Category: career

Protect Athens Music Conference 2014



Just before Spring Break, students, academics, nonprofit organizers and Athens-area musicians had an opportunity to listen to a set of discussions at the annual Protect Athens Music (PAM) Conference, presented by the UGA Sports and Entertainment Law Society. Discussions on earning money as a musician in the digital world, obtaining health insurance and health care as a musician, and a survey of the local music landscape made for an interesting afternoon this year. The event showcased the unique presence of artists and academics in Athens who hope to help this town not just be known as a “music town” but as a “music business town.” The conference featured many UGA-related panel members including David Barbe, director of the UGA Music Business Program; David Lowery, of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker and a UGA music business lecturer; and Jeremy Wheatley, a longtime local drummer, songwriter and academic advisor for the UGA Honors Program.

This year’s conference was organized by Michelle Davis, a UGA alum (ABJ ’05) and former Flagpole music editor now turned University of Georgia law school student. We caught up with her to ask her more about her background, her path to her career choice and what this year’s conference was all about.  Find a link to this year’s conference blog and video of the discussions below.

Q: You organized this conference. Where did your background interest in music and law come from?

A: I've worked in the music industry in various capacities for about 10 years. I am just a huge fan of music—much of that love was instilled in me my by dad who played in rock bands for many years. While in college I interned with radio station 99X in Atlanta, spent a summer with Warner Bros. Records, and interned with publicist Michelle Roche. After college I started my own music PR firm, representing mostly Athens and Atlanta bands. My first full-time job was with Ticket Alternative, where I worked as a marketing coordinator, setting up box offices for venues and promoters. I then moved back to Athens where I served as music editor of Flagpole Magazine for three years before going to law school. That's the short version of my resume, but the main point is that through all these experiences I've always strived to be an advocate for artists. After seeing so many bands' careers cut short by bad contracts and bad management, I felt like I could have a greater impact as an attorney. I'm particularly fascinated by the intersection of law and technology, and my goal is to help artists navigate the ever-evolving digital marketplace.

Q: Why did you get involved in organizing the conference?

A: I was first invited to be a panelist with PAM in its first year. I was the [music] editor of Flagpole Magazine at the time, and I spoke about promotion and publicity. The event itself started as a student project under David Barbe's direction in the Music Business Program, but they joined forces with the law school student group UGA Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS). I wrote about PAM's second conference for Flagpole, at which point I already knew I had plans to go to law school. When I started law school in 2012, I knew right away I wanted to be part of SELS, as entertainment law is my passion. I assisted in putting on the event as a 1L, and then I ran for the office of VP of SELS in my second year, allowing me to take the position of chair of PAM. I am a huge supporter of any event/organization that serves to bridge the gap between town and gown. I think it's essential for the music scene to integrate with the University and vice versa, because the two can support each other.

Q: Why is it important to hold a conference on the topic? What is the value of having UGA be a part of the discussion of the Athens music scene?

A: The music industry is increasingly complex, and there is a not a lot of transparency as to how things work. Unfortunately, all too often artists are left out of the conversation entirely when it comes to debates about fair pay, copyright and technology.  I spent an entire semester studying nothing but the music industry as an extern with the Future of Music Coalition in [Washington]  D.C. last fall, and even I still don't understand all the intricacies of this industry. That's a lot of pressure to put on a creator— to expect a musician to know not only his/her craft but the way this incredibly convoluted system works. So, that's why it's important to bring artists together with the experts—lawyers, managers, academics and experienced artists—to discuss the issues that affect artists' livelihood.

Additionally, my goal is that PAM will serve to put a new spotlight on Athens as not only a music town but a music business town. This year we covered three pressing issues: making money online ("Demystifying Digital Revenue Stream"), getting health care coverage, and brainstorming ways to help our local music community grow more sustainable and successful. A cross-community dialog like this helps us share ideas and move things forward. UGA can provide some of the financial backing to make these things happen, as well as access to some of the experts and academics that we rely on for guidance. For students like me who are interested in working in the entertainment industry, events like this are integral to our education. If we want to learn to work in the field, than there is no better place to start than the music scene right in our backyard.


Want to see video footage of this year's conference? Visit


--Jessica Luton


Moving in Day, Finding Your Way


It is the beginning of a massive influx of students into Athens and the University. By one count I heard this morning, there are 7,500 new people moving into dorms and apartments and houses around town this week. That's a lot of new energy to contemplate entering a large university in a very small town, and there are all kinds of local news stories about the experience, as well there should be. Young people beginning a new part of their lives - new majors, new friends, new surroundings, new hobbies - brings to mind all manner of hope, possibility, potential, and of course, peril. There cannot be all of this wonderful potential without a downside; there's always the possibility of trouble. And the trouble isn't always bad. Sometimes trouble is merely things not working out exactly like you planned. You might change majors, multiple times. You might start preparing for a career next week that is very different from the one you imagine you are preparing for. Students (and parents): be flexible. You are going to learn a lot; make sure one of them is that you (both) learn to be open to possibility. Here's one example.

In August 2002, Brandon Stanton came to Athens and began studying history at UGA. Things didn't go so well academically, but he went to a community college, then came back to UGA with a renewed sense of purpose and got his history degree. As graduation approached, well, I'll let him pick it up from here:

During my senior year of college, I took out $3,000 in student loans and bet it on Barack Obama to win the presidency.  A friend heard about this bet and got me a job trading bonds on the Chicago Board of Trade.  I traded for three years.  It went really well for awhile.  But then it went really bad. Whoops. After I lost my trading job, I decided to move to New York City and take portraits of strangers on the street. Mom wasn’t too happy about that decision, but so far it’s gone pretty well. I’ve taken nearly 5,000 portraits and written 50 stories. And I’ve met some amazing people along the way.

His project, Humans of New York, is one of the most fantastic uses of the internet to date. The portraits and stories he shares are crazy, funny, tender, inspiring, reaffirming. They show us who we are in a way that bundles all of our individual traits together to create a bouquet of humanity. Quite a feat.

So how did Brandon do it? That's not the question. The question is, how can you be open to your possibilities? If you are one of the students moving into this town or one of the thousands of others across the country this month, you're off to great start. So, get started: buckle down and open up. Find the sweet spot between dedication and laziness. Learn everything you can and find out who you are. Oh, and don't lose that dorm key.


NSF Career Awards for two Franklin faculty members



'Data-heavy environments' characterizes our world perhaps like no other three-word combination can. Today it was announced that two Franklin College faculty members have received NSF Career Awards to support their work on the efficient management of large quantities of data:

University of Georgia researchers Daniel Krashen and Roberto Perdisci recently received National Science Foundation CAREER Awards to create nimble ways to analyze mathematical problems and combat computer viruses in data-heavy environments. The two will also conduct workshops and lead mentoring activities to develop student interest and skills in these fields.

“The success of professors Krashen and Perdisci in winning prestigious NSF CAREER Awards underscores the very high quality faculty UGA has hired in recent years,” said Charles Kutal, director of the Office of STEM Education at UGA who serves as associate dean and chemistry professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. “It also demonstrates the commitment of these individuals not only to undertake cutting-edge research, but also to engage in instructional and outreach activities that help to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.”

UGA history major earns leadership award from Army ROTC



UGA senior Orry Young earned a leadership award from the U.S. Army Cadet Command after completing its Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as Operation Warrior Forge. The award

was presented the Warrior Forge Commander's Leadership Award at the July 21 LDAC graduation at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. He was ranked No. 1 among more than 200 cadets in his training company at the 29-day LDAC program, the capstone training and assessment exercise for the Army ROTC.

Student and Alumni news


Students and alumni from the Franklin College are doing great things all over the world, here are examples from just two of those we heard about today:

Jason Carter, a BFA student in painting and drawing at the Lamar Dodd School of Art has spent the summer working as a studio assistant for Berlin-based artist Michael Markwick. A selection of Jason's most recent works on paper will be on display July 22-23 at Studio M3 in Berlin, Germany. For more information about Carter, his work and this international show, visit this site.


Art's Expanding Mission



A colleague pointed me to this Times article elucidating the role university art museums are playing on college campuses everywhere:


In the 21st century, university art museums have become more aggressive in extending their missions and collections to reach deeper into classrooms and curriculums not ordinarily associated with art. At Duke’s seven-year-old Nasher Museum, two members of its 30-person staff are devoted exclusively to finding uses for pieces from the collection to enhance course work in various academic departments. Medical students, for instance, spend a day studying visual art in an exercise intended to hone observation and description skills that Nasher staff member developed with professors.

A Duke professor of geology uses the museum’s collection of art carved from stone for lessons on the influence of time, oceans and weather.

In both instances, Nasher’s academic coordinators helped their colleagues in medicine and geology use art to interest students heavily influenced by the visual immediacy of the Internet, and to be aware that their careers were likely to include colleagues and alliances outside the United States.

“Students need to learn things and to be innovative and entrepreneurial in this new global world,” said Ms. Rorschach. “Art is about communicating effectively, about communicating visually, about understanding.”