Individuals interested in a business career in the music industry can earn degrees at the associate's, bachelor's, and master's levels through online study. However, these programs are rarely offered online. Some degree programs combine a few online courses with on-campus studies.
Music management programs include general education classes along with courses in basic business principles and how they are utilized in the music industry. Students may explore topics such as copyright law, concert promotion, and artist management. The basics of audio production may be covered as well, and may require special software for online students. Bachelor's degree students get a more intensive education in music management and may be required to complete a comprehensive final project.
Master's degree programs in entertainment business are designed to give graduates the comprehensive knowledge and skills they will need to start their own management or production company. Courses focus on finance, marketing and legal issues. Video conferencing with industry professionals may be part of the program.
Associate Degrees in Music Business
Although not commonly offered, a 2-year music business degree program is available via distance learning. Students learn how to manage a business and endorse clients, in addition to gaining insight into the music industry. Marketing and networking skills are developed for promoting musicians. Technical equipment operation and copyright laws are introduced for aspiring producers.
Program Information and Requirements
An associate degree can be obtained in two years. Students can access everything from course assignments to library resources entirely online. Interactive chat sessions enable students to connect with their classmates as well as with tutors. Special software may be required for audio production classes.
List of Associate-Level Music Business Courses
General education coursework in communications and math build the skills necessary for effective management. Concentration coursework covers a range of topics, from the roles of managers in the industry to techniques in music production.
Distance learners study the copyright laws for songs and recorded music. They learn about publishing contracts with record labels and royalties.
Managers are responsible for booking performances and promoting musicians through advertising and merchandise, and students in this course learn to do so effectively. Networking and marketing techniques are explored.
Digital Music Production
Students are introduced to ProTools, keyboard synthesizers, and MIDI protocol for creating digital music. Assignments cover the basics of audio production.
Bachelor's Degrees in Music Business
On-campus baccalaureate programs in music business are more common than fully online programs, though some options are available for distance learners. Programs are interdisciplinary and combine the studies of business management, copyright law, marketing, and music history. A final thesis project allows students to apply the concepts they've learned to develop their own business strategy.
Program Information and Requirements
Students can obtain an online bachelor's degree in four years. If transferring credit from a related associate degree program, the program may be completed in two years. Students may often take advantage of institutional discounts for special software that is required for some classes.
List of Bachelor's-Level Music Business Courses
Coursework includes writing and communication to develop the skills necessary for effective marketing. Classes in finance, statistics, law and ethics provide training for performing management duties. Industry-specific topics such as record label development and music distribution prepare graduates for careers in music business.
Students explore the structure of the music business. They are introduced to the responsibilities of managers in producing and distributing music.
Online case studies are presented to instruct students on how to write a contract. Distance learners study contract negotiation skills and legal terms relating to the music business.
History of American Music
A historical survey of the music industry is presented. Students discuss the role of technology and culture in shaping music.
Master's Degrees in Entertainment Business
A master's degree in business administration (MBA) is beneficial to music managers since limited job availability makes the market highly competitive. The BLS reports that only five percent of jobs in the arts and entertainment industry are in business management (www.bls.gov). While MBA programs are numerous, a specialized business degree tailored to the entertainment industry is rare; however, this program may be available on-campus and online. Graduates possess the comprehensive knowledge of finances and laws needed to manage their own record label or production company.
Program Information and Requirements
A Master of Science in Entertainment Business can be obtained online in 1-2 years. Distance learners are exposed to case studies to illustrate successful business models. Guest speakers, who might appear online through audio-video conferencing, help teach students to build their professional networks. In the final stages of the program, students create their own business proposal, including financial and marketing plans. Assignments such as finding options for financing a new production company might involve consulting private investors or bank loan officers.
List of Master's-Level Music Business Courses
Advanced coursework in team building, brand development, negotiation and finance prepares entrepreneurs to create their own business plans. Students gain the leadership skills to become executive producers.
Students role-play in interactive online settings to practice negotiating business deals and contracts. Effective skills and tactics are discussed.
Tools and methods for advertising events, promoting performers and marketing merchandise are introduced. The course may discuss how digital mediums for publishing have opened up new markets for distribution and publicity but also created new issues, such as digital piracy.
Managers are responsible for protecting their clients' legal rights. Distance learners gain a historical overview of copyright protection laws and performance and publishing contracts.
Graduates of an associate's degree program may find management assistantships in order to gain professional experience before, or in addition to, continuing in a bachelor's degree program. Entry-level positions in digital music production are another option. The BLS reports that most managers in the music industry have 4-year degrees. Graduates may become agents or managers for musicians, specializing in booking and managing tours and producing and publishing music. They may also find careers as promoters, who market music and merchandise and publicize performances.
According to the BLS, business managers and agents of performers made an average wage of $46.90 per hour in 2015, resulting in an annual salary of $97,560. In that same year, promoters of all types of events - including performing arts - made $33.33 hourly on average and $69,340 yearly (www.bls.gov).
Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in music management are rarely offered online, but are available for students wishing to pursue future careers as managers and agents of performers as well as promoters. Coursework varies according to the level of education, but topics of study can include entertainment marketing, history of music and music production.