University record labels (URL) are a popular vehicle for capturing student interest by releasing their music through a culturally appealing imprint. Examples of successful University-based labels include Mad Dragon (Drexel, USA), Vermilion Records (QUT, Australia), and CAM Records (University if Colorado USA). Developing and maintaining a record label within a large institution such as a university comes with a variety of questions concerning mechanical ownership and issues surrounding intellectual property that do not map conveniently to standard university policies. As a result of such challenges, there are a wide range of approaches taken by URL’s. Integration of a record label can vary according to how close a university wants to partner with such an enterprise. In this paper, we introduce London Noise (UWL, UK) and explain our pedagogical approach to recording and releasing student work, by using class groups to engage with and promote their fellow student artists. Our approach is to integrate the record label into the framework of the Music Management course design. With a deeply embedded, pedagogically driven structure developed through a URL, we can develop simulated learning experiences using up to date information to solve real-world issues. Such an entrepreneurial learning approach means that our students are taking an active role in their education and are using constructed challenges to deliver, promote, and administer student-based music. Instead of using quickly out of date case studies featuring already successful artists. We aim to provide a safe environment where students can use real-time record label data to assess industry trends and generate strategies that place our students at the forefront of music industry innovation.

Dr Dan Pratt is the course leader for BMus Performance and Recording at the University of West London. Dr Pratt has worked as a record producer, a performer, and an educ​ator for over twenty years. He has released professionally through Sony, Universal, and Independent record labels and has recorded several highly rotated songs for radio and television. As a researcher, Dr Pratt has published papers on recording concepts, transnational recording, and s​ensemaking theory. As a performer, he has toured Australia, Hong Kong, The UK, the USA, played in multiple festivals as well as performing on stages such as the Whisky a Gogo (LA) and the Bowery Ballroom (NY). 
Ben Bushell is the course leader for BA Music Management at the University of West London. After starting his career in the music business at ATC management in London, Ben now splits his time between UWL and Ferocious Talent management. As a manager, his roster has amassed over 100 million streams across all major streaming platforms and conducted business worldwide.


  1. Hi Ben/ Dan,

    Great project and sounds really interesting. I once set up a record label in Bath BA1 Records with artists
    like Gaby Aplin and Julio Bashmore at FE level. At my current university the musicians act as entrepreneurs running their
    own campaigns, finding artists to work with, running tours etc..I was wondering if you were worried about having music management students
    running the label that the level of entrepreneurship experience would be reduced in the musicians. I would also worry that if the label is
    connected to a well-known distributor then you are pushing music out too quickly i.e how many university groups are ready for real world consumption
    before level 7. This might also negate their opportunity to experiment and fail dramatically as artists with university acting like the old A + R setup where
    bands can be nurtured.

    Let me know your thoughts


  2. Hi Dan and Ben,

    I enjoyed this paper. This is a great project, and I’m excited to see how it develops. One of the students you interviewed, Hannah, spoke briefly about passing on knowledge between student cohorts. Do you have a formal peer-to-peer (or professional-to-student) mentoring set-up in place? Or is this knowledge being passed on more organically and informally as the students work together?

Leave a Reply