For the third consecutive year, Billboard has named SUNY Oneonta to its list of the world’s “Top Music Business Schools.” Oneonta is among 38 colleges and universities in the United States, England and Spain selected for inclusion on the 2022 list. SUNY Oneonta also received this recognition in 2019 and 2020, and the annual list took a pandemic-related “gap year” in 2021 awaiting the return of in-person classes.
“We’re pleased to once again be included in Billboard’s list of ‘Top Music Business Schools’,” said Rob Roman, Music Department chair and associate professor of music. “With its emphasis on real-world, collaborative learning experiences and focus on the business aspects of the music industry, our program has a long track record of preparing students for success in a variety of careers in the music and entertainment industries, including intellectual property law, artist management, live event production, recording, music products and many more.”
An All-Encompassing Learning Experience and Curriculum
SUNY Oneonta’s Music Industry curriculum includes courses in pop culture, record label history, concert production and promotion, music products industry and legal issues. Additionally, audio arts classes give students who do not play traditional instruments the chance to create music using technology and to focus on recording, mixing and nontraditional composition techniques.
“The program for Music Industry is unique at SUNY Oneonta. It is an umbrella of a lot of different avenues of the industry,” said Hannah Goldberg, a music industry major from Romulus, NY. “Being at a college that doesn’t just focus on one avenue when they talk about music is important.”
SUNY Oneonta Music Industry majors have extensive opportunities to learn by doing. Through an on-campus paid position or the Music Industry Club, students can handle booking, planning, operations, logistics, promotion and production for live music events, including the annual O-Fest concert, which features a nationally known headliner.
Additionally, SUNY Oneonta offers an internship program that places students in hundreds of non-performing music, media and entertainment industry settings across the country. The college offers grants to help fund off-campus learning and networking experiences. These opportunities include a faculty-led trip to the National Association of Music Merchants annual trade show in Los Angeles, Bonnaroo music festival externships through the Well Dunn Foundation, and Rock Litiz and New York is Music events.
Alumni Connections – and a Surprise Chat with John Mayer
“We encourage students to pursue highly individualized career paths ranging from executive management to creative and technical services to entrepreneurial musicianship,” said Joe Pignato, professor of music and music industry. “That diversity of possibilities is reflected in our outstanding alumni, many of whom maintain close ties with the program, returning regularly to mentor students and share their experiences.”
Noah Rakoski, a 2007 graduate, is a great example of a SUNY Oneonta alumnus who has helped mentor students through his experience as head of West Coast Label Relations for YouTube Music at Google. This past June, music industry students were treated to a tour of Google’s facility in Los Angeles, Calif. and learned about Rakoski’s work.
“That was definitely my favorite part – the Google tour and meeting Noah,” said music industry major and singer-songwriter Luke Mock. “He is an astounding and inspiring character who shared the most real and blunt advice about the music industry. I also really enjoyed going to panels and networking with other artists and music industry professionals.”
Other alumni who have connected with students through campus visits and online career networking sessions include Emilia Albarano ’16 from Columbia Artists Agency; Eric Lense ’07, vice president of creative operations at SESAC; and Scott Harris Friedman ’06, a multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated (“In My Blood,” Song of the Year) songwriter, producer and musician. SUNY Oneonta students also learn from visiting guest speakers such as Jack McMorrow from Atlantic Records and Dae Bogan, SVP of Global Music Rights at Jammber.
During the COVID-19 quarantine, students were treated to a video chat with singer/songwriter John Mayer that was organized by Rit Venerus ’93, founder and president of Cal Financial. Mayer gave the students advice and insight into the industry and even made up a jingle about SUNY Oneonta on the spot. Thanks to Venerus, music industry students also had the opportunity to meet with Dave Matthews in person and got a behind-the-scenes tour of a Dave Matthews Band concert in 2018.