Associate Degree in Music Business: Program Information

Oct 21, 2019

Essential Information

Many schools offer associate's degree programs in music business. To apply, prospective students must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. They must also submit transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Some schools require that applicants be musicians and audition for admission. AS and AAS in Music Business programs take about two years of full-time study to complete.

Students can expect to learn about the music industry's basic business models, with particular focus on the audio content in which it specializes and the artists who produce that content. Some programs request that students choose several liberal arts electives such as art history or a foreign language. Additionally, there are schools that offer concentration tracks for students who want to specialize in performance, production or business management.

Associate's Degree Programs in Music Business

Students in these programs are immersed in the study of analog and digital recording technologies, music copyright law, live music production, social networking and other promotional strategies, artist contracts and digital distribution. Other courses explore the history of music, music appreciation and ear training. While completing their coursework, students are given opportunities to gain practical experience by operating their own record labels or small businesses. Core coursework in this field usually covers general business practices and how they relate to music commerce. Topics in law, music performance and computer science are commonly integrated into music business curricula, resulting in a range of potential course titles:

  • Audio recording and ear training
  • Business principles and music
  • Computer applications of music technology
  • Marketing strategies
  • Music appreciation and piano technique
  • Synthesizers and electronic music

Popular Career Options

Degree holders are qualified to pursue positions within the music industry that span the fields of retail, publishing, advertising and technical support. Potential job titles include:

  • Artist manager
  • Concert promotion specialist
  • Intellectual property agent
  • Music publisher
  • Song copyright administrator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects slower-than-average job growth of 1% for music directors and composers and 8% job growth for broadcast and sound engineering technicians, which is about as fast as the national average, from 2018 to 2028. In May 2018, the BLS reported that music directors and composers earned a median annual of $49,630, while the median annual salary for sound engineering technicians was $52,390.

Continuing Education Info

Graduates of associate's degree programs in this field often enter related bachelor's degree programs. Aside from specific music business programs, they may pursue degrees in analogous fields such as business management or mass media. After completing bachelor's level studies, they can eventually seek a Master of Arts in Music Business or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree for additional business expertise.

Students interested in a career in the business side of music can get the interdisciplinary training they need through associate's degree programs in music business. These programs include the hands-on training graduates need to seek entry-level jobs in artist management, marketing, promotions and more.

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