The Business of Music: HSU Class Partners with Local Band, Record Label

Humboldt State students teamed up with a local band and record label this semester to learn about the business of making music.

About 15 students in Benjamin Funke’s Analog Masters class partnered with his record label, Captcha Records, and psychedelic space rock band White Manna to design and promote the band’s new album and U.S. tour.

“A lot of students are able to perform and record music, but they aren’t sure how to produce or sell it,” says Funke, who came up with idea for the experimental class, offered through the Art Department for the first time this semester.

“Art 480 bridges that gap, helping students learn about the business side of the industry and giving them the opportunity to collaborate with real musicians and designers,” Funke says.

Students in the interdisciplinary class got a variety of experience over the course of semester, including helping design the band’s album art, visiting the band’s record manufacturer in San Francisco and conducting local, national and international outreach to drum up press and album sales.

They also organized three live shows—in the U.C. Quad, on student-run radio station KRFH, and a final record release party at the Arcata Playhouse featuring Spliff Moth, a student band, and The Trouble.

Students at the packed show ran lights and sound, and managed ticket, album and merchandise sales.

Anthony Johnson, a journalism student in the class who also D.J.s for KRFH, served as a videographer on each of the band’s shows.

“Working with a real band taught us how to make that transition from school to real world, where there are deadlines and expectations. It was really valuable,” Johnson said.

Chris Parreira, a music student in the class, and a guitarist and vocalist for The Trouble, helped conduct promotions and coordinate the final show.

“As a class, it was very satisfying because I got to do things I already had skills in,” he said. “And holding the final record in my hand, it looked beautiful.”

Eventually, Funke would like to open a recording studio in Arcata where out of town bands can record music for future classes.