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Launching a label

Six Music Business students sit on a set of stairs outside.
Top (L-R): Juan Rivas, Nik MacDonald, Christian Aligasim. Bottom (L-R): Ezra Mendel, Megan Henebury, Maisie Gilbert. Missing from photo: Jayden King.

When you work hard, dream big and surround yourself with like-minded people, anything is possible. Seven Music Business students graduated in June and have already launched a business that is taking off after signing its first artist to a record deal.

Lulo Music Group started as a class assignment where students learn about artist management, marketing and release strategies for new artists. Megan Henebury (Megs) is a singer and songwriter from Montreal, Quebec who moved to Nova Scotia to enroll in the Music Business program. She is one of seven classmates with varying degrees of interest and involvement who are now part of Lulo Music Group – a business that provides a safe and inclusive platform for artists who want to access music business services.

Celebrating diversity and empowering unique musicians is part of their business model. “We’re a diverse team with a variety of ethnic, gender and sexuality backgrounds so that is really important to us,” she says. “We want to make sure that we are working with not only great artists, but good people who share the same values as us regarding diversity and inclusion.”

The business name, “Lulo” complements their unique business model and is named after a fruit that bears heart-shaped leaves. “One of our group members, Juan Rivas, came to Nova Scotia from Bogota, Columbia to study the Music Business program and one of his favourite foods is a south American fruit called the Lulo. It has elongated heart-shaped leaves, so we thought that was an interesting name and concept because of the heart that we put into our music and the music we promote,” she says.

25% of NSCC students are enrolled in a Business and Creative Industries program – the largest enrolment of all five academic schools.

Source: Annual College Milestone Enrolment Count

An “artist-first” mindset

Lulo Music Group is passionate about running a label with an “artist first” mindset. “We want our artists to be happy and to not feel stuck doing something they don’t want to do,” says Megan. “We’re always looking for the best situations for them. It’s great we’re all artists or musicians ourselves so we see both sides of things – the business side and the artist side.

A signed record deal

A class project tasked the Music Business students with getting a bill of artists together and putting on a sold-out show. Good Dear Good – a 4-piece band of NSCC Music Arts grads, was one of the bands participating in the show. “They are also a diverse group that share the same values and passion that we do,” says Megan.

Megan mentioned that a few months later when they were ready to look for a band to sign with and launch their business, they reached out to Good Dear Good and asked if they could represent them. “We followed up with them to see if they had music ready to release and they were also looking for some guidance. It ended up fitting perfectly with our timeline.”

With a business plan already in place, the students decided to make it official. Lulo Music Group launched in January 2023 and signed with their first artist – indie pop group Good Dear Good.

Tim Hatcher of Good Dear Good says, "Lulo has been such a driving force in what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last few months. They are a really lovely and supportive group of people that are always willing to help out and offer advice. It’s a pleasure and benefit to have them in our corner.”

Preparing students for success

Music Business program instructor, Evan Newman, says the program focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship and prepares students with the skills they need to thrive in the global music industry. “Students are equipped with the knowledge to carve a pathway, to achieve their artistic vision, as well as earn a living from their art,“ says Evan. “The music business is largely made of entrepreneurs who started with an idea. Within this program, students learn strategies and best practices for making an idea a reality.”

According to Evan, students of the Lulo Music Group showed a strong willingness to learn by throwing themselves headfirst into all aspects of running a multi-faceted music company.” “I greatly admired their tenacity and their strong work ethic,” he says. “What amazed me the most was their ability to work together as a seven-person team and come together on a solid and clear vision of what they wanted to achieve and they went out and did it.”

Feeling the love

Good Dear Good released its debut album in June 2023, making it the label’s first release. “We’ve been feeling the love from our friends, family and the community here (at NSCC). Everyone seems to be happy and excited about our story and we’ve had some success with media like CBC, Global News, and Exclaim! as well, which has been really exciting,” she says. “I don’t think any of us expected there to be so much community support, or that we would be doing TV interviews. It’s been a little bit surreal so far.”

Megan says that although her initial interest in joining the program was to learn skills that would help advance her music, her passion for helping others has grown as well. “I started out in the Music Business program wanting to learn how to promote and market my own music but realized I am very passionate about helping others succeed in their music business as well.”