Arts, On Campus

From the Studio to Streaming Sites: BC Music Production Club Showcases Original Student Music Through Compilation Contest

For students looking to test the waters of music production, the Boston College Music Production Club’s (BCMPC) Compilation Contest offers a rare chance to have their work uploaded to leading streaming platforms, from Spotify to SoundCloud to Apple Music.

“The first compilation contest attracted me to the club because it gave me an outlet to share my music with other BC students,” Harry Zhang, last year’s contest winner and MCAS ’26, said. 

According to the club’s Instagram, the Compilation Contest is a submission-based contest, in which club members and interested students can submit originally produced songs or live recordings. 

BCMPC is hosting a release event for the finalists of the contest on Friday at 6 p.m. in the Vanderslice Cabaret Room. Finalists’ submissions are edited and uploaded to streaming platforms.

The event will feature live DJ performances by club members Daniel Mayzlish, MCAS ’24, and Juan Gomez, CSOM ’24, followed by an opening speech from Alexander Aboutaam, president and MCAS ’24. Then, the club will then play edited versions of the finalists’ submissions. 

Aboutaam said the goal of the contest is to motivate and encourage students on campus to share their music with others. He said the club’s executive board aims to expose members to different steps of the production process, from brainstorming sounds to distributing finished records. 

Aboutaam said after the submission deadline on Oct. 22, e-board members gathered to select their favorite songs based on their production quality, lyrics, and instrumentals. 

“We review songs together, essentially, like a label would, but we also give critical and technical feedback,” Aboutaam said. “Maybe the kick drum was thumping too much, maybe the vocal sample didn’t match quite right. There’s a lot that sounds acceptable during a casual listen, but it takes trained ears to pick out smaller inconsistencies or errors in production.”

Michael Bader, program coordinator and MCAS ’24, said students receive feedback through a mixture of email messages and in-person comments at general meetings following the announcement of the contest’s finalists. Bader said there were over 30 different submissions in this year’s contest, and the e-board confirmed there are 16 winners whose tracks will be played on Friday.

According to Aboutaam, all submissions for the Compilation Contest are edited to play one after the other without drastic or imbalanced shifts in volume levels between each track.

Aboutaam said after the Compilation Contest, e-board members spend extra time in the studio fine-tuning the final submissions with their creators. The e-board reviews certain audio elements including dynamics, compression, and frequency to perfect each track before it is released on streaming platforms.

For some, including Harry Holman, club vice president and MCAS ’24, the largest appeal to the club is the Compilation Contest itself because the submissions chosen as finalists are uploaded to streaming platforms. Holman handles the distribution process, which he said is a difficult job given how competitive today’s music market is in the digital age.

BCMPC was created in the fall of 2021, making it a relatively new student organization on campus. Aboutaam said he has been a member since the club’s inception.

“There weren’t more than 10 students and it was hardly a club,” Aboutaam said. “There were no scheduled weekly meetings and at the start of the fall 2022 semester there were two members: myself and Saama Sane.”

After the student involvement fair at the beginning of the fall semester and the creation of the  Compilation Contest last spring, Aboutaam said the club saw over 70 new faces at its first general meeting at the start of the semester. As president, Aboutaam said he has led the e-board to increase outreach on campus.

“There are so many freshmen in the club …  probably half our members are freshmen, and more than half are people who were not in the club last year,” Aboutaam said. 

Bader said the club welcomes all students and club members do not have to participate in the contest or feel pressure to produce high-quality, finished sounds. 

In addition to being a place for students to learn about the technical software and creative processes involved in production, BC Music Production Club is a community where students can meet and share their own projects, according to its members. 

“I love being in a place where everyone is so passionate about making music and willing to offer feedback and sort of expand on each other’s creativity,” Griffin Bassett, club member and MCAS ’24, said. “ I think it’s really cool for that.”

November 2, 2023