|Full Sail University||BS in Music Business|
|The Los Angeles Film School||BS in Entertainment Business with a Music Business Concentration|
|Mesa Community College||AAS Music Business|
|Southern New Hampshire University||MBA in Music Business|
The music industry is booming with a predicted $22.6 billion in revenue in the U.S. alone by 2021. Revenues nationwide are currently around $17 billion and globally, the industry generates some $51.5 billion. With industry growth at an all-time high, the demand for talented music business professionals has increased, with management at the top of the list. In response to the demand, a number of colleges and universities across the country have developed programs that prepare graduates to compete in this multi-billion dollar market. Some programs lead to a degree while others may lead to a diploma or certificate.
We’ve identified several top schools that offer a variety of program options for aspiring music business professionals. The schools in our guide are popular in both the academic and professional worlds and they are fully accredited. We are happy to report that Full Sail University, Los Angeles Film School, Mesa Community College, and Southern New Hampshire University offer top music business programs leading to an associate’s, bachelors or master’s degree.
Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Regionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Full Sail University is an arts, entertainment, media, and technology school known for its immersive, fast-paced approach to learning. Serving approximately 15,000 students across 210 acres of campus space, including 110+ studios and labs, Full Sail University is listed as one of the Top 25 Music Schools by The Hollywood Reporter. The school has won three of the prestigious TEC awards and it is also licensed by the Commission for Independent Education (CIE), Florida Department of Education.
Formerly a recording studio in Dayton, Ohio named Full Sail Productions (est. 1979), Full Sail University offers 93 programs leading to associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees. Among these programs is a BS in Music Business that takes just 29 months to complete online. The school says students “will develop skills that extend beyond the recording industry into the realms of film, television, video games, and sports.”
“From marketing and publishing to artist management, and retail,” students will “learn to be an effective player in the music business.” Course highlights include Business in the Entertainment and Media Industries, Business Law, Concert Management and Touring, Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Music Copyright and Publishing, Music Retail and Distribution, and Music Supervision.
Per the school, graduates of Full Sail’s BS in Music Business “are employed in the following fields: 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.
Los Angeles Film School, Los Angeles, California
Located in the iconic RCA Building on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles Film School (LA Film School or LAFS) prepares students for careers in the music business through its Entertainment Business Program and the Recording School Division. Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and home to more than 2,000 students, the school offers a BS in Entertainment Business with a Music Business Concentration and the broader BS in Entertainment Business. The 36-month Online BS in Entertainment Business with a Music Business Concentration is designed for those interested in “being a creative liaison between the music and media industries,” says the school. Students will learn about the “business concepts which help promote artists, market albums, manage concerts and beyond.”
Sample courses for this immersive, 120-credit program include Artist Management, Business Accounting, Concert and Tour Management, Digital Marketing and Social Media Management, Entertainment Business Law, Entertainment Business Management, Entertainment Contracts and Licensing, Introduction to the Music Industry, and Strategic Planning. Students will also take a variety of courses that can set them on the path to entrepreneurship. Examples include Art of the Pitch, Brand Development, Creative Entrepreneurship, Global Business, and Leadership and Organizational Behavior.
A Music Industry Final Project is part of the program as well as internship opportunities at leading studios and organizations in the Los Angeles area. Graduates of the program have been hired at ABC, Activision, Disney, DreamWorks, NBC, Riot Games, and many others.
The Online BS in Entertainment Business is described as LA Film School’s “standard degree program,” offering a “well-rounded study of business administration and management principles with a practical focus on how that knowledge can be applied to the entertainment industry.” The project-based program requires 120 credit hours, which can be completed in 36 months full-time. Students will take most of the same courses as the BS with a concentration, as well as courses such as Entertainment Business Technology, Entertainment Business Ethics, Intellectual Property, Introduction to the Entertainment Business, Professional Selling, and Television and Digital Network Management. An Entertainment Business Final Project is part of the program as well as the same internship opportunities offered with the Music Business Concentration.
Mesa Community College, Mesa, Arizona
Serving more than 20,400 students, Mesa Community College (MCC) has a Music Business Program that offers an innovative career and technical curriculum. The program, which leads to an AAS degree, requires 48-50 credit hours of study made up of major foundations, electives, and general education requirements. A unique component of this 100% Online Program is the option to choose a specialization in General Business & Marketing, Music Production, or Performance. Major Foundations courses include Music Business: Merchandising and the Law, Music Business: Recording & Mass Media, Self-Promotion for Music, and Music Industry Entrepreneurship OR Owning and Operating a Small Business.
Students are also required to take any Music, History and Literature course and they may choose to participate in a Cooperative Education Experience or Music Business Internship. For the specialization, students must choose 12 credits from their selected area. Sample courses for the General Business & Marketing Specialization include Cultural Dimensions for International Trade, Events Management, Introduction to International Business, and Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues in Business. Students may also choose Music Industry Seminar: Innovation in Music Technology, worth one credit and/or the Music Industry Study Tour, worth two credits.
The AAS program prepares students to enter the field immediately and/or enroll in a bachelor’s degree program.
In addition to the AAS program, Mesa Community College offers a Certificate of Completion (CCL) in Music Business. Like students in the AAS program, CCL students may personalize their program by choosing from the three available specializations. The program requires 11 credits in the major and 15 credits in the specialization.
Students in the program will complete Music Business: Merchandising and the Law, Music Business: Recording & Mass Media, and Self-Promotion for Music, and they will have the opportunity to complete a Music Industry Entrepreneurship and Music Business Internship. With the exception of these hands-in experiences, the CCL program may be completed entirely online.
Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) has partnered with Berklee College of Music to offer students a 100% Online MBA in Music Business. Considered the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world, Berklee College of Music has attracted speakers such as Pharrell Williams and faculty such as Susan Rogers, a veteran recording engineer, who worked with Prince between 1983 and 1987, including on his groundbreaking album—Purple Rain. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is approved by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
Southern New Hampshire University is one of the largest nonprofit, online schools in the world. Accredited by the NEASC and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), the school has more than 60,000 online students and 3,000+ campus students enrolled in more than 300 programs. The MBA in Music Business is one of more than 120 master’s degree programs offered at SNHU. The program includes four courses from Berklee and nine core business courses from SNHU. Together, the courses focus on Ethical Music Business Leadership, Music Business Strategy, Music Promotion and Marketing, and Financial Analysis as applied to talent, music enterprise and distribution.
Students can complete the MBA in Music Business Program in as few as 15 months, with two courses per 10-week term. Graduates will receive a diploma from SNHU noting the concentration from Berklee.
*Note: The MBA at SNHU is considered one of the nation’s most affordable MBAs. Tuition for the program has not increased since 2012.
Caulfield, Keith. “U.S. Music Consumption Up 12.5% in 2017, R&B/Hip-Hop Is Year's Most Popular Genre.” Billboard, Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries, 03 Jan. 2018. Web. 10 Oct. 2018.