University’s Student-Run Record Label Empowers Students to Take the Reins
Rein Records is an independent student-run label that supports the dreams of the students who are gaining hands-on music industry experience, as well as the diverse artists they are promoting.
November 16, 2023
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Meghan Tomann ’25 has been helping to promote several artists who are part of the record label she’s working with. The label has a variety of exciting projects in the works, from releasing new music to helping to create a music video. Tomann’s colleagues are her fellow students, and the label is the University of New Haven’s own Rein Records.
An independent student-run label based at the University, Rein Records endeavors to “give artists the reins” to control their careers. It also enables students such as Tomann to take the reins when it comes to identifying how to best support and promote artists.
A member of the label’s marketing team, Tomann is excited about the label’s wide array of initiatives that endeavor to promote the label and its artists, from Spotify playlists and podcasts with artists to Rein Records t-shirts.
“I think it’s cool to see the marketing side of the music industry,” said Tomann, a music industry major. “It’s been amazing to interact with the artists.”
‘This isn’t a mock label’
As part of their “Record Label” class, teams of students recently presented their plans for promoting the artists they are working with. Liela Marrett ’24 is excited to be working with Chris Chase, a rapper and producer from Washington, D.C. She and her team created a plan for Chase’s social media presence, and they also envision merchandise, such as shirts and hats.
“This has been very hands-on, and it’s teaching me what I want to do in the music industry,” said Marrett, a music industry major. “Not a lot of music programs offer students an opportunity like this to be part of a label.”
It’s been an exciting semester for the students who are part of the label. iumi, a Rein Records artist who creates folk and alternative music based in Philadelphia, released a new EP as a limited edition CD. The label will soon be shooting a video with Ayminor, a pop and R&B singer/songwriter based in the Greater New York area. They also signed a new Latin EDM (electronic dance music) artist.
“I see this as preparation for when we graduate,” said Mariana Daza ’25, a music and sound recording major. “This isn’t a mock label – it’s real. And it’s also introducing me to what goes on in the industry. Being a part of it is like an internship.”
‘The best way for students to learn is by doing’
Prof. Mark Tavern oversees the label and teaches the Record Label class. Prof. Tavern brings more than 20 years of experience in the music industry, serving in roles such as artist manager, consultant, and advocate.
While listening to the students’ recent presentations, Prof. Tavern offered his feedback, advice, and recommendations to each team. Drawing from his own vast experience, he encouraged and coached them, asking thought-provoking questions and offering his support. He emphasized the importance of building relationships and checking in.
"Working with both student and local talent has been a way for the Rein Records team to learn about the music industry while developing their A&R (artists and repertoire), marketing, business writing and communication skills,” he said. “Everything in the music business is changing so rapidly that the best way for students to learn is by doing. Rein Records puts our students in real-life situations with real-life recording artists and challenges them to figure out who to sign and how to market their music.
‘Great to get experience’
While working with artists, students have the creative freedom to make their own decisions and follow through on them. They can design and sell merchandise, making all the decisions regarding how many of each item to create and how much they should cost, as well as what company should produce the items. They also enlist artists’ feedback and input.
“This whole class is like a mini record label itself, marketing-wise,” said Ryan Valin ’27, a member of the marketing team and a music industry major. “Everything we do is applicable and very realistic – that’s what I like best. It’s exactly what I came to the University for.”
Established in 2020, Rein Records aims to be a part of a diverse local music community. Students collaborate to help up-and-coming artists achieve their dreams while following their own.
“It’s fun to see what goes on behind the scenes in the industry,” said Jomanie Jean Louis ’24, a music industry major. “It’s great to get experience with artists and fans. Doing this while we’re in school, we get pointers, guidance, and Professor Tavern’s experience in the industry.”
In addition to supporting artists, Rein Records also offers Chargers the hands-on experience they need to excel in the music industry. Being a part of the label is a unique and hands-on opportunity that students such as Tomann, the music industry major and marketing team member, are charged up to be a part of.