Cool for School: Local college offers music biz class, launches indie label

By Niki D’Andrea

Geometry? History? Computer Science? Taking classes in those disciplines may be part of the college experience, but they’ve never been the fun part. Now, local hipsters have an educational alternative to the extracurricular activities of keg parties and co-ed car washes. Glendale Community College offers a class called MUC 110: Music Business and Marketing, and this semester’s class project is the launch of an indie record label called Versus Records.

The class was brought to my attention by Elizabeth Addabbo, a student who’s been assigned the role of Public Relations liaison for the label. The wealth of information Addabbo provided includes details on the eight local artists that have been signed to Versus Records. The roster currently includes rap acts Lakai, Ali Cashius Jr., Young Menace, and Vick Damone Sun, and rock bands Ghost, The Abandenz, Sons of Domini, and Mr. Meeble.

Artists on the label seem as excited about the opportunity to dip into the music business as the students. “I’m a hungry artist, and I have to make the best of any situation or open window of opportunity,” says Ali Cashius Jr. “Versus Records was that open window; this is the first exposure I’ve had since I moved to Arizona from Detroit.”

All of the Versus Records artists will be showcased on two forthcoming compilations -- one called Round One (with the hip-hop artists), and another titled Sounds of Devastation for the rock acts. Both albums will be available at local record stores like Stinkweeds and Zia Record Exchange.

Versus Records artist, Young Menace.

“The class is hitting the marks. It’s difficult to establish any business, especially in the current climate of the music industry, so I expected a rough start, but I think we’re on task,” says class instructor David Nichols. “I’m looking forward to the release of our compilations and to our show.”

The show Nichols is referring to is the “Rap vs. Rock” battle scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 3, at 12 West (12 W. Main Street in Mesa). The show (scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.) will feature all of the Versus Records artists, as well as a graffiti art showcase.

For more information on Versus Records, visit the label’s MySpace page.

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