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Lap Dog Music Group unleashes musical passion of up-and-coming student artists

A collage contains an image of Lap Dog Music Group CEO Jude Fucetola and the organization’s logo. The second-year music industry student said Lap Dog focuses on artist development. (Courtesy of Alf Bollardo; Courtesy of Lap Dog Music Group)

By Isabella Appell

May 16, 2024 4:08 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article misspelled Jude Fucetola’s name in a sentence.

This post was updated June 5 at 9:10 p.m.

Lap Dog Music Group is helping students find their footing in the music industry.

Founded in 2023, Lap Dog Music Group works with artists and repertoire, music curation and artist management. Jude Fucetola, a second-year music industry student and founder of Lap Dog, said the music group’s main goal is to focus on artist development through social media campaigns and web design. The artists have full creative control, so the group’s priority is helping them express their vision, he added.

“They’re (artists are) very new to the idea of building a brand and an audience, and they’re still trying to release their first pieces of music,” Fucetola said. “Where we come in is doing little things to help them get their foot in the door.”

As a newly established group, the organization first focused on operations and staffing, he said. Lap Dog Music Group currently represents four student artists, with whom it collaborates to further the organization’s mission of artistic development, Fucetola said. Madison Gee, a first-year music industry student and head of artists and repertoire, said Lap Dog’s goal is to sign at least one more artist this season. She said its strategy consists of observing peers, attending new shows and looking at emerging works and personas.

[Related: UCLA graduate student creates open venue for experimental music artists]

Gee said the main project currently in the works is creating monthly playlists. The first playlist in the series launched at the start of May, a day after it was announced to the public. Containing 20 songs, the May playlist offers a mix of mostly newer artists and a handful of mainstream ones, all of different genres, Gee said. Generally, artists on the playlists tend to have about 500,000 monthly listeners, she added.

Cassandra Carraher, a second-year music industry student and head of the group’s legal operations, said building relationships with Lap Dog’s artists is a point of focus. She said the group acts as a resource center for its artists.

In terms of other projects, Lap Dog also promotes its artists through external events, said Coco Mori, a second-year music industry student and the head of the group’s events. She said the organization ultimately hopes to branch out of UCLA, starting first with the Westwood community and moving toward becoming established in the local Los Angeles music scene.

Looking toward the future, Lap Dog intends to focus on doing more music curation and increasing its social media presence, Fucetola said. Comfort between artists and staffers of Lap Dog is integral to the success of any creative project, he added. Furthermore, Fucetola said maintaining open communication is crucial.

“We’re focusing on artists that don’t have … the resources available to be able to do all these different things,” Fucetola said. “It’s really difficult nowadays for artists who are also college students to be able to build a website, do all the little extra things that are integral to an artist’s success.”

[Related: SYNC seeks to harmonize creative efforts of UCLA singer-songwriters, filmmakers]

Mori said the Lap Dog staff members not only serve as managers but can also act as artists themselves. For Mori, her interests lie both in the business side of music and in performing. As she works on recording her own EP, Mori said Lap Dog has helped her with the creative aspect of the project.

In addition, Fucetola said bridging his work as an instrumentalist and the work he does with Lap Dog could be a potential source for growth and allow him to connect with the artists part of the music group. Aspiring to be the next generation of the music industry, Lap Dog’s excitement and passion for music guides it to assess the needs of its artists, he said.

“We’re all handling what we all want to do as a career,” Fucetola said. “We’re just as passionate and excited about doing this as much as our artists are about doing their own music and building their brand and whatnot, so it’s kind of a win-win.”

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Isabella Appell
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