Is a Music Business Degree Right for You?

An online bachelors degree in music business is a good fit for students who are more interested in a career behind the scenes in the music and entertainment industry rather than performance. Music business careers include talent scouting and development, tour booking, accounting and bookkeeping, label and band marketing, concert promotion and publicity, and more.

A music business bachelors degree online will teach you marketable skills in managing music artists, managing concerts and music festivals, handling publicity, working in music publishing and distribution, and music criticism. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the structure of the music industry, how record labels work, and how to get the word out to the public about concerts, tours, and major music events. Successful music industry professionals are typically trained in both music and business, according to the University of Texas Career Guide for Music Majors.

Advice for Earning Your Music Business Degree Online

When considering a music business degree online, you may want to pursue a degree from a school that is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), which specializes in accrediting music schools and programs that adequately prepare music professionals for the profession. The NASM has strict standards in place for distance education programs in particular.

You should also consider a program in music business that requires an internship. Employers want to hire candidates with hands-on experience, and there’s no better way to get that experience than through an internship arranged by your school. Online students should be aware of the time commitment that internships require, and that they take place at approved music industry sites, rather than online.

Required Courses

Online Music Business degree programs typically include general education classes in math, science, and humanities. The major curriculum combines business classes and music classes, as well as courses that focus on the operations of the music industry. Common courses include:

  • Introduction to the Music Business
  • Copyright and Intellectual Property Law
  • Commercial Music History
  • Recording Studio Operations
  • Music Publishing

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Music Business include:

Musicians and Singers

  • Expected Growth: 10%
  • Average Hourly Wage: $34.26

A music business degree is extremely useful to someone who wants to make a living as a singer or musician. Success in the music business is as much about talent as finesse, and a music business degree will help you navigate the music industry as an artist. Most programs also incorporate performance and theory classes to enhance your art and some may include entrepreneurship and music management classes. The above were gathered from the BLS

Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers

  • Expected Growth: 14 %
  • Average Annual Salary: $103,940

Advertising, promotions, and marketing managers of all varieties work in the music industry to promote bands, advertise for major music festivals, and set prices for music events. These professionals must be able to think both creatively and analytically, display the ability to manage the work of others, and to set and communicate goals. They must also be able to recognize talent, a skill that is best developed in a formal music program. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Sound Engineering Technicians

  • Expected Growth: 23 %
  • Average Annual Salary: $74,350

Sound engineering technicians record music performances and bands using professional equipment to edit and refine the sound. Most sound engineering technician positions require only an associate degree or vocational certificate, a bachelor’s degree in music business provides broader training in the industry for sound engineers who want to learn how to make their business more profitable or who want to own their own recording studio. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Producers and Directors

  • Expected Growth: 11%
  • Average Annual Salary: $99,270

Music producers direct artists and bands to make sure they are producing their best-quality work. They consult with artists to refine the sound, style, and quality of performance, as well as oversee song selection and writing. They also manage practical matters for artists and bands, including arranging for back-up singers or instrumentalists. Music producers also handle a lot of business concerns among artists, sound managers, and the record companies. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Entertainment Executives

  • Expected Growth: 5%
  • Average Annual Salary: $120,780

Entertainment executives are at the top of the music business food chain. They operate as CEOs, CFOs, and COOs of major music labels, production companies, and talent management firms. Executive positions require experience, patience, hard work, and being in the right place, at the right time. But a bachelor’s degree in music business can help. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Entertainment Lawyers

  • Expected Growth: 10%
  • Average Annual Salary: $110,265

Entertainment lawyers specialize in legal issues that apply to the music and entertainment industries, such as contract negotiations, copyright and intellectual property law, and more. They may represent artists or entertainment corporations. While a career in entertainment law requires a law degree, preferably from a program with an entertainment specialization, and admission to the bar, an undergraduate degree in music business is a strong foundation for this field. Figures above were provided by the BLS.


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