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Wayne State Students Launch Record Label

Detroit is known as many things – one of them being a thriving music hub. Finding studios for budding artists to record on a budget or for budding producers to intern at can be tricky. Which is part of the reason Old Main Records was created.

“We want to turn it into a legit record label,” Patrick Norton, one of the founders of Old Main Records. “We want to give back to the city of Detroit and create a hub for the city to use WSU resources … We want to offer our services, promotions and distribution to build artists in the city.”

This weekend, the label is hosting their (sold out) launch party this Saturday at Saint Andrew’s Memorial Episcopal Church on Wayne State University’s campus. The show features performances from The Stools, Mac Saturn, Dirt Room and Craig Garwood. Dirt Room will also be hosting an after party.

Largely the leg work of Wayne State University students Patrick Norton, Christopher Simpson and Brendan Derey, Old Main Records is a university sanctioned venture – backed by the Music Technology department – into the bustling world of music and music production.

“The idea has been floating around for a pretty long time,” said Norton.. “Wayne State’s Music Technology department has a studio that students can use to record and produce albums and what not but the purpose is to have a music degree that students can use.”

Norton had been approached by multiple students about getting the record label off the ground, which is when he, Simpson and Derey began to make it a reality. While Simpson and Derey work on administrative duties and interacting with the college, Norton has been looking for artists, doing some promotion and event planning to jump start the label.

“We’re still working on confirming artists,” said Norton. “We basically have an email or questionnaire to fill out and from there we contact the artists we want to work with in the sense of their interest in being a part of the label.”

Currently they have around 5-7 artists that they plan to work with but need to go through the university for contracts and negotiations. Since this is so new, even for Wayne State, they’re doing additional research to “see how this works.”

“Putting together and negotiating what those contracts will consist of between the university and artist, we have to bounce back and forth with them editing,” he said. “And the university takes a bit more time rather than running independently.”

Working with the Dean of Students and the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts has been both an “interesting and educational” experience according to Norton.

“Getting logos and art cleared through copyright … its been an interesting experience learning all of the different components you can be susceptible to being sued over,” he said adding that it is moving slowly. “We’d rather have our ducks in line out of the gate than worry about those things later.”

They have great support from both the university as a whole but also from the Music Technology department from Jeremy Peters, the music business department head.

“He [Jeremy Peters] previously worked at Ghostly International and has experience putting together a label and working with them,” said Norton. “He’s been challenging us and making sure we’re going through the right hoops as far as university services, promotions and grants.”

They recently received funding from the Dean of Students Office for their upcoming label launch party on January 17. The 20 person team is moving along steadily, currently they run as a student organization through the university but aim to be a class one day for more funding and school support.

Artists interested in learning more about Old Main Records can fill out the submission form here. Follow the label on Instagram to keep up to date with what they have in store.

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