Josh Antonuccio - faculty at Ohio University

MDIA Music Production Students Working with Spoon’s Jim Eno

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MDIA Music Production Students to Spend a Week Working with Spoon’s Jim Eno in Austin, TX

By Erin Danoran

In December, Ohio University Media Arts and Studies Professor Josh Antonuccio will be taking five Ohio University students to Austin, Texas, for a week to work with Jim Eno, producer and founding member of Spoon, a band that’s making it big – playing major music festivals and selling out venues across the U.S., including their recent visit to Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio.

In April, Eno came to OU for an on-stage interview with the Scripps Visiting Artists Series.

“When Jim was here, we dialogued about ways to get students experience in the studio so we created a class that will send a group of students down to a studio,” Antonuccio said.

Students have shown extraordinary interest in the program, he said, and for students who are Spoon fans, the chance to learn from Eno adds even more value.

Antonuccio said Eno will be bringing in artists throughout the week for students to learn from. The first half of the week, he’s planning on bringing in a large band or two, and the second half will include a visit from a “very well-known” singer-songwriter from Austin in Public Hi-Fi, Jim’s studio where legendary artists have recorded and notable albums have been tracked. The goal is for the students to get live tracking experience with these artists in a professional studio.

“They’ll work with Jim to mix the tracks or organize the tracks at the end of that week and then basically get to apprentice with him as a producer to see how he works, how he organizes his studio, how he works in sessions, the gear that he uses,” Antonuccio said.

In addition to the Jim Eno master class, the Scripps College of Communication and the School of Media Arts and Studies offer other immersive experiences for students, such as OHIO-in-LA (a semester where students work in media fields in Los Angeles); Storytelling, Technology & Digital Media in Theme Parks (a class that culminates in a week-long trip to Disney World and Universal Studios); and South by Southwest (the largest national media conference) in Austin.

Antonuccio said the trips help students interact first hand with their respective career industries and land significant internships.

The internships and jobs in the music production and recording industries to which students can apply their skills are numerous, Antonuccio said. Creatively, students could end up working music or audio production, doing live sound or working with corporate entities. On the business side, students could go into music publishing, working live events or for a record label, promotion, distribution, publicity and more.

One area of the industry that has been growing lately, especially in regards to audio production, is podcasts.

“Three years ago you would not have assumed that podcasts would be as popular as they are now but you have this whole industry that has exploded,” Antonuccio said.

Podcast listeners are devoted to interviews or a series, such as Serial, which “became a national phenomenon last year in terms of telling an industry story using only audio elements,” Antonuccio said.

“What makes that such a compelling piece is not just the content but it’s the way they edit and put all the audio together,” he said. “I think as those new industries develop you’ll see those skill sets in audio being applied in a variety of ways that’s not just doing broadcast radio, doing music production or some subset, it can be many things around that.”

The music production and recording industries are ever changing, especially when it comes to monetizing productions and the technology used to create them.

Antonuccio said radio is the number-one medium for music discovery and Internet radio is exploding. Some podcasts are making more money than albums. Record sales are down, but publishing and licensing are growing. Streaming is growing “exponentially” but has a lot of room to improve.

“The whole industry is just tumultuous right now and I think that’s one of the big things we stress in our program is that as you go out into the field, it’s literally being created as you’re in school,” he said.

Antonuccio noted that companies like Apple Music and Spotify are brand new yet are defining the music market, especially in access and distribution. He said soon, virtual and augmented reality are going to add an entirely new category to media and news consumption and experience.

“You’re looking at a forecast for a $100 billion dollar industry that we’re going to have come online here in the next five years – it’s going to be unbelievable,” Antonuccio said.

Students have to figure out how to best move into moving fields.

Even Antonuccio himself has had to figure that out.

“That to me is what I love about the media and the technology field is that it’s such a malleable and ever-growing thing,” he said. “It’s never stagnant, it’s not static and it’s always requiring you to be improvisational about your skill sets.”

For students to keep up, Antonuccio said, “Be really good about what you do but also be very forward-thinking and visionary about the way you look at the career fields.”