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GSU Brings Music Industry Legend To Teach Touring And Concert Management Course

Concert goers

In the ever-evolving music industry, touring has transcended its traditional role as a way of promoting album releases to become a primary source of revenue and artistic expression for musicians. 


The evolution of technology, coupled with the changing preferences of music enthusiasts, has propelled live performances into the spotlight, turning concerts into immersive experiences. The resurgence of touring not only signifies a lucrative business model for artists but also for the people who handle their bookings and manage them. 


With the business side of the music industry becoming more popular, one Atlanta university is preparing its students for the newfound interest. Georgia State University now offers a Touring and Concert Management course taught by music industry veteran Richard Dunn. The course will teach students about the relevant financial and business decisions when planning and operating a tour, booking live gigs, event and venue management and interacting with booking agencies and artist managers.


Dunn is an Atlanta native with over 20 years of experience in managing artists, booking performances and producing live shows. He has worked with legendary musicians like OutKast, Chaka Khan, Charlie Wilson, Drake and more.

Richard Dunn
Richard Dunn

He is the founder of the Muddy Water Group and Groovement Inc., an artist management and event production company that helped launch the career of Indie Arie.


Dunn serves as the Chief Operating Officer for The Atlanta Voice, one of Atlanta’s oldest Black-owned newspapers founded in 1966 by his grandfather J. Lowell Ware


Before the semester began, we asked Dunn about the course and his thoughts on the industry today.


Can you provide an overview of the key topics and skills that students will gain from your course on managing artists, booking performances and handling tours in the music industry?


The course is called Touring and Concert Management:

  1. Tour Coordination: Booking performances, logistics, budgeting, and coordination of all aspects of a tour.

  2. Industry Knowledge: Familiarity with the music business, legal aspects, and industry trends.

  3. Promotion and Marketing: Strategies for promoting artists and tours, utilizing digital platforms, and developing marketing campaigns.


With your extensive background in the music industry, what motivated you to transition into teaching? How does your practical experience contribute to the course content?

The transition from the music industry to teaching was driven by a desire to share practical knowledge and mentor the next generation of music professionals. Teaching allows for the transfer of real-world experience, providing students with insights beyond theoretical concepts.


How will the course help students bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application in the field of music management and tour coordination?


The course emphasizes a hands-on approach, incorporating real-world scenarios and practical exercises. Students will engage in simulated tour planning, contract negotiations and marketing campaigns to bridge the gap between theory and application.


Given your experience managing artists, how do you plan to incorporate real-world case studies or examples into the course to enhance students' understanding of industry challenges and solutions? 


Real-world case studies and examples from my own experiences managing artists will be woven into the curriculum. These examples will highlight industry challenges, decision-making processes, and successful solutions, giving students a tangible understanding of the complexities involved.


What is the difference between managing a tour and managing an artist?

Managing a tour involves the logistical aspects of planning and executing live performances, whereas artist management encompasses a broader scope, including career development, branding, and overall professional growth.


In your opinion, what are the current trends and challenges in the music industry that students should be prepared to navigate after completing your course?

 

Students will be prepared to navigate trends like the increasing importance of digital platforms, the rise of independent artists, and challenges such as evolving revenue models and the impact of technology on the industry landscape.


How has social media changed concerts and touring?


Social media has revolutionized concert promotion, providing direct engagement with fans, enabling real-time updates, and expanding reach. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok play a crucial role in creating buzz and enhancing the overall concert experience.


How has the pandemic affected or impacted concerts and touring?


The pandemic has significantly impacted live events, leading to cancellations, rescheduling, and the rise of virtual performances. The course will address the challenges posed by the pandemic and explore innovative approaches to adapt and thrive in the evolving music industry landscape. In summary, the course aims to equip students with a holistic understanding of concert management and tour coordination, integrating practical experiences and industry insights to prepare them for the dynamic challenges of the music industry.


Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com

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