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Jacksonville University’s Music Program Gets Down To Business

Courtesy Dolphinium Records

Students in Jacksonville University's music program aren't just learning how to perfect their playing, they are also learning how to navigate the music industry.JU Music Department Chair Dr. Tommy Harrison and Dr. Michael James Olson, assistant professor of music spoke to Melissa Ross about the department's music business program.

The program is on the cutting-edge of new innovations in the discipline, including a renewed focus on opportunities and partnerships between education and industry. Marketing and law are among the subjects discussed in the program.

As part the program, Olson manages the operation of Dolphinium Records—the student-run, independent, campus-based record label at Jacksonville University.

Olson constantly talks to his students about how the music industry has changed over the last 10 years.

"This year’s big lesson from the (Grammy Awards) was that 50 percent of the records that were nominated and won were released by independent artists,” he said.

“So the opportunity to have an independent label that students can be involved in, that they can release records in, that they can start from the recording and conception of the records all the way through the publicity and release phase, is really important.”

Olson explained that they talk a lot about how to have an effective and long-term career in the music industry.

Among the groups signed to Dolphinium Records is The Tommy Harrison Group, which is Dr. Harrison’s band. Their latest album set to be released on the label soon.

“In order to function in the music industry today-- and it’s been this way since the release of Nirvana in the early 1990’s-- is that you had to be able to market yourself in a variety of ways and have knowledgeable experiences in a variety of areas,” said Harrison.   

“We teach music intellectual property law, which essentially is copyright for musicians, and how not to be taken advantage of in the industry-- because they will-- and artists and concert management where you can learn how to manage an artist or how to be managed effectively.”

You can find out more about Dolphinium Records online at

You can follow Melissa Ross on Twitter @MelissainJax and Cole Gordon at @Cagordon33Cole.

Melissa Ross joined WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. During her career as a television and radio news anchor and reporter, Melissa has won four regional Emmys for news and feature reporting.
WJCT News Intern Cole Gordon is a communications major at the University of North Florida.