Sunday, October 1, 2023

CMA EDU Welcomes Young Entertainment Professionals


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By Madison Utley, MTSU Sidelines Contributing Writer

CMA EDU of MTSU presented a panel of four influential individuals in the music industry Thursday night.

Panelists, who were all members of the Young Entertainment Professionals network, began by talking about their college years and how they got to where they are today, as well as touching on their daily responsibilities.

Laura Alexander, a Belmont University alumna, spoke about her career with songwriters and small independent labels.  Alexander has previously worked for companies such as EMI and music publisher Big Yellow Dog and is currently a publisher at Kobalt Music in Nashville and talked briefly on doing your research when wanting to really succeed as a publisher.

“You have to peel back the layers of each factor of the label in order to get a good understanding of them and meet so many new people,”she said. “You are trying to get to the artist so you have to understand who to talk to.”

The second member of the panel was the founder of YEP Andrew Cohen, who is currently working with IRS Records Nashville.

In January of 2011, Cohen and a few friends got together and created YEP in order to get students to begin networking with other professional in the industry. Since then, the network has snowballed to over 8,500 members through their Facebook page. He suggested that students go into Nashville a few times a week to network with other professionals.

“Go meet people. Go have coffee and build a relationship with them,” Cohen said.

The next panelist was Belmont senior Garrison Snell. Snell has worked with several companies as a student and is now freelancing for four different companies throughout North America. He advised to bring unique ideas when applying for positions.

“Bring a unique concept to the table whenever you’re meeting someone,” Snell said. “It sets you a part from the others looking for the same job.

Lastly, Marc Rucker, a manager for Crush music, discussed how timing was key. Rucker has worked with artists ranging from Chris Young to Jarrod Niemann.  He told students that having knowledge of not just one side of the industry, but many, would be sufficient in the long run while trying to get your name “out there.”

The panelists ended the session with open questions and a hot topic was discussed—streaming.

“There is one thing in the industry that has never happened. [We] have never gone backwards,” Rucker said. “Streaming is the new medium so we, people like you all, need to find a way to make this work.”

For more updates, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter/Instagram at @Sidelines_Life.

To contact Lifestyles editor John Connor Coulston, email


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