Brick City Records is taking an alternative approach to music recording amid COVID-19. The originally student-run organization, which gave students an opportunity to gain experience working in the music industry, is now being run entirely online.
In 2015, professor Josh Antonuccio took the position of faculty adviser at Brick City, turning the program into a tier three capstone course. As the years progress, Brick City is becoming a centerpiece of the music production program, offering students a focus on all aspects of music production.
Students have an opportunity to run the music label, sign on artists, do the production work, market the music, work on social media strategies and even create a video production at the end of the year. An average of 30 students are involved, with an additional collection of student volunteers joining the team at the end of the year.
Antonuccio said in previous years, Brick City has signed on and produced music for amazing artists, holding performances at the end of the years for artists to showcase their work. However, the coronavirus pandemic has made things very different, as Ohio University put a strong emphasis on virtual courses and social distancing.
“The real bummer was that we had to cancel the end of the year show (last semester),” Antonuccio said. “Coming into this year, having more time to plan has been a big focus on doing all of our meetings … All the planning is moving forward, and we’ve had to do all of our outreach events online. So that’s what the Twitch series is about — we are planning to do a new livestream from campus.”
These livestreams, which will be streamed on Twitch.tv, are a new form of media that Brick City is testing out in order to broaden its audience and get its artists’ music out there. Performers for the Twitch streams are selected based on the stream’s genre. The streams, which are called Brick City Pre-games, allow Brick City to connect with audience members as if it were an in-person event, even offering unique themes and fun contests during intermissions.
Kayla Burke, a senior studying media arts and studies with a specialization in music production and the recording industry, holds the position of vice president and director of publicity at Brick City. Burke is more than excited for Brick City to engage with audience members and artists through this new platform.
“By transitioning our performances through Twitch, we are able to connect with our audience in a more personal way than before,” Burke said in an email. “These events will be a great experience in which everyone will be exposed to new music, artists and the virtual concert atmosphere. Brick City Records has put in a lot of hard work and effort into making this… a success for our audience. I know we won’t disappoint and neither will our artists.”
Brick City has already held two previous events. Local artists, such as Innocuous and RJ Martin, have performed.
Catie Bugos, a senior studying recording industry studies, is one of the key members of Brick City who works in the marketing and publicity department. Bugos focuses on streamlining promotional efforts for all artists, fundraisers, events and overall awareness of the label.
Bugos emphasized that switching to an almost entirely virtual environment has pushed Brick City to think creatively when it comes to marketing and promotions.
“With more people than ever online and looking for entertainment, I am very optimistic that these pre-game parties will continue to gain more traction each time,” Bugos said in an email. “Brick City Records is still committed to working with artists of all capacities to bring awesome music to the public no matter what situation we find ourselves in.”
The Twitch events can be visited at https://www.twitch.tv/brickcityrecords, or viewers can interact with the events on social media by using the hashtag #brickcitypregame.