Professor Benom Plumb Is The Pinnacle Of Passion
HIGH POWERED AND WELL TRAVELED
Universities take pride in having recognized professionals in the classroom. Having transplanted directly from Nashville, Assistant Professor of Music & Entertainment Industry Studies Benom Plumb does just that for CU Denver students. Ushering cutting-edge and relevant industry knowledge into classes like Music Publishing and Intro to the Music Business, Plumb aims to be a resource for the next generation of aspiring industry professionals.
As a small-town man and big-industry expert, Plumb sat down with the Sentry to discuss his path in the music industry, lessons he’s learned, and advice for those looking to kick some serious heinie.
Plumb grew up in the small community of Marshall Texas. With only 20,000 people and a limited amount of work to make a living, Marshall felt like a smaller town than it actually was. From a young age, Plumb knew he wanted to work in music.
“I didn’t really want to do anything else,” Plumb said. “If I was going to go to college, I don’t want to force [anything else].” Without many options for employment in the music business in Texas, Plumb chose University of Texas at Arlington—a traditional music program with a business focus. The next years of his life were filled with a lot of fills: mastering the snare, drum set, and the occasional timpani—despite loathing its demanding and incessant intricacies.
“No. That instrument is not happening for me.” Plumb jokingly quipped of his time as an undergrad.
He was looking for something more. “I knew at some point I wanted to teach,” Plumb said. “I recognized that I needed to get at least a master’s degree, and I was driven to get out and get more experience.” His vision was also driven by wanting to be in a place where he felt the business of music was acknowledged. “Going to a traditional school, not everyone understood the business side of music,” Plumb recalled. “I had people who would tell me stuff like, ‘Plumb! What do you wanna work in the music business for when you can go work at the music store and sell reeds today?’ They just didn’t get it, man. Now I look back thinking, ‘Okay. Well then you just won’t ever learn how to get paid for your performances, compositions or other works.’”
The University of Miami boasts an accomplished graduate music-publishing curriculum, expansive alumni network in the industry, as well as a locale near major music companies. Plumb’s time at Miami was the fertile soil that blossomed him into the next stage of his career. “It really is an industry about who you know,” Plumb said.
While attending a relative’s wedding, Plumb met a family friend who had previously worked with Bluewater Music. Learning that Plumb was moving to Nashville, she suggested that Plumb consider a job at a music publishing administration company Bluewater Music. Bluewater hired him on a three-month probation period, and within a month, having kicked enough kister, he was hired on full-time. Plumb rocketed his way up to Vice President of Licensing, working with a variety of high-profile songwriters, televisions shows, and movies.
Despite achieving distinctive success in a short time, Plumb wanted to share his prevailing perspective on starting a career in music. “Working in an industry like this, you have to think about the kind of lifestyle you want,” Plumb said. New York, Los Angeles, and Nashville all afford opportunities to work in music full time, and even cities like Denver and Seattle are starting to provide fruitful employment possibilities. “I love the mountains. I couldn’t see myself raising a family in a city like New York or LA,” Plumb said, and remarked that “The music industry has the types of jobs that aren’t for everyone. It’s not about the pay, there are long and stressful work hours involved–but for people like me, I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
For Professor Plumb (who plays drums in a rock band under the same name), it’s about finding a way to let all of your creativity shine, and in Plumb’s case—whether it’s behind a drumkit or in front of a classroom full of eager students—it’s clear he’s going to rock it.