry.
Billy Gartrell ’15 designed the label’s primary logo, and largely due to the availability of grant funds, branding initiatives have been implemented and the new label identity has become increasingly visible on campus and within the community.
According to digital communications professor Mat Samuel, a co-instructor for IDS-199, “The grant provided the seed money to be able to purchase and produce CDs, t-shirts, and stickers.” He added that the group is also in the process of setting up an LLC.
Both Samuel and Jeff Snyder, the other faculty advisor and co-instructor, say that students deserve all of the credit for Vale’s recent growth. Everything from creating a website, screen printing t-shirts in one of Samuel’s Lebanon art studios, and researching potential clients has been coordinated and produced by students.
“There is no other college or university that does this, and it is a credit to the vision and ingeniousness of the LVC students,” Snyder said.
TJ Brillhart ’14, president of Vale Records, has high hopes for the future of the label.
“We’re planning on going out to network with other institutions and other established record labels to see how they function and see what we can bring back to LVC to push this thing to be huge,” he said.
In late September, Brillhart and Jimmy Long ’14 traveled to a conference in Dewey Beach to distribute business cards, observe how other record labels go about approaching artists, and network with big names in the industry.
In addition, the founders of the record label, Tyler Garrett ’13, Nick D’Angelo ’12, Deanna Berish ’12, Rachel Lightner ’12, and Abbamont traveled to Chicago in 2012 to conduct research on existing college record labels.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to start cashing in on that this spring when we’re beginning to look for other bands,” Brillhart said.
Perhaps the greatest indication of the label’s success is the interdisciplinary collaboration. For instance, one student interested in law has been assigned the responsibility of drafting a contract for potential clients.
“I’m a business major and I’m leading a record label,” Brillhart said. “The different perspectives broaden our ability for us to function. The collaboration is quite productive.”
Samuel agreed. “It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished when a group of students come together. We were kind of worried about how the integration would work with students from different majors, but that in itself is a learning process for them, too,” he said.
To learn more about Vale records, visit the student-designed website: http://www.valerecords.org.