Clyde Rolston, Ph.D.
I surrendered to the music industry before I finished my undergraduate degree. Several of my friends decided, one dark and stormy night at the local hamburger stand, to start their own record company. As soon as I found out about it I wanted to play too. I spent the next seven years balancing school, paying jobs, and the record company.
I graduated from Louisiana State University in 1980 with a B.S. degree in Marketing. In December of 1983 I received my Masters in Marketing from L.S.U. In that time Centaur Records Inc. went from a fun distraction to a serious classical label with 3 full-time employees and sales of three-quarters of a million dollars. Not bad considering none of us had a clue as to what we were doing when we started.
After a brief diversion into commercial real estate I entered the Ph.D. program at Temple University in Philadelphia. While continuing my work with the record company I was also pursuing another personal goal, to be a college professor. Little did I know at the time that I could blend the two careers together.
After completing my course work at Temple I returned to Baton Rouge to work with the record label. I was taking a break from academics before writing my dissertation when a classmate of mine called. She had just interviewed for a one year appointment at this little college in Nashville and found out they had a music business program. She said they were looking to hire faculty in music business and thought I might be interested. Needless to say, I was, and here I am.
I was hired to teach marketing courses, initially a merchandising class we no longer offer, and Survey of Music Business. Now I teach the Marketing of Recorded Music class as well as classes for the Massey School and undergraduate classes in marketing.
I firmly believe that you learn best from hands-on experience and that is how I design my upper level courses. Making the class as close to 'real-world' as possible is difficult for me and the students, but in the long run it pays real dividends. One learns so much more from doing than from just reading or hearing about something.
My publishing and research interests include the impact of the Internet on music marketing, the effect in internships on salaries and hiring, and general music marketing.
These are tough times for the music industry. Some of it is self inflicted and some of it is the slow adjustment to a business market that embraces new technology. Still, the hard workers, the people with vision, will find or make a place for themselves in the industry. It is very rewarding to me to know that I play a part in the shaping of the future of the industry.