|Full Sail University||BS in Music Business|
|Kennesaw State University||Music and Entertainment Business Program (MEBUS) concentration|
|Middle Tennessee State University||BS Music Industry|
|University of Miami||Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries (MBEI)|
|University of Southern California||MS in Integrated Design, Business and Technology|
|West Virginia University||MA in Music Industry|
|William Patterson University||MBA in Music and Entertainment Management|
Music is a major part of daily life for just about every American, so it’s no surprise that for a second year in a row the U.S. music industry has produced double-digit growth, with revenues accounting for more than $17 billion of the $51.5 billion generated globally. By 2021, music industry revenue in the U.S. will total over $22.6 billion.
As music consumption continues to grow, the demand for talented business professionals in music industry management will continue to grow as well. While having a passion for music and business is a great start to a career in this and other music industry careers, to compete in today’s competitive global music market, most aspiring music business professionals will need a degree from an accredited school.
Besides accreditation by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, the best schools with music business degrees will:
- Have a solid reputation for producing music business professionals who are successful in their respective careers
- Offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers the most in-demand areas of the music business
- Provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the music industry through experiential learning experiences such as internships, externships, and job simulations
- Have faculty who are active in the music industry
- Have an active career center with a notable placement rate
Some of the best schools with music business degrees are also located in or near major music capitals such as Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, and Miami. While location is important, students also place a high value on flexibility and convenience. Fortunately, many of the best schools with music business degrees also offer online or hybrid programs, or at the very least, courses or other components online.
We’ve identified below seven universities that meet all of the criteria of a “Best” school for aspiring music business professionals. The schools are listed in alphabetical order, beginning with Full Sail University.
Best Online Schools with Music Business Degrees in the U.S.
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University is an arts, entertainment, media, and technology school that serves approximately 15,000 students across 210 acres of campus space, including 110+ studios and labs. Known for its immersive, fast-paced approach to learning, Full Sail University is listed as one of the Top 25 Music Schools by The Hollywood Reporter and the school has won three of the prestigious TEC awards. This award-winning school is also regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and is licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education.
Full Sail University began in 1979 as a recording studio in Dayton, Ohio named Full Sail Productions. Today the school offers 93 programs leading to associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Programs are offered on-campus and online via the Full Sail Online platform. Among these programs is a BS in Music Business that takes just 29 months to complete online. Per the school, students in the program “will develop skills that extend beyond the recording industry into the realms of film, television, video games, and sports.” Taught by professionals in the field, courses cover everything from marketing and publishing to artist management. Learn more about Full Sail's programs.
Course highlights include Artist Management, Business in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Business Law, Concert Management and Touring, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Music Business Marketing, Music Business Models, Music Copyright and Publishing, Music Retail and Distribution, Music Supervision, and Principles of Business Finance. Students will also complete seven “Project and Portfolio” courses worth three credits each including:
- Project and Portfolio I: Business and Marketing
- Project and Portfolio II: Business and Marketing
- Project and Portfolio III: Entertainment Business
- Project and Portfolio IV: Music Business
- Project and Portfolio V: Music Business
- Project and Portfolio VI: Music Business
- Project and Portfolio VII: Business and Marketing
Project and Portfolio courses combine “hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments,” says the school. These courses are taken in addition to an internship, which can be pursued after the student has successfully completed 50% of the required credit hours for the BS program.
Per the school, graduates of Full Sail’s BS in Music Business are employed in fields listed under the broad “Agents and Business Managers of Artists, Performers, and Athletes,” as categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Sample job titles include Agent, Artist Agent, Artist Manager, Artist Representative, Athlete Marketing Agent, Booking Agent, Talent Agent, Talent Buyer, and Talent Manager.
Kennesaw State University, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw, Georgia
Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University (KSU) offers both online BBA and MBA degrees. Now, all KSU students can add the Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program (MEBUS) as a minor concentration to their major course of study. The 24-credit hour program, which also made the 2018 Billboard list, is designed to “provide the foundation of practical experiences, on-the-job training, and exploration of career opportunities in the music and entertainment industry,” says the school.
Because the program is an immersive, hands-on, addition to the major, students must complete an externship where they work onsite at least six hours a week. The school says that job placement is the primary goal of the MEBUS program. With its close proximity to Atlanta (a reemerging music hub), students will have plenty of opportunities to develop professional relationships in the music and entertainment industry. In fact, students have interned with companies such as Coca-Cola Studios, the Grammys, Sixthman, Red Light Management, Live Nation, Moxie and many others.
The MEBUS Program is largely based around events as well, so students will be required to participate in all aspects of these events. One such event is the annual study abroad trip to London, which includes an all-day visit with international executives at Sony Entertainment.
Students can expect to complete the program within two years. There are no additional fees for adding the MEBUS certificate to the degree and a certificate is awarded. Graduates of the program have been hired at the organizations listed earlier as well Joel A. Katz’s law firm, Greenberg Traurig. Mr. Katz is founding Chairman of the firm's Global Entertainment and Media Practice and the Founding Shareholder of the Atlanta Office.
Kennesaw State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. All degree programs in the Coles College of Business are AACSB-accredited.
Middle Tennessee State University, Jennings A. Jones College of Business, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is located just 34 miles from Nashville—the capital of country music. This is one of the many reasons those looking to break into the music industry choose MTSU. The school also offers an endless number of music programs—including both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Business. Offered through the College of Media and Entertainment, Department of Recording Industry, the undergraduate Music Industry BS is one of the schools leading undergraduate concentrations. Music Business is one of three unique concentrations offered to students pursuing an MBA in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.
The program requires 48 hours including 36 hours in the major, plus an additional 12 hours for the Music Business Concentration. Concentration courses for the program include:
- Applied Recording Industry Research
- Business Ethics
- International Entertainment Transactions
- International Popular Music
- Legal Rights of the Creative Individual
- Recording Industry Economics and Emerging Business Models
- Seminar in Negotiation
Program highlights includes Music Business faculty experienced in all areas of music and the opportunity to engage in real-world experiences through internships and Match Records. Per the school, “as part of MTSU’s Recording Industry program, MATCH Records strives to involve students in all aspects of a traditional record label, from talent acquisition and development, to production, marketing, and distribution. In turn, students gain real-world experience and opportunities for networking.”
MTSU Music leadership includes heavy hitters such as Beverly Keel, Chair of the Department of Recording Industry and former senior vice president of Media and Artist Relations for Universal Music Group Nashville, where she developed extensive media campaigns for icons such as Lionel Richie, country singers such as Scotty McCreery, bands such as Sugarland, and many others.
Head of the Commercial Songwriting Concentration Rick Carnes has earned 40 platinum albums with songs recorded by Alabama, Conway Twitty, Garth Brooks, Pam Tillis, and Reba McEntire. Carnes is also President of the Songwriters Guild of America and a leading advocate for songwriters and copyright protection.
Middle Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctorate degrees. Jennings A. Jones College of Business is AACSB-accredited.
University of Miami, Frost School of Music, Coral Gables, Florida
Frost School of Music has three focused program options for aspiring music business professionals and all are offered 100% online. Options include:
- Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries
- Graduate Certificate in Music Business
- Graduate Certificate in Entertainment Industries
The Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries (MBEI) is a 30-credit hour program that the school says is “designed to meet the specialized demands of the reinvented music industry.” It prepares “qualified music business students for these emerging opportunities with many opportunities to gain hands-on experience” during the program.
Core courses for the program include:
- International Music Licensing
- International Music Publishing
- Legal Aspects of the Live Entertainment Industry
- Music Copyright Law
- Music Industry Agreements
Electives help students develop skills in additional areas of the music business. Sample electives include:
- Arts Leadership
- Arts Presenting Projects: Create, Manage, Evaluate
- Performing Arts Center and Facility Management
- Sponsorship, Development and Financial Management in the Live Entertainment Industry
- Tour Management and Production
As a graduate of the Frost MBEI program, the school says students will gain:
- A real-world understanding of the complexities of the music business taught by extensively field-experienced faculty
- Access to a strong, active and dedicated alumni network
- A broad range of relevant knowledge and skills in live music promotion, music publishing and licensing, legal aspects of the live entertainment industry, and more
MBEI graduates work for major record labels, independent record companies, music publishing companies and talent agencies in various business positions.
The Frost Music Business and Entertainment Industries Certificates prepare graduates to take on leadership roles in independent record companies, music publishing companies, talent agencies, and more. Courses for the programs are divided among four categories:
- Music Business Fundamentals
- Music Rights Administration and Licensing
- Legal Aspects of the Music Business
- Music Entrepreneurship
Students can expect to take the same core courses offered in the MA program as well as:
- Entrepreneurship for Musicians
- Marketing and Promotion in the Entertainment Industry
- Recorded Music Operations
Both certificate options can be completed in as few as 16 weeks. There is no minimum GPA to be admitted to the certificate programs and no test scores are required. Transferable certificate credits may be used to satisfy requirements for the Frost MBEI or the MA in Arts Presenting and Live Entertainment Management. The MA is available online.
Miami Business School at University of Miami also offers a customizable Online MBA Program that allows students to tailor their degree to fit their interests and aspirations. Those with an interest in the music business can add any graduate certificate offered through Frost School of Music. Students can also declare an MBA specialization in addition a certificate or opt for the 42-credit hour Professional MBA + a certificate. Specializations require 47 to 51 credits.
For the Online MBA, a one-week residency and on-campus orientation and campus tour are offered, but not required.
University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. The Frost School of Music has been an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1939 and the School of Business is AACSB-accredited.
University of Southern California, Iovine and Young Academy, Los Angeles, California
Featured in Billboard as one of the nation’s best music business schools, the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy at University of Southern California (USC Iovine and Young Academy) is located in the entertainment capital of the world. The school offers a unique program that combines business, design, and technology as it applies to the entertainment industry. Andre Young, better known as rapper, producer and entertainment mogul Dr. Dre, and the Jimmy Iovine, the famous founder of Interscope Records, are the faces of the Academy which the school says teaches, “critical thinking” and nurtures “unbridled creativity at the intersection of four essential areas: art and design; engineering and computer science; business and venture management; and communication.”
The Academy’s BS in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation requires 128 units, including 76 units in the Core, and 12 units in major electives. Students must select elective courses from the school’s current offerings in Visual Design, Technology, Venture Management, Audio Design and Communication, or from future electives as they become available. Sample business courses include:
- Basics of Project and Operations Management
- Business and Professional Communication
- Design Consulting: Problem Solving for Organizations
- Design of Effective Organizations
- Founders Dilemma
- Interpersonal Competence and Development
- Marketing of Creative Disruption and Innovation
- Strategic Management of Innovation
- The Entrepreneurial Mindset - Taking the Leap
Students will complete a “Seminar in Entrepreneurship” and an “Entertainment Entrepreneurship,” as part of the business core.
Music/Entertainment related coursework includes:
- Advanced Sound and Audio
- Audio and Media Integration
- Digital Audio Recording
- Innovation, Entertainment and the Arts
- Synthesis and Sound Design
During the final year of the program, students will complete “The Garage Experience,” which is the Academy capstone experience that allows students to develop innovative projects leading to operational prototypes and viable enterprises. Students are mentored by faculty and industry experts.
While this the BS in Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation is not available 100% online, some components of the program are online and for graduates of the BS program, a new online MS in Integrated Design, Business and Technology is available.
This cross-disciplinary master’s program known as “Design@USC” offers coursework designed by a “collaborative team of world-class faculty drawn from the USC Iovine and Young Academy, the USC Roski School of Art and Design, the USC Marshall School of Business, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and other USC schools and academic programs.” Designed for “students and professionals who may be established in technical, business, artistic or other fields,” the MS program consists of 13 courses and just two residencies. With the exception of the two residencies, the program is 100% online. In 18 to 24 months, students will graduate as “leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to shape and build today's evolving creative economy.”
Although the program graduated its first class in May 2018, three seniors in the program co-founded a startup company, Mira, to produce an augmented-reality headset dubbed Prism and gained $1.5 million in venture-capital investment.
USC has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since March 6, 1949. The school’s music programs have additional accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The business programs at USC are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
West Virginia University, School of Music, Morgantown, West Virginia
The School of Music at West Virginia University (WVU) offers an MA and a Graduate Certificate in Music Industry. The MA consists of three multidisciplinary modules including Music Industry Foundations, Music Commerce, Management and Operations, and Music Production Methods and Technology.
1. Music Industry Foundations
This module consists of three courses at three credits each/nine credits total. Per the school, students will explore the “origins and development of the music industry and related intellectual property laws. The study and analysis of society, culture, politics, commerce, law and technology, all intersect at this junction and provide students with broad and deep understanding of the forces that shape the industry.”
Sample courses include Development of Music Technology, Foundations of Music Publishing Industry, Foundations of Recording Industry, and Music Industry Regulations.
2. Music Commerce, Management and Operations
The central module of the program, Music Commerce, Management and Operations includes the most courses and credits—seven courses at three credits each for 21 credits total. The module covers “commercial and operational principals, practices and models across the music industry at both the national and international levels from recording and publishing to product development and sales, with common emphasis on interdisciplinary interrelation and interdependence between all its components.”
Sample courses include Advanced Music Publishing, Advanced Recording Industry, Artist Representation, International Music Industry, Music in Multi-Media, and Music Organization and Commerce.
3. Music Production Methods and Technology
This module consists of two courses at three credits each for six credits total. Students will explore the fundamental technical aspects of music recording and live music production processes. Students will be provided with “the crucial technical understanding and knowledge necessary for appropriate interdisciplinary creative and commercial decision-making and operations.” Courses include Live Music Production and Recording Production.
Upon completion of all modules, students will begin the industry project (capstone). The three-credit course consists of an “approved practical music industry project, created and managed by the student, accompanied by various materials – written, audio, or/or visual – as appropriate to the project.” The capstone “demonstrates the competence to identify a problem, create a project relevant to an evolving field in music management, and/or produce a working product that is executed in a systematic manner using interdisciplinary research and management tools.”
Admission to the MA in Music Industry is selective and competitive. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. The GRE is required, as well as a CV, and a 500 word essay describing the student’s professional preferences, goals and aspirations. Students must achieve 153 on the verbal, and 144 on the quantitative GRE sections.
The Graduate Certificate in Music Industry is a 15-credit hour program that “methodically builds and widens students’ perspectives of the music industry’s fundamental regulatory and commercial mechanisms, along with the skills to manage and operate its systems.” Five 600-level courses include:
1. Advanced Music Publishing
2. Advanced Recording Industry
3. Music Industry Regulations
4. Music Performance Management and Commerce
5. Music Product Advancement
Courses cover music industry regulations, music rights administration and enforcement mechanisms, production planning, budgeting, regulations management and compliance procedures, and commercial production standards and processes. Students will also learn about mainstream music publishing industry models, structures and organization, and music catalog acquisition, administration and advancement methods and processes.
West Virginia University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The University has been an institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music since 1947 and its business programs are AACSB-accredited.
William Paterson University, Cotsakos College of Business, Wayne, New Jersey
Cotsakos College of Business at William Paterson University (CCOB WPU) offers a Part-Time Flex MBA that allows students to accelerate their studies with summer courses or choose a blend of flexible online, hybrid, and weekend courses along with traditional evening courses. The program has seven specialized concentrations, including Music and Entertainment Management. The school’s close proximity to New York makes it an ideal choice for students looking to be near some of the top recording studios in the country and other music businesses.
The MBA in Music and Entertainment Management provides advanced study in the areas of music business, music management, entrepreneurship, and entertainment law. Per the school, “courses have an international scope and are taught by industry leaders as well as full-time faculty.” Sample courses include:
- Entertainment Law
- Entrepreneurship in the Music and Entertainment Industry
- Financial and Economic Global Strategy
- Influence, Persuasion, and Negotiation Strategy
- Innovation, Strategy and Corporate Sustainability
- Management Theory
- The Current State of the Music and Entertainment Industry Credits
- The Music and Entertainment Industry
Students will complete an internship/capstone experience designed specifically for the supervised practical application of previously studied theory in a group setting. The experience takes place under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Study abroad opportunities are available as well as job placement. Currently 90% of CCOB MBA graduates are in management and leadership positions six months after graduation.
Graduates of the Music and Entertainment Management MBA go on to work in a variety of careers in the music industry including Artist Manager, Booking Agent, Entrepreneur, Music Distributor, Music Marketing Manager, Music Supervisor, PR Manager, and Tour Manager, to name a few.
William Paterson University has been continuously accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the region’s accrediting body for colleges and universities, since its first accreditation in 1958. Cotsakos College of Business is AACSB-accredited.
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