As the music industry continues to evolve in response to new technologies, California State University, Northridge assistant professor of music Carey Christensen admits that it is a continuous challenge ensuring that his students are aware of the latest innovations and trends.
Christensen said his new title, as CSUN’s first Mike Curb Chair in Music Industry Studies, is making that effort a lot easier. The position was created as part of an endowment Mike Curb, an award-winning songwriter, music producer, record company owner and California’s former lieutenant governor, established when he made a $10 million gift to the university in 2006.
“It’s a wonderful honor to be CSUN’s first Mike Curb Chair,” Christensen said about his two-year appointment. “Not only is Mike a leader in the music industry, but he has established endowments at other universities across the country.We have formed a network to share information and ensure that our students have the support they need to succeed.”
Christensen noted that the chair includes a $1 million endowment, which pays approximately $40,000 each year to support student projects, including CSUN’s student-run record label, Five to Five Music Entertainment, as well as faculty research and professional development.
“The endowment is enabling us to expand our program even more,” he said.
Curb said he was pleased with Christensen’s selection.
“It’s very exciting to have an individual of Carey Christensen’s talent and stature playing such an important role for our college,” he said. “He will definitely elevate our music industry studies program to a new level. It will be a spectacular opportunity for all our students.”
Christensen, who has headed Northridge’s music industry studies program for since 2010, was selected as the Mike Curb Chair by unanimous vote of his colleagues in CSUN’s Department of Music, said Cynthia Rawitch, interim dean of CSUN’s Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication.
“Carey Christensen has done excellent work in developing the music industry studies program,” she said. “By naming him the Mike Curb Chair, we enable him to expand his reach and support students as they make their way in the music industry field.”
Christensen, who also co-founded the Master of Arts in Music Industry Administration degree program in CSUN’s Tseng College of Extended Learning, said serving as Mike Curb Chair provides him with “incredible opportunities” to help the students in music industry studies explore all aspects of the business.
“The most common misconception is that the recording industry is the entirety of the music industry,” he said. “It’s not. It’s the tip of the iceberg.
“While the recording industry is going through a change in its business model, there is still so much going on in the industry as a whole,” Christensen said. “We want to make sure that our students have a complete grasp of all the music industry entails, including other major music industry sectors such as music publishing and licensing, live music, music in media and music products. The Mike Curb endowment and chair help us do that.”
Prior to joining CSUN’s music faculty in 2008, Christensen worked for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Inc. (The Recording Academy) for eight years. Originally, he served as a producer of Los Angeles-area special events, where he was responsible for educational and professional-development event programming music industry personalities featuring such as Quincy Jones, Jimmy Jam, Janet Jackson, John Williams and Randy Newman. He later served as senior manager of ticketing for the Grammy and Latin Grammy Award presentations. His duties in that role included management of multi-million-dollar ticketing operations for worldwide live-television broadcasts, customer-service call centers and trademark infringement issues.
Before joining The Recording Academy, Christensen worked in educational music publishing, book publishing and as an agent for Los Angeles-area musical acts. Christensen also is a double-bass instrumentalist and has performed and recorded with a variety of prominent musicians, from Neil Sedaka to Ben Harper. He holds a Master of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies and a Bachelor of Music degree in performance from California State University, Northridge.