Youth Project Connects Music To A Social Cause
Recently, I spoke with Samantha Beinhacker, who is Co-Founder and COO of American Urban Collective, a youth project for the music industry that seeks to give youth a practical education in creative industry skills. They are launching their first American project in Philadelphia in 2011 at The Enterprise Center . In this interview, Beinhacker explains how the project works, the social impact they are making with music, and their collaboration with Kickstarter.
How does Urban Collective work?
Urban Collective partners with a local community center that is located in under-resourced urban communities. We select a group of aspiring young artists and producers (aged 15-25) chosen from open auditions, and run the kids through an intensive educational course teaching them how to make original music, record, and promote their creative output for independent release.
We also build recording studios in the local community to facilitate employment and ongoing education and training. Our artist management company then selects the "best of" talent to take to the mainstream. The experience is free to the youth who participate.
Why do consider it a new model for the music industry?
It works similar to the way a baseball farm team works by filtering and nurturing talent. It is a new, cost-effective, artist-driven A&R model for the music industry with a positive social impact on young people living in underserved areas.
What kind of social impact are you making?
Music can serve as a bridge to a better life opening doors and access. It is not just about the poverty of money for these kids; it is also about the poverty of opportunity. We have seen that being part of Urban Collective has proven to increase self-esteem, reduce dependence on drugs and alcohol, and establish a network of shared aspirations.
Why did collaborate with Kickstarter?
On Kickstarter, artists are offering cool rewards in exchange for support of their projects. By creating these mini-economies, people are developing value for their supporters. We are not a charity with our hand out for money. We are a social enterprise that aims to be financially sustainable, so Kickstarter's commercial exchange resonated with our core values. Also, Kickstarter promotes many artists from the DIY culture, and Urban Collective is fundamentally about training young artists to become producers, rather than consumers, of their own culture.
Here's A Look At The London Branch Of Urban Collective: