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Best Music Business Bachelor's Degrees

Apr 08, 2021

Music Business Degrees

What is a Music Business Bachelor Degree?

A music business degree focuses on understanding the various aspects of the music industry. Although the final product of the industry is the showcase of the musical artist, many others work together to shape an artists' career. Record labels, music managers, and entertainment lawyers are only a few examples of the professions involved. Music business students can expect to learn about the legal, financial, artistic, and ethical aspects of the industry. Degree programs also give students an understanding of essential business skills, such as management and marketing.

The music industry is demanding and continuously evolving. Music trends develop quickly and new artists emerge every day. Social media influencers, streaming platforms, and new recording technologies represent constant change. Music business students will learn how to adapt to these challenges and identify new opportunities within the industry.

The Best Bachelor Degree Programs in Music Business

1. Middle Tennessee State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9070 94% 47% 96% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

2. Columbia College Chicago

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27756 90% 50% 93% Yes Yes AP Credits

3. SUNY College at Potsdam

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8711 68% 61% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

4. Appalachian State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$7409 77% 73% 70% Yes Yes AP Credits

5. SUNY at Fredonia

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8717 71% 64% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

6. Ferris State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$12376 87% 47% 95% Yes Yes AP Credits

7. Greenville University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27910 56% 56% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

8. Murray State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$9174 82% 55% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

9. Judson University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29870 39% 58% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

10. North Central University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$25090 90% 51% 99% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

11. Dallas Baptist University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$30320 90% 58% 97% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

12. University of Idaho

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$8304 78% 56% 96% Yes Yes AP Credits

13. University of Illinois at Chicago

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$15214 73% 61% 78% Yes Yes AP Credits

14. Francis Marion University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11160 68% 44% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

15. Lee University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18770 82% 60% 98% Yes Yes AP Credits

16. Lindenwood University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$18100 88% 50% 100% Yes Yes AP / ACE / NCCRS Credits

17. Florida Atlantic University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$4879 63% 50% 82% Yes Yes AP Credits

18. Trevecca Nazarene University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26098 62% 56% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

19. Geneva College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$28190 53% 72% 95% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

20. Bethel University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$11448 90% 32% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

21. The Master's University and Seminary

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$25390 67% 70% 62% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

22. Madonna University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$23100 75% 60% 97% Yes Yes AP Credits

23. University of the Incarnate Word

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$32576 94% 51% 99% Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

24. Hardin-Simmons University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$30140 84% 51% 100% Yes Yes AP Credits

25. Southeastern University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$26620 48% 45% 99% Yes Yes AP Credits

26. Anderson University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$29230 69% 67% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

27. Oklahoma Wesleyan University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$27996 58% 39% 100% Yes Yes AP / NCCRS Credits

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Music Business Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

Many music business degree programs offer different concentrations. Some music business schools allow students to focus their studies on a specific component of business, such as management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Each of these prepares students for different career paths within the music industry. Examples include artist managers, concert promoters, and record company owners.

Furthermore, some programs allow students to pursue their degrees as performers or non-performers. Those who study as performers learn about music theory and enroll in instrument lessons. This prepares the student for a career as a professional artist. Students who enroll as non-performers focus on business-specific components of the music industry. This prepares them for managerial or marketing careers.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Music Business

Students enrolled in a music business degree can expect a wide range of coursework. Many programs incorporate principles of business as applied to the music industry. The majority of programs also require students to complete a music business internship. This allows students to gain practical experience within a music organization.

Common courses across degree programs are:

  • Music copywriting and publishing
  • Marketing for the music industry
  • Artist management and career development
  • Entrepreneurship in the music industry

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Music Business?

A bachelor's degree in music business is usually a 4-year program. The courses are typically spread across 8 semesters, with traditional semesters starting in the fall and spring. However, online learning options, such as summer school and self-paced learning, allow students to accelerate their program and complete their degree sooner. Depending on the school, between 30-60 credits are required to complete the program. These are formed by a combination of mandatory and elective courses, as well as an internship.

How to Choose a Music Business School & Program

When choosing a business school, students need to consider their specific career goals to find the program that is best suited to their needs. Students should research degree programs and look for concentration options that align with their career goals. Additionally, they should take into consideration both the mandatory and elective coursework, and ensure that they match their areas of interest.

Other factors students may research are extended learning opportunities, such as internships or work-study programs. This may help students who are looking to gain professional experience along with completing their education. Along with these, researching tuition costs, program length, and scholarships may also help students which school is best for them.

Lastly, students should also take into consideration the specific entrance requirements for the program. While some music business programs approach the industry with a holistic view, others are designed specifically for performers and non-performers. Musically gifted students who wish to study music business as performers are often required to audition to get into the program. Students need to research audition requirements, timelines, and locations to be sufficiently prepared.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Music Business Degrees

Educational institutions are accredited by national, state-level, and regional organizations. In the United States, higher education institutions are accredited through a non-governmental organization called the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Music business programs are also accredited by organizations regulating both business schools and music schools. An example is the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), which accredits business degree programs within the United States and internationally. Additionally, the National Association of Schools of Music accredits music degree programs across all levels of education.

Accreditation ensures that schools deliver excellence in quality and comply with high standards of education. Students enrolled in accredited schools have the peace of mind in knowing they are receiving a complete education and will obtain a degree that is valid and recognized within their field.

Music Business Licensure & Certification

The music industry is diverse and composed of many types of professionals. The majority of professionals within the music industry do not require additional licenses or certifications to pursue their careers. Many music business professionals, such as managers, producers, and publishers, only require the completion of a music-related degree program. Further education in music-related disciplines can help professionals advance in their careers.

One example of a music professional who requires additional licensing is a music agent. Music agents help coordinate all aspects of an artists' career, from scheduling to contract negotiations. As music agents are considered to be talent agents, they are required to obtain a license to work with an artist. The requirements for obtaining this license vary from state to state. The Association for Talent Agents (ATA is the official trade association responsible for representing agents at all major entertainment guilds. They also provide information on how to obtain talent agent licensing in different states.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Music Business?

A degree in music business opens the doors to many career opportunities. Recording artists are the most visible product of the music industry. However, there is an entire network of people that work behind the scenes to manage and maintain the artist's career. On the performing side alone, many musical groups and solo artists are supported by session musicians and back-up vocalists. Furthermore, artists work with booking agents

, tour managers, and concert promoters to organize performances.

Another crucial part of music business is the recording industry. There are various people involved in the process of recording, producing, and releasing a record. Some examples of careers related to the recording industry are:

  • Record label executive
  • Music publishers
  • Licensing agents
  • Composers
  • Recording engineers

In addition to the performing and recording industries, many career options deal with the business component of the music industry. These careers are focused on handling the management, legal, and financial aspects of a music company or of an artist's career. Below are few examples:

  • Artist public relations manager
  • Music marketing manager
  • Entertainment lawyer
  • Music business accountant

Continue to read to learn more about specific career options with the music business industry.

How to Become a Music Producer

In the music industry, a producer is responsible for overseeing the production of a music record. They establish relationships with artists, record companies, and recording engineers. Producers are unique in that they are involved in both the commercial and creative aspects of the recording process. Therefore, they should have knowledge of basic musical concepts as well as the workings of the music industry. Producers also need to be familiar with the technology and software used to create a record. A bachelor's degree in music business or a music-related discipline is required to become a music producer

The producer's job is demanding and quick-paced. They typically work with tight deadlines and have irregular work schedules. Producers can work from home offices, recording studios, or off-site locations to meet with clients and other parties involved in the recording process. According to BLS, producers make an average of $74,420 a year. The need for producers is expected to increase by 10% over the next ten years.

How to Become a Music Director

Music directors manage the live performances and recording sessions of a musical group, artist, theatre, or orchestra. They work with performers to help them prepare for concerts, tours, and album recordings. Music directors are responsible for shaping the entire musical performance. They work directly with the performers to understand their vision and bring it to life. For musical groups and solo artists, they also select session musicians and coordinate rehearsals so that live performances are successful. In the theatre world, directors form a crucial part of the creative team. They work throughout the entire production process, from music rehearsals to conducting the orchestra during performances.

Music directors can work in a variety of environments. Schools, religious organizations, theatre, and recording studios are only a few examples. Directors typically require a bachelor's degree in a music-related field. They will need to have extensive knowledge of performance, instruments, and musical concepts. Directors also need to have strong leadership and organizational skills. Many go on to pursue further studies, such as a master's degree. BLS lists the average yearly salary as $51,670. However, the job outlook over the next ten years is only 2%.

Professional Organizations in Music Business

There are many associations within the music industry. Each is dedicated to supporting and promoting professionals and member organizations across many different lines of business. These associations are present in all parts of the music business. The Music Business Association is a unique organization that joins members from across the entire music industry. Their goal is to promote industry growth and establish a network of diverse industry professionals. Members are given access to year-round events and educational resources. The association is comprised of more than 400 music business companies. Any individual who works at one of the member organizations holds automatic membership. Those who wish to join can apply through the association's website.

Other well-known associations within the music industry include:

What Other Kinds of Music Business Degrees Are There?

A bachelor's degree is the standard requirement for many careers within the music industry. However, there are other degree options available. Students looking for entry-level positions in music business may choose to pursue certificates or associate degrees. Furthermore, professionals who want to advance in their careers can attain master's or doctoral degrees. Continue to read to the different degree options for music business.

Associate Degrees in Music Business

Associate degrees in music business cover the fundamentals of the music industry, such as management, production, and entrepreneurship. Many associate degrees are offered on campus or online, giving students the flexibility to manage their schedules and learning goals. Common degree titles are Associate in Applied Science in Music Industries or Associate in Music Business. Potential career opportunities are business managers, agents, music directors, and composers. Below are a few examples of common coursework:

  • Music business accounting and finance
  • Music business history
  • Principles of marketing
  • Professional development in the music industry

Master's Degrees in Music Business

A master's degree is designed for students and professionals who want to advance their careers and gain specialized knowledge. At this level, common degree titles are Masters in Music Business, Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries, and Master of Arts in Global Entertainment and Music Business. Programs are usually 1 to 2 years in length and focus on developing high-level management and leadership skills. Many programs offer internships and research opportunities, allowing students to gain in-depth knowledge in a specific area of interest. Career opportunities for students at this level are diverse. Outcomes include music executives, producers, entrepreneurs, and high-level management. Common areas of study are:

  • Entertainment contracts
  • Copyright law
  • Music publishing

Doctoral Degrees in Music Business

Doctoral degree programs in music are intended for professionals who are looking to become leading experts in their field. The majority of students who pursue a doctoral program already have established careers. However, these programs are designed to allow students to focus their interests and research on a particular theme. Doctoral degree programs are titled Doctor of Musical Arts or Doctor of Music. Most business careers do not require doctoral degrees. Students who study at this level have may desire to work on a specialized skill, such as composition or performing. Many also continue to work in academia and become music educations. Some common areas of study are:

  • Music composition
  • Music technology
  • Conducting
  • Musicology
  • Music education

Certificates in Music Business

Music business certificates are for both aspiring and established music industry professionals. These degrees focus on teaching students up to date concepts and trends of the music industry. These programs are usually titled Certificate in Music Business. However, many schools offer more specialized options. Some examples are Certificate in Music Business Marketing and Certificate in Artist Management. These courses allow students to gain specialized knowledge that they apply directly in their careers. Certificate programs can take 3-18 months to complete and the majority of schools offer online options. Courses include:

  • Principles of music management
  • Music publishing and licensing
  • Entrepreneurship

Financial Aid & Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Music Business Degrees

The U.S Department of Education provides students with financial assistance through loans and grants. To be considered, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

State Financial Aid

The majority of U.S. States have grants or scholarship programs available through state education agencies. Many of the assistance programs are designed for students who attend in-state educational institutions. Applicants may search for more information through the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Scholarships

Scholarships may be available through federal, state, and local resources. The majority of schools also have scholarship programs that may be connected to a specific field of study or based on academic excellence. Students should search their institutions' financial aid website for information regarding available programs, eligibility criteria, and the application process.

Below are some helpful resources to learn more about music business scholarships:

  • Music Business Association Scholarship Foundation - open to employees, spouses, and children of the association, as well as, students enrolled in member schools
  • ASCAP Foundation Scholarship - run by the American Society for Composers, Authors, and Publishers. The foundation partners with scholarship programs from music schools and private organizations
  • William R. Gard Memorial Scholarship - this scholarship is offered by the National Association for Music Merchants. The scholarship is awarded to individuals who wish to pursue music education or careers in the music industry.
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