Online 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 BusinessProgram Website
Middle Tennessee State University Flex MBA - Music BusinessProgram Website

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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 the 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 30 credits including SNHU business courses and Berklee music industry courses. Applicants to this program must have an undergraduate degree in any field for acceptance. Those who do not have an undergraduate degree in business or a related field may be asked to complete two foundation courses for getting started. With foundation courses, the length of this online MBA would be 36 credits.

Berklee’s four required courses include music business leadership and ethics; music business structure and strategies; the business of music marketing; and music business finance. SNHU’s MBA core courses include leading people and organizations; innovation and strategy for high-performance organizations; measuring success in an organization; optimizing brands; leading organizational change; and strategic opportunity management. GRE or GMAT scores are not required.

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire (SHNU) and Boston, Massachusetts (Berklee)
Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE); Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: Full-time (12 months); part-time (24 months)
Estimated Tuition: $637 per credit
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.

Students with five or more years of experience may be able to complete this program at an accelerated pace. Made up of 41.5 credits, the program includes courses in project and team management; business storytelling and brand development; entertainment business finance; digital marketing; negotiation and deal-making; product and artist management; and advanced entertainment law, among others.

Location: Winter Park, Florida
Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 12 months
Estimated Tuition: $916 per credit

The 42-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 courses such as accounting information for managers; integrated marketing, and management decision-making; economic decisions for managers; decision-making in accounting and finance; and managerial finance.

In addition to 30 core credits, students take 12 credits of music business concentration electives such as entertainment branding; legal rights of the creative individual; the music industry: revenues, rights, and professions; and music entrepreneurship and strategic planning for the arts.

Applicants to the program must have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 2.75 or higher. Please note that GRE/GMAT test scores are required but there are waivers available.

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International)
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 24 months
Estimated Tuition: In-state ($522 per credit); out-of-state ($1,445 per credit)
4University of Miami (Master of Arts in Music Industry)

UM’s Frost School of Music designed a 30-credit online Master of Arts in the Music Industry, where students learn about live music promotion, music publishing and licensing, and the legal aspects of the live entertainment industry. Additionally, students can also begin by completing a graduate certificate, which can then be counted towards the master’s degree. Graduate certificates are available in music business fundamentals, legal aspects of the music business, music entrepreneurship certificate, and music rights administration and licensing.

Core courses include music copyright law; recorded music operations; music industry agreements, and music publishing. Students also complete 15 credits of electives as well as hands-on work experience during the program. Elective courses include entrepreneurship for musicians; arts leadership; tour management and production; the world of the working musician; media creation; music licensing; and communication, marketing, and publicity for the musical artist.

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 scholarships where 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 cases.

Location: Coral Gables, Florida
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Format: Online
Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
Estimated Tuition: $2,421 per credit

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 the 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 including courses in economic analysis; finance for decision-makers; foundations of management; and marketing management for decision making. The upper core focuses on integrated strategy development involving coursework in financial and economic global strategy; business analytics for strategic decision making; and innovation, strategy, and corporate sustainability.

The 40-credit MBA concentration in music and entertainment management includes courses such as the music and entertainment industry; music technology; the current state of the music and entertainment industry; entertainment law; and entrepreneurship in the music and entertainment industry. 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: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Format: Hybrid
Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 30 months
Estimated Tuition: In-state ($822.15 per credit); out-of-state ($1,258.75 per credit)

Professors to Know from Online MBA Programs in Music Business Management

  • Peter Alhadeff, PhD Berklee College of Music

    Dr. Peter Alhadeff is an economist, historian, teacher, and music business writer, with expertise in Latin music and crowdfunding. At Berklee, he has taught innovative courses in music economics, statistics, math, HTML, and Javascript.

    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, JD University of Miami

    Serona Elton is a professor and the current director of the music industry program at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music. She is also an associate dean of administration. 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 Bar 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, MBA, JD 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, music +, introduction to the music business, innovators' DNA, and creative promotion in new media.

    Howard 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 earned an MBA and JD from Loyola University, an MA from the University of New Hampshire, and a BA from Boston University.

Cevia Yellin
Cevia Yellin

Cevia Yellin is a freelance writer based in Eugene, Oregon. She studied English and French literature as an undergraduate. After serving two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, she earned her master of arts in teaching English to speakers of other languages. Cevia’s travels and experiences working with students of diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds have contributed to her interest in the forces that shape identity. She grew up on the edge of Philadelphia, where her mom still lives in her childhood home.