Students who are interested in music management can enroll in an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program in music business. These programs provide basic training in the organizational, financial and legal aspects of the music industry. For an undergraduate program, students only need a high school diploma or GED, but to enroll in a master's degree program, a bachelor's degree is required.
Associate's Degree in Music Business
Aspiring music managers can start by earning a 2-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Science (AS) degree in music business. These programs introduce the basic concepts associated with managing and promoting artists. In addition to general education courses, students may take some of the following classes:
- Music publishing, licensing, and international publishing
- Copyright, entertainment, and business law
- Personnel management
- Music industry history
- Marketing and communications
- Music production
Bachelor's Degree in Music Business
Bachelor's degree programs in music business are similar to associate's degree programs, as they also combine general education courses with industry-specific business classes. However, because these programs last for four years instead of two, they provide a more comprehensive introduction to the field, and they may include internship and practicum opportunities. Some schools also allow music business students to specialize in an area such as management, marketing or entrepreneurship. Here are some possible course topics beyond what is offered at the associate's degree level:
- Record company operations
- Music intermediaries (agents, managers, attorneys)
- Concert promotion and venue management
- Creative promotion in new media
- Website design and management
- Music product development
Master's Degree in Music Business
There are multiple master's degree options for aspiring music managers. It is possible to earn a Master of Arts (MA) in Music Business, a Master of Music (MM) in Music Business and Entertainment Industries or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Music Business. These programs can last anywhere from one to three years. Most programs involve intensive internship experiences in the field, and some require students to conduct independent research and submit a final project before graduating. There are also programs that offer teaching opportunities to graduate students.
Career Options and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for agents and business managers of artists, performers and athletes was $95,810 as of May 2015. However, in addition to becoming a manager, there are a variety of other career options for students who finish degree programs in music business. Possible job titles include:
- Music publisher
- Music marketing professional
- Music distributor
- Copyright administrator
- Tour manager
- Instrument distributor
- Concert promoter
Music industry associations often sponsor 1-2-day long conferences, workshops and seminars. Topics can include booking techniques, media relations or virtual promotion strategies. Such forums are a way for music managers to network with other industry professionals. Industry websites and trade magazines offer news, current trends and business tips. Websites also feature links to helpful resources, including public relations, music publishing and government copyright sites.
An undergraduate or graduate degree in music business can be a good introduction to the administrative aspects of the music industry. Depending on their degree level, graduates may be prepared for a wide range of music management-related careers.