When asked about the future of the newly-formed Michigan Music Business Club, Business junior Jonathan Hayman, co-founder and president of the club, did not shy from divulging all that the club has accomplished in its two years of existence.
“This semester, we will have had (executives from) Amazon Music and Spotify, two of the most popular digital streaming platforms, speak for our club on behalf of the school,” Hayman said. “There’s not been any club in school history that has had that. There’s not been any club in school history that has had the president of the largest festival company (Gary Gersh) in the world speak (on their behalf).”
Combining the passion of a music fan with the unrelenting drive of a Ross major, the MMBC is here to dominate. From the Ross School of Business to the School of Art & Design to LSA, the membership pool is filled with music industry hopefuls, united in their drive to break into the music scene, as talent managers, artists, marketing executives, concert planners — you name it.
Thanks to the diverse crew of members (carefully curated by Hayman and Business junior Cassie Alexe, fellow co-founder), the MMBC has a massive network that has allowed them to plan events with some of the most powerful executives in the industry. Hayman and Alexe began developing the group in the summer of 2019, when the two were both just rising sophomores at the University. At that point, Hayman had already gathered a remarkably impressive resume in the music industry with experience planning concerts and marketing music for some of the hottest acts in hip hop.
The idea for MMBC came to Hayman after the success of rapper Safari’s “Late Night Lover,” a song he had helped advertise. He realized he had nobody on campus to share this moment of accomplishment with. Hearing that Alexe had also been looking to enter the music industry, the two built an organization that seeks to make up for the lack of a music business major on campus.
“We just want to excite people and make them want to come to our events,” Alexe explained. “We think the best way to do that is to have these exciting people with super cool experiences come in and tell us what it was like working with Kanye. Tell us what it was like driving to Colorado to sit at a Nirvana concert and listen to them for the first time before signing them. These are such cool stories and it’s so intimate that everyone gets a lot out of it.”
Indeed, it’s hard not to be impressed by the list of people the club has managed to secure: the former marketing director of Kanye West’s Yeezy apparel, a head executive from Coachella Music and Arts Festival, managers of artists like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters and The Chainsmokers. And these are just to name a few.
With the availability of Zoom and the increased normalcy of over-the-computer meetings, the pandemic has only made it easier for the MMBC to bring in notable speakers — though, they explain, they had been hosting some meetings over FaceTime even before COVID-19 had reached campus. This, along with an impressive social media rollout, has allowed the infant group to continue expanding even in the midst of a global crisis.
“We expect to have even greater turnouts for our future events once things are back in person,” Hayman said. “The club is just exponentially growing and we expect MMBC to grow into the biggest club that Michigan has ever seen.” If that sounds like a bold proclamation, that’s because it is.
If asked why they built the club, Hayman and Alexe will tell you how important it is to have a passion for music and to build a community for those with like-minded goals. While this is undoubtedly true, make no mistake — the MMBC is a well-oiled machine and their ambitions are trekking toward something bigger than a passion project. Few things are out of reach for these aspiring professionals, and if you are looking to one day score a job in the music industry, the Michigan Music Business Club is the place to be.
Daily Arts Writer Ben Servetah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.