MBA in Music Business Management


The music industry is continuously changing. Over the last ten years, technological advances have disrupted the industry through the development of digital markets, innovative media tools, and new means of production and distribution.

Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) have protected artist rights for decades by collecting license fees for composers, songwriters, and music publishers and paying them royalties when their music is played, performed, or distributed. Such organizations continue to play an essential role in safeguarding the integrity of music production. However, today’s music business professionals need to be versatile and flexible to stay abreast of new trends and developments, anticipate how they will affect the industry, and respond in the best interests of artists, consumers, and entrepreneurs.

In response to this industry dynamic, master of business administration (MBA) programs in music business management provide training in traditional business knowledge and skills contextualized within the sphere of the music sector. Courses in business management, marketing, economics and finance, leadership and ethics are offered along with topics of particular relevance to music professionals such as publishing and licensing, promotion and retail, music enterprise, online music marketing, and nontraditional funding sources such as venture capital and crowdfunding. Music business leadership and ethics have become more and more relevant, creating the need for the inclusion of training in legal and ethical issues related to artist treatment, intellectual property rights, revenue sharing, and digital media and distribution.

Featured Music Management Programs
Southern New Hampshire University Online MBA In Music Business View Full Profile

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These MBA programs prepare music industry professionals to work as music publishers, marketing professionals, supervisors, booking agents, distributors, tour managers, entrepreneurs, public relations specialists, and concert promoters. It is possible to earn an MBA in music business entirely online, but these programs are often offered in hybrid formats (i.e., a blend of online and on-campus). Outside of an MBA, there are other master’s programs in the entertainment and music business that students can explore.

Featured MBA in Music Business Management Programs

This online MBA in music business is offered jointly through SNHU and Berklee College of Music. It combines the strengths of a traditional MBA program with tailored business topics as they relate to the music industry. This affordable and accelerated degree was the first of its kind in the country and is designed from the perspective of industry insiders, including artists, managers, executives, record label employees, and entrepreneurs.

Students take 36 credits including SNHU business courses, Berklee music industry courses, and one Capstone course. Berklee’s four required courses include music business structure, music marketing strategies, music business finance and music business leadership and ethics. SNHU’s business courses focus on business strategy, marketing, financial analysis, and ethical leadership. GRE or GMAT scores are not required.

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire (SHNU) and Boston, Massachusetts (Berklee)
Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Tuition: $627 per credit
Program length: 15 months
2Full Sail University (MS in Entertainment Business)

While not an MBA, this 12-month entertainment business master of science program at Full Sail focuses on business and management skills, providing students with opportunities to apply strategies learned to practical exercises. Main topics include financial planning, publishing and distribution, and contract negotiation. The program is offered in a unique, course module format. Each course is completed in 30 days for a total of 12 courses over the one year period. The degree concludes with a culminating final project in which students create an original business plan.

Career development guidance is available, as well as multiple scholarship opportunities for qualified applicants. An entertainment and media industry scholarship for women is available in addition to scholarships for global achievement, merit, pathway, stem, and student support. Students with five or more years of experience may be able to complete this program at an accelerated pace.

Location: Winter Park, Florida
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
Format: Online
Tuition: $675 per credit
Program length: One year

The 48-semester hour online MBA in music business combines traditional business courses with the focused study of recording industry topics. The core MBA program, created by the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, covers business analysis and management decisions, the impact of current events on business environments, and multicultural influences on decision-making. In addition to 36 core credits, students take 12 credits of music business concentration electives in recording industry research, international popular music, recording industry economics and emerging business models, global entertainment transactions, legal rights of the creative individual, seminar in negotiation, and business ethics. Please note that GRE/GMAT test scores are required.

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online
Tuition: $533 per credit for in-state students; $1,344 per credit for out-of-state students
Program length: One to two years
4University of Miami (Master of Music in Music Business and Entertainment Industries)

UM’s Frost School of Music designed a 30-credit online master of music in music business and entertainment industries (MBEI), where students learn about live music promotion, music publishing and licensing, and the legal aspects of the live entertainment industry. A free, massive open online course (MOOC) in entrepreneurship for musicians is available to give prospective applicants a taste for the master’s program. Additionally, students can also begin by completing a graduate certificate, which can then be counted towards the master’s degree.

Core courses include music copyright law, international music publishing, music industry agreements, legal aspects of the live entertainment industry, and international music licensing. Students also complete 15 credits of electives as well as hands-on work experience during the program. Graduates of the program typically find jobs at talent agencies, independent record companies, music publishing companies, and major record labels. Significant discounts on tuition are offered through the Life Achievement and Academic Performance Scholarships. Recipients receive ten to 50 percent off, based upon GPA and work experience in music, the arts, education or the military. GRE scores are required only in certain in cases and participants may begin their studies at any of six different start dates throughout the year.

Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, National Association of Music
Format: Online
Tuition: $1,960 per credit
Program length: 18 months

WP’s hybrid MBA program combines online, face-to-face, and blended instruction with external learning options. The curriculum takes a multidisciplinary business approach delivered by faculty members engaged in practice and policy-oriented research. Courses explore political, ethical, and organizational perspectives within the global marketplace. The program comprises two core curriculum tiers: the lower core combines the study of functional business knowledge with managerial soft skill development, and the upper core focuses on integrated strategy development with an emphasis on leadership. The 48-credit MBA concentration in music and entertainment management focuses on the music business, management, entrepreneurship, and law. Students in this specialized MBA program take all upper and lower tier classes, along with six required music management courses (including a required internship or capstone) and one additional elective. GRE and GMAT scores may be waived for qualified applicants.

Location: Wayne, New Jersey
Accreditation: AACSB International
Format: Hybrid
Tuition: $696 per credit for in-state students; $1,085 per credit for out-of-state students
Program length: 12 to 30 months

Professors to Know from Online MBA Programs in Music Business Management

  • Peter Alhadeff, PhD - Berklee College of Music

    Peter Alhadeff is an economist, historian, teacher and music business writer, with expertise in Latin music and crowdfunding. At Berklee, he teaches the principles of economics, business finance, and building your career. He is a founding member of Berklee's music business and management department. He is the founder of trade magazines, Recording En Español and Músico Pro and produces The Music Business Journal with students and faculty members from Berklee and beyond. Dr. Alhadeff has a doctorate from the University of Oxford.

  • Serona Elton - University of Miami

    Serona Elton is an associate professor and the current director of the music business and entertainment industries program at University of Miami's Frost School of Music. She has extensive industry experience with EMI Recorded Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group and has published articles in Billboard Magazine and the Florida Law Journal. Professor Elton has a law degree from the Brooklyn Law School and took a lead role in the formation of the joint Juris Doctor (JD) and master of music degree in law and music business offered through Frost and UM's law school. While earning her master's of music in music media and industry at Frost, she became a founding member of 'Cane Records, one of the first student-run record labels.

  • George Howard - Berklee College of Music

    George Howard is an established music business entrepreneur and a professor of music business and management. At Berklee, he teaches courses in business leadership and ethics, innovation, copyright law, record company operations, and creative promotion in new media. He is the founder of a strategic consulting firm and the independent record label, Slow River Records. He co-founded Tune Core, an independent digital music distributor; Music Audience Exchange, a digital marketing firm; and is the former president of the independent record label, Rykodisc. Professor Howard's areas of expertise include music entrepreneurship, music marketing, publishing and licensing, music startups, streaming, and music law. He has an MBA and JD degrees from Loyola University.