The global music industry has experienced dramatic shifts in 2020. This fall, a virtual event series hosted by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will explore the current state and the future of the music business from the perspective of industry leaders and influencers.

The program, L.A. Sounds Now, will kick off Oct. 6 with a talk between UCLA alumnus Tom Corson, the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records, and Eileen Strempel, the school’s dean. Each event will provide a unique window into an aspect of the music industry, including the evolving landscape, opportunities and challenges created by COVID-19.

Speakers will include:

  • Susan Genco, co-president, The Azoff Company (Oct. 13)
  • Jeff Harleston, general counsel and executive vice president of business and legal affairs, Universal Music Group (Oct. 20)
  • Michael Ostin, veteran industry executive and artist manager (Oct. 27)
  • Michelle Jubelirer, chief operating officer, Capitol Music Group (Nov. 2)
  • Jeannette Perez, chief experience officer, Kobalt Music (Nov. 17)
  • John Branca, partner and head of music, Ziffren Brittenham LLP (Nov. 24)
  • Alexandra Patsavas, director, music creative/production for original series, Netflix (Dec. 1)
  • James Newton Howard, award-winning film composer (Dec. 8)

L.A. Sounds Now will livestream Tuesday evenings from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Pacific time. The talks are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit the event website for the series schedule and to register. The series will also be offered as a one-credit music industry course, open to all UCLA students, called COVID-19: Music in Our Town and Our Time.

“As a proud UCLA alumnus, I feel honored to support fellow Bruins who will one day shape the future of the music business,” Corson said. “Nurturing strong connections between the music industry and an educational leader like the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will create opportunities for the mutual sharing of knowledge and provide access to future talent. I would have loved to participate in a program like this when I was an undergraduate student at UCLA.”

The speakers for L.A. Sounds Now also have been named to the music school’s newly formed board of advisors, along with Mo Ostin, record executive and industry icon; and Troy Carter, the founder, chairman and CEO of Atom Factory.

The board will partner with Strempel to dynamically build upon the foundations of the school’s existing music industry program, which prepares students for careers in the global business of music and its hub in Los Angeles. Corson will serve as the board’s inaugural chair.

Like most creative industries, music has experienced significant disruption during the global pandemic. Tours, live performances and festivals have been postponed or canceled, revenue sources are on hold, album releases have been delayed or re-imagined, and artists and creators have moved online to connect with audiences at a safe distance.

Despite all of those challenges, Strempel said she is optimistic that innovation and invention will emerge from the pandemic.

“I celebrate each of our talented speakers,” Strempel said. “As leaders in their respective fields, these brilliant professionals collectively will provide us all with a unique snapshot of the music industry and its power to continually inspire us with creativity, and a sense of hope and transformation. Programming such as the L.A. Sounds Now series allows the Herb Alpert School of Music to be at the forefront of the digital landscape of 21st century music-making.”