By Johanna Sommer
See Average's Logo. Courtesy of their Instagram profile.
In a typical semester, Purchase students arrive at The Stood or the Music Building several times a week to see music performed by their peers. From open mic nights, to recitals, to DJ sets, the student body hosts a variety of opportunities to observe, learn from, and be inspired by fellow students. Since this is no longer possible due to the pandemic, some students are getting creative in keeping student-life alive, and even improving upon the way things are usually done.
Over a year ago, two Purchase students began to think about the need for a resource that compiled all the student artists who performed around campus, so that their peers could share and discover new music coming out of the school. The result was See Average, a playlist initiative that aims to promote underground student musicians in an easily accessible way for students, artists, and non-artists alike. The digital platform launched on Oct. 9, with a playlist that includes 79 individual Purchase artists, including both producers and musicians, alumni and current students.
See Average, a play on the letter grade, was founded by friends Michael Acosta, a senior arts management major, and senior graphic design major Jasmine Everett. The two came to the idea after becoming interested in music production and sharing mixtapes through the student radio.
“We learned very quickly that a huge part of learning music production is understanding what the people around you are making, and understanding what the people before you have made,” Acosta said. “There was a desire to hear what was being made around us at Purchase, but there was no definitive resource to let us do that.”
Acosta and Everett took to creating a resource that made it simple to access the work being made by their peers on campus, as well as those that have already graduated. Their aim is to keep the playlist alive in the coming years, so that See Average can become a resource for students currently attending Purchase, alumni, or anyone that wants to listen, archiving and celebrating student work that could easily be lost with time. The two update the playlist weekly, either with new artists or when students who are already involved release new music.
“During our years at Purchase, we’ve seen the sheer amount of talent that this school has,” said Everett. “From music, to fine arts, to theatre and dance, we felt as though the talent of these artists does not always match the recognition they deserve.”
One of the artists who is a part of See Average, a rapper and senior at Purchase who goes by the name Hood the Shogun, believes that the playlist initiative has the ability to benefit student artists on campus.
“I think if See Average continues what they’re doing, they can be the bridge between Purchase College talent and other colleges as well,” he said. “They have the support from their featured artists, and... the drive to find new dope music, so they definitely have the potential to spread awareness for student artists.”
Although Acosta and Everett were planning on creating See Average before the pandemic hit, they have found it’s needed during remote learning as much as before- and maybe even more so.
“We definitely felt like the demand for finding new artists was already there, but then everyone had extra time on their hands, so the demand became way more evident,” Everett said. “Now, since in-person shows are non-existent, it's important to promote our peers.”
While See Average is currently a playlist exclusive to the Purchase community, Acosta and Everett are considering expanding to other colleges. The two are aware of the desire fellow students have to enjoy and promote the work of their peers, as well as the emerging market See Average may be a part of.
“We also definitely saw that the oversaturation of streaming platforms today will open the door up for new niche streaming platforms tomorrow,” Everett said. “Each major streaming platform is looking for its own lineup of exclusive original content so consumers stay refreshed and loyal.”
Everett said this search for original content is why she predicts companies like Quadio, a college-oriented streaming platform, as well as the venture she and Acosta started will become more prevalent in the near future.
Contact @see_average on Instagram for more info and check out the playlist ‘See Purchase’ on Spotify