All across UConn, there are a variety of aspiring musicians. Whether you are one yourself or you’re looking to increase your following, it can be difficult to gain traction when your supporters are limited to the size of your social circle. That’s where UConn Entertainment Group (UEG) comes in. The student-run record label, founded by fourth-semester marketing major Jacob Stockman, focuses on helping artists establish a network to help them grow.
“Our exact mission statement is as follows: to foster student musicians by producing their music, building their brand, growing their fanbase and booking them live performances and other related events. We will provide a medium for which aspiring student artists can go to for help in accomplishing musical success,” Stockman said.
Stockman noticed the need for an organization like UEG during his freshman year when he discovered just how many talented students there were on campus. Through the music ensembles that Stockman was involved in, amongst other events like the UCONNIC auditions, he noticed that these musicians had nowhere to promote themselves. Because of this, he “wanted to change that, and provide a place where we can make these artists heard.” During the following summer, Stockman worked with his executive board to develop their goals and brainstormed ideas so they could get started immediately in the fall.
Since UEG is still relatively new, the organization is working towards acquiring studio spaces and more resources for its artists.
In the meantime, Stockman says that UEG offers a network of 30 consistent members “that is simply stronger together as a team than any artist could be by themselves, and we have seen that every time one of our artists releases something.” This network has a great impact, especially when there are 30 or more people talking about a single album or artist across social media and other sources.
“Having a team of people who will push your content on social media and by word of mouth is a huge asset. I also put much more thought into the rollout of my new album than I had with my past releases,” Josh Redmond, a fourth-semester computer science major who also goes by his rapper name, JR SPECS, said. “Instead of just announcing a release date and then dropping the music when the time came, I tried to build some anticipation with promotional videos and social media branding. Some of these ideas came directly from club members.”
There’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already seen an album by a UEG-signed artist promoted on social media within the past month. The three artists that UEG currently has signed are rapper JR SPECS, alternative pop band Kids That Fly and soul and funk band The Commentary. Redmond recently released his new album, “YELLO,” on April 26 while Kids That Fly released their “Lovesick” EP on April 5 across all streaming platforms.
Aside from a growing network of supporters, the organization can provide artists with opportunities to perform both on and off campus.
“We try to book our acts shows as much as possible. All three artists have played a couple of house shows off campus and Kids That Fly has played HuskyThon, Food Truck Festival and UCONNIC,” Stockman said.
Redmond mentioned that UEG provided him with a few chances to perform in the past year, his favorite of which was for their “UEG Office Hours” series. Inspired by NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concerts,” all the artists performed an acoustic set in a lecture hall that was recorded and uploaded to their Youtube channel.
“As an artist, I’m hoping next year will bring more performance opportunities. I learned a lot being on stage this year, but I need to do a lot more to let people know I’m here and improve as a performer,” Redmond said.
Working together as a collective, UEG’s members all contribute as much as they can without any defined roles but are looking to grow much more next year. The organization is seeking out the help of social media experts, producers, promoters, any aspiring student artists and anybody else interested in getting involved.
For more information, UEG can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’m proud of what we accomplished this year, but there’s always more to be done,” Redmond said.
Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.