Bringing 20 years’ experience and a vast network of contacts in the field, Mark Tavern is creating innovative, exciting, and meaningful courses and hands-on experiences for music industry majors.
February 12, 2021
When Mark Tavern began teaching at the University of New Haven last fall, he was immediately impressed by the collaborative nature of the music industry program, as well as the caliber of the students. He endeavors to share his expertise while instilling in his students the importance of networking and gaining real-world experiences while in college.
Tavern, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the music industry, is a passionate educator, as well as an artist manager, consultant, administrator, and arts advocate. He encourages his students to collaborate, support each other, and gain hands-on experience together.
“Whether producing or engineering each other's records, managing each other, or doing co-writes together, all are opportunities to hone skills outside the classroom,” he said. “This will strengthen their learning and build relationships that they will find useful long after graduation.”
The founder of Mark Tavern Management, LLC, Tavern has worked on more than 200 recordings in a variety of genres, and with artists such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Etta James, and Carrie Underwood, to name a few. He has also shared his expertise with a national audience, discussing the sale of Bob Dylan’s music catalog for $300 million in a story on NPR’s All Things Considered. He recently wrote an article for DJBooth about why recording artists and songwriters, such as Dylan, are selling their catalogs.
“This is usually the buttoned-down side of the music industry,” he said. “But it has been getting lots of attention lately from investors interested in buying song catalogs and driving a bidding war over song copyrights. This is a major shift in how the music publishing business operates, and I’m looking forward to discussing it in class.”
‘At the forefront of what is changing in the music industry’
This spring, Tavern is teaching a “Music Publishing” course that will explore the business of exploiting those song copyrights through print music, licensing, and mechanical and public-performance royalties.
He is also teaching a “Record Label” class, a continuation of a class offered in the fall, in which students began the process of relaunching the music department’s label. The complete relaunch involves creating a new brand identity, in conjunction with a “Design Thinking” class taught by Professor Brian Marks. Students have also been conducting the A&R – artists and repertoire – process, which entails a roster review of existing artists and scouting new talent.
“I worked at three of the major record companies (Universal Music Group, SONY Music Entertainment, and BMG Entertainment) with labels like Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, RCA Records, and RCA Victor, so it’s exciting to be able to connect my record business experience in this way,” he said. “Hopefully, the spring will see the class unveil a new name and logo and release some great records.”
Tavern is already looking ahead to the Fall 2021 semester, and he is rewriting a course that had focused on the physical music business, updating it to reflect today’s digital and streaming marketplace. He’s excited to be helping the University enhance its music industry curriculum, and about the experiences and opportunities it is creating for students.
“I have perspective on what students need to know about the music business and how to reimagine the curriculum to better prepare them,” he said. “The digital marketplace is really interesting, and this will put the class right at the forefront of what is changing in the music industry.”