Paul Young

Assistant Professor of Practice

  • Program:
    Music Industry
  • Division:
    Contemporary Music


Dr. Paul Young is the founder of USC Thornton’s Master of Science, Music Industry degree, launching Fall 2018. He was the recipient of the 2015 Steven B. Sample Teaching & Mentoring Award and the 2016 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Outside of USC, Young is a GRAMMY-nominated trombonist and was Director of Licensing and Contract Administration for Universal Music Group, prior to coming to USC.

After earning his bachelor of music degree from University of the Pacific in 1993, Young started a private teaching studio and performed at night while working by day at Lee Solters Public Relations as a junior publicist for Paul Anka, Michael Jackson’s MJJ Records label, and actors from the TV show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

In 1995, Young joined MCA Records working as a paralegal and a sample use coordinator for new releases by their artists, including Mary J. Blige, Heavy D, Sean “Diddy” Combs and Sublime. Moving over to their Licensing Department in 1997, Young became a licensing negotiator, sample clearance expert, contract specialist, and royalty collector for MCA as they merged with PolyGram Records (later re-named Universal Music Group), while producing several compilation records for their re-issue imprint, Hip-O Records. By the time Young left to come to USC, he had become a highly successful veteran of the record industry, well known for his ability to utilize his combined musical and business prowess, ability to forge lasting relationships and grow revenue at what has become the largest major record label in the world.

From 2004-2009, Young attended the USC Thornton School of Music to earn his master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees. As a graduate student, he concentrated on specializations jazz and classical performance, music education, 20th century music history and modern music technology, while serving several years as the lead trombonist in the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra and as a teaching/lecture assistant for the music industry department.  Young was noticed for his industry experience and talents as a lecture, beyond his studies, and quickly became a full time instructor for the Music Industry Program, well before earning his doctorate.

Young is a member of the Technology Institute for Music Educators (“TI:ME”), Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (“MEIEA”), and has taught computer music notation classes for the American Federation of Musicians in Hollywood, guest lectures at several colleges and trade shows, has been an expert consultant for national media releases about the Music Industry, and is on the board of the Rising Star Music Fund charity program, run by former music industry professionals to benefit under-funded music education programs.

Additionally, Young is a GRAMMY-nominated trombonist, and has performed live with countless artists, including Diana Krall, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby McFerrin, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Brubeck, Terry Gibbs, Gerald Wilson, Les Brown, Bill Holman, Bill Watrous, Med Flory, Steve Miller, Michael Bolton, Stevie Wonder, Take 6, Patti Austin, Wynonna Judd, Natalie Cole, Jason Mraz, Bebe Winans, Ledisi, Monica Mancini, Seth McFarlane, and more. He has recorded for many Hollywood TV shows, including Family Guy, American Dad, The Cleveland Show, Mad Men, Vegas, CSI, The Last Tycoon, among others, and can be heard to this day as a performing member/soloist with the John Daversa Progressive Big Band, Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra, Ladd McIntosh Swing Orchestra, Emil Richards Big Band, Gregg Field Big Band, Tex Beneke Orchestra, Billy Vaughn Orchestra, Budman-Levy Orchestra and his own jazz quintet at the Lighthouse Café jazz club (as seen in the movie La La Land) in Hermosa Beach.

Professional experience

Career Highlights:


  • Director, Licensing and Contract Administration, Universal Music Enterprises (1995-2004)
  • Publicist, Lee Solters Public Relations (1994-1995)


  1. Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles (BFM Jazz). June 2016 (3x Grammy Nominated LP 2017)
  2. Junk Wagon (BFM Jazz). May 2010
  • JOHN BEASLEY PRESENTS MONKESTRA, VOL. 1 (Mack Ave) (Conway Studios). Aug. 2016 (Grammy Nominated LP 2017)
  • BRENNA WHITAKER (David Foster, Producer; Verve/Universal Music). Nov. 2015
  • CHRIS WALDEN BIG BAND – Full On (Capitol Records). August 2015


  • FAMILY GUY / AMERICAN DAD / CLEVELAND SHOW – FOX. Aug. 2011 – present; 20+ sessions
  • THE LAST TYCOON – Amazon Video – 2017
  • MAD MEN – AMC – 2013
  • VEGAS – CBS Television – 2012-2013
  • PROMISED LAND – Matt Damon feature film/Focus Features – 2012


Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Southern California (2016)
  • Steven B. Sample Teaching & Mentoring Award, University of Southern California (2015)
  • Steven B. Sample Teaching & Mentoring Award Nomination, University of Southern California (2014)