Anthony Thompson is a veteran of the music business. Growing up in Detroit, this serial entrepreneur earned the opportunity to learn from the best minds in the game, and develop his craft with his own company, ATN Network, and companies such as Sony Records, Live Nation, and BET. Thompson is the creator of the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop, which focuses on teaching youth from ages 13-19 about the film and music business.
Talk about your start in the music business at an early age.
I started off in the industry at 12 years old. I started off doing children’s parties with the popular radio stations here in Detroit, which caught the eye of various individuals I was around. Then, I started doing meet and greets, and after-parties for the Scream Tours that used to come to town. The labels weren’t giving me much money at the time, but it still was a lot of money for someone who was 14 at the time. That’s how I got my start in the music business.
There’s a saying that, “If you can make it from Detroit, then you can make it anywhere.” How did being from Detroit provide you with the vision to constantly see where you were going, and to avoid some pitfalls that others may have encountered?
When you come from Detroit, you’re surrounded by so many different elements. I had hustlers in my family, but I also had business-minded folks in my family as well. I took elements from each individual and utilized them to my full advantage, which is why I can exist in a corporate environment, or the slums if need be.
How did you start the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop?
With the creation of the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop, I always had a spirit of wanting to help people. It’s something that’s embedded in my heart. I obtained my knowledge of the business by reading, researching, and asking questions. I was the kid [who] stayed at the end of the concerts and would talk to the engineers, and band members from the event. I also learned from my mentors, RJ Rice and Rodney Whittaker. They taught me about the music business. With all this knowledge that I have, I just wanted to share it with the youth who are looking to do what I do for a living.
With the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop, we will be giving students hands-on experience with film and the entertainment business. Students will have the opportunity to learn about publishing, royalties, management of labels — major and independent — and streaming. I also invited creators to help build this school as well.
What can students and guests expect at the open house for the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop?
Individuals who come out to the event are going to get information directly from me. They will have all their questions answered, and it’s also going to be a successful situation for everyone. This University is going to become a family. When you become a part of this University, you’re helping everyone win at the end of the day. Detroit is home to Motown and it’s time for us to bring that feeling back to the city again. That’s one of my many goals for the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop.
Thompson will be hosting an open house on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, for the Entertainment University: School of Hip Hop at Collective Studios in Oak Park, Michigan. For more information, visit http://atnetwork.tv/.