Schools Of Rock: Music Business College Guide
It used to be that the school of hard knocks was enough to land you a gig in the music business-but no longer. With the contraction of the industry increasing the competition for jobs and the advent of ever-evolving digital technologies, graduates need a strong foundation in business to start on an executive track. Here, Billboard presents our first guide to the nation's music business schools and the innovative educators who are guiding the students of the industry.
Click on a region below to read about the best colleges for music business in each area.
Reported and compiled by Courtney Baldasare, Walter Frazier, Emma Gaedeke, Elizabeth Hurst, Gabriella Landman, Palika Makam, Jillian Mapes, Craig Marks and Megan Vick.
Location: Reading, Pa.
Department Heads: Rebecca Butler, Adlai Binger
Courses of Interest: "From Demo to Distribution," "Artist Management"
Average Class Size: 16
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Music and Entertainment Industry Student Assn. (MEISA), Lion Records, ensembles
Admission Rate: 56%
Albright College offers a co-concentration in music business with a bachelor's degree in music. Students focus on working in both for-profit and nonprofit environments where the use of music and music rights is involved. Classroom experience prepares them for careers in music publishing, recording companies, venues, touring, talent agencies, festivals and promotion. Albright also offers national internship possibilities; past employers include Bad Boy Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records and EMI.
Bay State College
Department Chair: Patrick Preston
Courses of Interest: "Venue Management," "Event Management"
Average Class Size: Varies; generally 15-20
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, ensembles
Admission Rate: 70%
Participants in the "Event Management" class put on a concert at the Paradise, a prominent Boston venue, as part of the course's curriculum. On-campus venue the Spot is managed by students, where they book student bands and other acts from the area. Those who are studying for a bachelor's degree in entertainment management are required to complete two internships before graduating, and students interested in an audio production concentration have access to a full digital audio lab and studio space that Bay State rents out from Kissypig Studios in the neighboring town of Allston.
Berklee College of Music
Department Coordinator: Kim DeVito
Courses of Interest: "Record Company Operations," "Music Product Development"
Average Class Size: 11
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, Berklee Internet Radio Network
Admission Rate: 30%
Berklee may be most famous for its performance curriculum, which boasts alumni like John Mayer and former Taking Back Sunday bassist Matt Rubano. But the college also teaches students how to handle themselves in the music industry. Students gain hands-on industry experience by managing the school's Heavy Rotation Records as part of their senior practicum course requirement or as an elective credit. Berklee attendees also book local and national touring acts at Cafe 939, the college's performance venue.
College of Saint Rose
Location: Albany, N.Y.
Program Director: Mary Anne Nelson
Courses of Interest: Songwriting, audio production
Average Class Size: 12
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA
Admission Rate: 72%
The College of Saint Rose is a performance- and recording-based program for those interested in learning the ropes of the music industry to better promote themselves as musicians. Each student must record an album, from writing to arranging, engineering and producing it as their senior project. The campus has two professional recording studios and two postproduction rooms. For live performances, students run the campus venue, Jack's Place, where they book the acts, run sound and lights, and promote the shows.
Department Head: Jim Klein
Courses of Interest: "Music Venues and Concerts," "Marketing and Promotion in the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: Approximately 15
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MAD Dragon Unltd entities, radio station WKDU
Admission Rate: 55%
Students take core music industry courses before choosing a concentration at the end of their sophomore year: music industry, music technology and production, or music business and law. These courses serve as preparation to work within the entities under the umbrella of MAD Dragon Unltd (Drexel's student-run music company), which include MAD Dragon Records, DraKo Booking Agency, MAD Dragon Publishing and MADKo Concerts.
Five Towns College
Location: Dix Hills, N.Y.
Department Head: Darlene L. Kwiatkowski-DiCicco
Courses of Interest: "Record Promotion and Broadcasting," "Music Publishing and Copyright"
Average Class Size: Between 15 and 20
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Music Business Club, S.T.A.G.E. showcases
Admission Rate: N/A
Five Towns College offers three business management degrees, including the four-year Bachelor of Professional Studies in business management with concentrations in audio recording technology and music business. They also offer an Associate of Science degree in business administration and an Associate of Applied Science in business management with concentrations in audio recording technology. Former students include Prince Paul, Wyclef Jean, Maroon 5's Adam Levine and Jesse Carmichael, and Chrisette Michele.
Lebanon Valley College
Location: Annville, Pa.
Department Head: Jeffrey S. Snyder
Courses of Interest: "Music Copyright," "Contracts and Cash"
Average Class Size: Between seven and 22
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Music Industry Student Assn., Audio Engineering Society (AES)
College/Program Admission Rate: 81%/95%
Music business students base their academic education in music theory, accounting and marketing and a crossover into recording. Students gain hands-on experience by putting on their own conferences. The Lebanon Valley College Music Industry Conference, held every fall, is now in its sixth year. In the spring, students are invited to attend an annual songwriting conference to help improve their performance skills.
Lyndon State College
Location: Lyndonville, Vt.
Tuition: In-state, $16,352/year; New England, $20,456/year; out-of-state, $25,880/year
Department Head: David Johnston
Courses of Interest: "Studio Production and Maintenance," "Rock and Roll: Form and Style"
Average Class Size: Approximately 25
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Radio station WWLR, community chorus, ensembles
Admission Rate: 91%
Music business students can concentrate on production, business, music or arts management. Recording students take classes with engineer Britt Moore while Mighty Mighty Bosstones bassist Joe Gittleman teaches music industry courses. Lyndon music business majors also organize and promote concerts on and off campus at local venues. Internships have been both regional and national; some students scored a gig helping with production for James Taylor.
New York University
Location: New York
Courses of Interest: "The Basics of Branding," "Contracts and Dealmaking," "Curating Live Music Events"
Average Class Size: Between 15 and 30
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, 194 Recordings
University/Program Admission Rate: 38%/11%
Program Director: Leon Janikian
Courses of Interest: "Music Supervision," "Artist Management"
Average Class Size: Between 20 and 30
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, Tastemakers music magazine
Admission Rate: 41%
The university is most widely known for its co-op program. Students can start as early as their sophomore year, alternating semesters of classes and six-month internships to gain real-world experience. For music industry students, intern possibilities include Universal Records, ASCAP, MTV and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" There's also the opportunity for students to book shows at the on-campus venue, AfterHours.
Location: Oneonta, N.Y.
Tuition: In-state, $6,185/year; out-of-state, $14,085/year
Program Chair: Orlando Leganme
Courses of Interest: "Music Marketing and Merchandising," "Legal Issues of the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: Ranges from 60 to 80
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Orpheus Music Club, Songwriters' Club
Admission Rate: 39%
The State University of New York (SUNY) in Oneonta is one of a few schools that have been recognized by the National Assn. of Music Merchants (NAMM) as a front-runner in training students to enter the music products industry. For those interested in live music there are opportunities to book shows at local downtown venues as well as on campus. SUNY Oneonta is in the process of adding 8,000 square feet of extra rehearsal and recording space, which is scheduled to be useable for the spring 2011 semester.
Location: Potsdam, N.Y.
Tuition: In-state, $6,124/year; out-of-state, $14,024/year
Program Coordinator: Carol Britt
Courses of Interest: "Essential Practices of Music Business," "Legal Aspects of Music Industry"
Average Class Size: 15
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, radio station WAIH, Madstop Records
Admission Rate: 66%
Since the school has a classical music base, students must audition with a classical band instrument, guitar, orchestral instrument or voice, as well as pass a theory and aural skills exam to gain admission. The program has cultivated a relationship with NAMM, taking several students to the conference in Anaheim, Calif., every year to participate in the show. The campus record label, Madstop Records, was student-initiated and is student-run.
Location: Syracuse, N.Y.
Department Head: David Rezak
Courses of Interest: "Soyars Leadership Lecture Series," "Reconciling Arts and Commerce"
Average Class Size: 25
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Concert Board, MEISA
University/Program Admission Rate: 4.8%/12.5%
University of New Haven
Location: West Haven, Conn.
Program Coordinator: Guillermo Mager
Courses of Interest: "Production, Promotion, and Distribution," "Legal Issues," "Copyrights and Contracts"
Average Class Size: Between 20 and 25
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, radio station WNHU
Admission Rate: 61%
The University of New Haven is currently rebooting a department record label, which will be run by the music industry program to ensure consistency but otherwise be managed by the students. Every semester music industry students book eight to 10 shows at campus venue the German Club to give them hands-on experience in concert promotion and booking.
Appalachian State University
Location: Boone, N.C.
Department Head: Kim L. Wangler
Courses of Interest: "Music Merchandising and Entrepreneurship," "Legal Issues in the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: 15-20
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Split Rail Records
University/Program Admission Rate: 63%/20%-30%
The Music Industry Studies program is partnered with the Walker College of Business, and all majors receive a minor in business as well as a major in music industry. The program has students attend major music industry conferences every year, including those by the Music and Entertainment Educators Assn., NAMM and the Audio Engineering Assn. During senior year, students attend a meet-and-greet with industry professionals in Atlanta or Nashville.
Courses of Interest: "Legal Issues in the Music Industry," "Music Business Strategies"
Average Class Size: 25
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: "The Insider's View" seminar series, "CEMB Showcase Series"
University/Program Admission Rate: 77%/unspecified
Delta State University
Location: Cleveland, Miss.
Tuition: In-state, $4,852; out-of-state, $12,558
Program Director/Department Head: Tricia Walker
Courses of Interest: "The Craft of Songwriting," "Indie Music Entrepreneurship"
Average Class Size: 10-15
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: DMI Student Engineering Club, DMI Production Services, Fighting Okra Records
University/Program Admission Rate: 24%/N/A
The Delta Music Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University offers a Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies (music and entertainment industry studies) and a Bachelor of Arts in music (sound recording technology) with an emphasis in music production. For the Bachelor of Science degree, students pursue two or three subject-area concentrations that represent the academic interests they wish to integrate into a meaningful program. The Bachelor of Arts integrates music theory, music history and individual performance, as well as playing in ensembles.
Elizabeth City State University
Location: Elizabeth City, N.C.
Department Heads: Wellington Gordon, Douglas Jackson
Courses of Interest: "Audio Engineering," "Multimedia and Music"
Average Class Size: five
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: University Outreach, Campus Connection
University/Program Admission Rate: 70%/N/A
Elizabeth City State University offers a Bachelor of Arts in music with concentrations in either recording technology or music business. The University Outreach program helps students reinforce their music production skills by mentoring local high school students who are interested in the field. Summer internships offer students the opportunity to get industry experience.
Full Sail University
Location: Winter Park, Fla.
Department Head: Dana Roun
Courses of Interest: "Music Distribution," "Record Label Development"
Average Class Size: 25
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Discussion panels,
various music-related clubs
Admission Rate: Open admission
Full Sail's Music Business program covers creative and financial concepts that promote clients' and artists' careers, including marketing, accounting, intellectual property, artist and product management, publishing and distribution. A Bachelor of Science offers both online and on-campus curriculum; guest speakers have included Stevie Wonder, Chris Kirkpatrick, Chuck D, George Clinton and Eddie Kramer.
Georgia State University
Department Head: Frederick J. Taylor
Courses of Interest: "Marketing and Branch Sales in the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: 38
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA
University/Program Admission Rate: 41%/58%
The Bachelor of Science in music management prepares students for a variety of management-related careers in the music industry, in both the profit and nonprofit sectors. Graduates may work in a range of capacities at record labels and distributors or in artist and concert management, retail sales or music publishing. All students complete at least one internship with a commercial firm or nonprofit agency as part of their program. An audition is required for admission.
Location: New Orleans
Department Head: John Snyder
Courses of Interest: "Legal Issues in the Music Industry," "Music Enterprises Cash Management"
Average Class Size: 22
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Music Business Club
University/Program Admission Rate: 58%/60%
The Music Industry Studies program integrates music theory and performance classes with music industry courses. Students can graduate with one of three music industry studies degrees: a Bachelor of Music that focuses on performance, a Bachelor of Science that targets music technology or a music business-based Bachelor of Arts. Past speakers include Pandora founder Tim Westergren and composer Terence Blanchard.
University of Georgia
Location: Athens, Ga.
Department Head: David Barbe
Courses of Interest: "Emerging Issues in the Music Business"
Average Class Size: Varies
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Internships, major-label bands performing on campus
University/Program Admission Rate: 54%/unspecified
The University of Georgia gives students a mixture of Athens' thriving rock scene and Atlanta's hip-hop and R&B genre. The UGA Music Business Program is fairly new, having launched in 2006, but has rapidly become one of the most sought-after majors at the college.
University of Memphis
Department Head: Jeff Cline
Courses of Interest: "Record Company Operations," "Internet Marketing"
Average Class Size: 10
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA, Tigers of Phoenix Records, Grammy University
University/Program Admission Rate: 67%/unspecified
University of Memphis students are educated in multichannel, high-definition audio capture and reproduction; audio and accompanying visual content systems; audio and performance considerations for the Web; and alternate delivery streams and mechanisms. The university has an exchange program with European schools to allow students to participate in the global music and media market.
University of Miami
Courses of Interest: "Analysis of Music Industry Agreements," "Royalties in the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: 20
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Student-run record label Cane, Cat 5 Music Publishing
University/Program Admission Rate: 41%/unspecified
University of Northern Alabama
Location: Florence, Ala.
Department Head: Bob Garfrerick
Courses of Interest: "Music Publishing"
Average Class Size: 19
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MEISA
University/Program Admission Rate: 82%/N/A
The University of Northern Alabama has a student record label called Singing River Records with a state-of-the-art recording studio. Students have a common core curriculum, then choose between two areas of emphasis: entertainment business or entertainment technology. They are required to select a minor in music, business or communications.
Department Head: George Baldwin
Courses of Interest: "Music Marketing," "Leadership and Artist Management"
Average Class Size: five
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Junior and senior internships, Grammy University
Admission Rate: N/A
Visible School is a music and worship arts college that trains and equips musicians, technicians and business professionals in skills and character for effective service in the arts industries and in the church.
Location: Anderson, Ind.
Department Head: Jeffrey E. Wright
Director of Music Studies: Rebecca Chappell
Courses of Interest: "Beyond Talent Entrepreneurship for Musicians," "Booking and Concert Promotion"
Average Class Size: 15-30
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Orangehaus Records, Orangehaus Publishing
University/Program Admission Rate: 73%/69%
Anderson offers a music business major and minor through the School of Music in the College of Arts and as a concentration in the Falls School of Business under marketing. Anderson encourages students to open small businesses during their undergrad experience and often provides them with small-business loans.
California State Univ., Northridge
Location: Los Angeles
Tuition: In-state, $5,076/year; out-of-state, $16,236/year
Option Coordinator: Carey Christensen
Courses of Interest: "History of Pop and Rock Music," "Fundamentals of Music Technology"
Average Class Size: Approximately 18-30
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Northridge Musician's Assn., New Directions Composers Group, ensembles
Admission Rate: 71%
California State University at Northridge is located in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and targets students who wish to pursue executive and administrative careers in the music industry. Music industry majors are required to study three components: general education classes, music courses and music industries. As part of the curriculum, each year's junior class operates the school's recording label, MIS Music Group; students are also required to complete a six-unit internship their junior or senior year.
Dallas Baptist University
Program Director: Terry Fansler
Courses of Interest: "History of Commercial Music," "Inside the Recording Industry"
Average Class Size: 13
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Grammy University
Admission Rate: 46%
Dallas Baptist offers a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in music business with possible emphasis on live performance, recording, songwriting or worship leadership, along with a Bachelor of Business Administration in music business with an emphasis on music industry administration. The university also offers the largest active chapter of Grammy University in Texas, which provides students the chance to connect, network and learn from music industry professionals in the area.
Location: Elmhurst, Ill.
Program Director: Timothy Hays
Courses of Interest: "Production of Sound Recordings," music business travel courses
Average Class Size: 21
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: MiddleWestern Voice, radio station WRSE
Admission Rate: 70%
The university's proximity to Chicago allows the program to draw resources from the city, including internship and career opportunities and faculty from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera. Elmhurst offers two degree programs for music business students: a Bachelor of Music, which offers a concentration in music, and a Bachelor of Science, which concentrates on business courses.
The Institute of Production and Recording
Program Director: Eric Trelstad
Courses of Interest: "Enter the Dragon: The Past, Present and Future of the Entertainment Business," class trip to South by Southwest conference
Average Class Size: 12
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: Student Run Records, a nonprofit record label
University/Program Admission Rate: 48%/52%
The Institute of Production and Recording integrates a liberal arts education with business and technical training. The school provides a hands-on education for students; electives allow them and their professors to develop materials used in actual record releases, press campaigns, digital video productions and marketing programs.
University of Colorado at Denver
Tuition: In-state, $7,099/year; out-of-state, $20,011/year
Program Chair: Judith Coe
Courses of Interest: "Audio Production II," "Law & the Music Industry"
Average Class Size: Approximately 45
Relevant Extracurricular Activities: AES, CAM Records
University/Program Admission Rate: 61%/Depends on applicant pool
David Baskerville, who wrote "Music Business Handbook and Career Guide," the leading textbook in most industry curriculums, founded the music business program. Students must pass an entrance exam and aural skills aptitude test to be admitted. They will complete a year of music business and music technology courses as part of the core curriculum, then enter one of three tracks: performance, music business or recording arts.