Carnegie Mellon University’s MEIM Program to Conduct Les Paul Foundation Capstone Project
Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) Program Researching Multi-generational Impact of Legacy Artist/Inventor
Los Angeles, California – November 21, 2022 – The Les Paul Foundation whose mission is to honor the legacy of Les Paul has announced the legendary musician and inventor will engage in research Capstone at Carnegie Mellon’s Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) program at Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy during this academic year. The study, “Engaging the Next Generation Audience for the Legacy Music Artist” will focus on Les Paul’s role both as a virtuoso musician and early technology innovator.
“We are thrilled and honored that Les’ legacy is going to be the subject of a study by this very prestigious school. The Les Paul Foundation is always looking at how we can best translate Les’ contributions and stature as an artist and an inventor to new generations of music fans and this project could not be more in line with our goals and thinking, “said Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation. “We are keenly interested in the students’ findings and how we will then use them as part of our ongoing efforts to keep Les’ story, music, and contributions relevant to every generation.”
The project will be conducted by second-year graduate students based at MEIM’s Los Angeles campus and will incorporate interviews with industry experts as well as research from a consumer survey and other second-party sources. With 60-70% of record industry revenues now being generated by artist catalogs, the role that legacy artist assets play and its translation to new audiences has never been more important to the music business. Developing these catalogs with a basis of understandings from a group demographic that utilizes music and technology heavily in their daily lives is extremely important to any legacy.
“Not many musicians can be counted as true inventors or as inductees in the National Inventors Hall of Fame,” observed Dr. Dan Green, Director of the MEIM program. “But Les Paul literally invented the modern recording studio with effects like multi-track (sound on sound) recording, digital delay, reverb, echo–and if those contributions weren’t enough, he is also responsible for inventing the electric pickup, which led to his creating the first solid body electric guitar. It’s fair to say there wouldn’t be a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band or Eddie Van Halen—or Pro Tools or Spotify without him. In fact, he’s been called ‘Thomas Edison of music’ and we’re delighted to support the Les Paul Foundation’s educational work and outreach with this Capstone.”
Current musicians and the public constantly lean back to embrace those artists who came before them through sampling, placing legacy music in soundtracks (think Kate Bush in Stranger Things), and through institutions like MoPOP, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy Museum. Many artists have transcended their musical eras and generated multi-generational fans. One of the key objectives of the Les Paul Capstone study is to develop an understanding of what methods and tactics successful legacy artists (Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Whitney Houston, Elvis Presley, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix) and their advocates have utilized to best translate their life and work to fresh, new, younger audiences. The results of the research project will be presented in May 2023 to an audience of industry experts and insiders at MEIM’s Los Angeles campus.
The next generation of entertainment producers, creators, and leaders will use cutting edge technologies and data analytics—rather than gut feeling—to make smarter decisions. Heinz College prepares you for this playing field through hands-on experiences, highly desirable skills, and priceless relationships with the dual-city (Pittsburgh and Los Angeles) Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) program.
Combining the renowned creative power of CMU’s College of Fine Arts with the management and quantitative expertise of Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, MEIM readies its graduates to have an impact on development, marketing, production, distribution, and strategy at all levels across a global entertainment marketplace.
Across the two-year program, students have many invaluable opportunities for experiential learning, such as exclusive on-site class seminars with leading industry executives, Capstone Projects working with major entertainment clients, and cohort trips to film festivals, including SXSW and Cannes.