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Degree Overview: Associate’s Degree Programs in Music Business

Majors Overview April 9, 2015

Music business degree programs focus on how music is published, consumed, produced, and marketed. Those with an interest in this field may look into two-year Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) programs at accredited music colleges.

Information Music Business Programs

Music business associate degree programs are available at many schools. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Applicants to some schools are required to be musicians and may be required to participate in an audition before gaining admittance.

Students take about two years to complete an associate degree program. The program coursework entails completion of general education courses in science, social studies, and math. Students enrolled in some programs are also required to choose many liberal art courses as electives, such as a foreign language or art history.

Coursework in a music business degree program cover courses in basic business functions such as economics and financial accounting. An overview of the music industry is imparted via courses covering copyright and publishing and legal issues and careers. Students may gain hands-on experience in recording techniques. Some courses may also explore ear training, music appreciation, and the history of music.

Associate’s Degree Programs in Music Business

Music business students enrolled in associate degree programs are taught about the music industry’s basic business models, focusing particularly on its specialized audio content and the artists credited with producing said content. Coursework includes the study of digital and analog recording technologies, digital distribution, artist contracts, social networking and other promotional strategies, live music production, and music copyright law.

During the completion of courses, students may be given opportunities to gain hands-on experience via operation of their own small businesses or record labels. Some programs also include concentration tracks to meet the needs of students that wish to specialize in business management, production, or performance.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to submit score reports for the ACT or SAT apart from high school transcripts. Given that music colleges most commonly sponsor music business programs, their abilities as musicians may need to be demonstrated or described by incoming students to the program.


General business practices are in the core coursework related to the field, in addition to the way they particularly relate to music commerce. The music business coursework commonly integrates topic areas in computer science, music performance, and law, thereby resulting in an array of potential course titles such as the following:

•Music appreciation
•Marketing strategies
•Ear training
•Synthesizers and electronic music
•Computer applications of music technology
•Business principles and music
•Audio recording
•Piano technique

Career Choices

Those who complete the degree program can pursue positions within the music industry spanning the fields of technical support, advertising, publishing and retail. They may choose from potential job titles such as:

•Intellectual property agent
•Song copyright administrator
•Concert promotion specialist
•Artist manager
•Music publisher

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of associate’s degree programs may seek continuing education by enrolling in related bachelor’s degree programs. In addition to specific music business programs, they may seek degrees in related fields such as mass media or business management.

After they complete bachelor’s-level studies, graduates may eventually pursue a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree or a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Music Business and gain additional business acumen.

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