Students enrolled in a music merchandising degree program must have a solid understanding of the various genres of music, such as country, opera and popular music. They should also spend classroom lectures and studio hours learning about basic music composition, so they can have a stronger understanding of the art form they seek to sell. The majority of courses found within a music merchandising major focus on marketing principles, consumer behavior and business strategies.
Programs in the field are available at the bachelor's and master's level. Prerequisites include a high school diploma or equivalent at the bachelor's level, while those interested in pursuing a master's degree should already hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Students can expect to spend four years in an undergraduate program, while master's degrees will generally take two years to complete.
Bachelor's Degree in Music Merchandising
Before declaring a major in music merchandising, college freshmen and sophomores are often required to take basic general education subjects in mathematics, communication and social sciences. The courses in a music merchandising bachelor's degree program cover a variety of creative and business topics and prepare students for entry-level careers in the recording industry. A sample of some courses is found below:
- Music theory
- Introduction to the recording industry
- History of music
- Consumer behavior
- Accounting and business finance
Popular Career Options
There are several positions on the business side of the music industry that might be open to graduates of a bachelor's degree program in music merchandising. Some of these include:
- Music promotions director
- Tour manager
- Artist manager
- Music producer
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes is expected to grow 3% during the 2014-2024 decade, which is slower than average (www.bls.gov). These professionals earned a median annual wage of $62,940 in May 2015. Music directors and composers, which includes music producers, are expected to see 3% growth in employment opportunities during the 2014-2024 decade, which is slower than average. PayScale.com reported in January 2016 that music producers earned a median annual wage of $49,781.
There are master's degree programs available for individuals who decide to further their education in either music or management, depending on their inclination. Master's degree programs in management, finance, business administration, marketing, public relations or promotions might help those individuals who want to advance to leadership positions on the business side of the music industry. Master's degree programs in music and sound production might help those music merchandisers who are more interested in the production and creative side of the industry.
A bachelor's degree in the field of music merchandising may be a good option for students interested in music and marketing. Upon graduation, students can seek jobs as agents or music producers, among others.