|1||Berklee College of Music||Boston, Massachusetts|
|2||Southern New Hampshire University||Manchester, New Hampshire|
|3||University of Miami||Coral Gables, Florida|
|4||West Virginia University||Morgantown, West Virginia|
|5||Full Sail University||Winter Park, Florida|
This ranking is designed for online students to make informed college and degree decisions for choosing an online master’s program in Music Business.
About this ranking
We use data from the National Center for Education Statistics and academic influence of faculty and alumni in professional publications. For more information about our ranking methodology see our College Calculator.
The music industry is the unstoppable mill that produces artists, musicians, music, and executives. Do you want to be behind the scenes of the business side of things? In this line of work, you have many options. For example, graduates may manage artists, venues, or work in the music streaming industry.
Did you recently graduate undergrad as a student interested in the music scene? Perhaps you’re a graduate of an on-campus music school, or you have an online music degree? Are you looking for a profitable, fulfilling, and fun graduate program? Do you wish to become a music publicist, manager, agent, or producer?
Have you always been interested in business, but want to apply those specific tactics to the music industry? The business side of music is a quickly growing field. An online master’s degree may increase your chances of moving up in the music industry, as well as increase networking opportunities.
So, if you’ve wanted to branch into the business and management side of the music industry, an online music business master’s degree might be your best bet. To assist with the university research process, we have compiled a list of the four best online programs to get your master’s in Music Business.
What is an online master’s degree in Music Business?
Online music business master’s degrees take fundamental lessons from business and applies them to the music industry. You will learn concepts from both disciplines within these programs.
For example, in a business course, you may learn how to create a company. In a business course about the music business, you will learn how to create a company most suited to the music business.
Students might learn about business law in a business course. But in a music business course, students may learn about entertainment law in particular. Students learn how artists negotiate record deals, the law and protections for royalties and copyrights, and contract negotiation.
To obtain an online music business master’s degree, credit requirements range between 36 credit hours and 42 credit hours. Some programs offer a one-year program and others expand into two-year programs.
Courses vary per online degree. However, common courses in the Music Business Master’s degree include
- artist management
- entertainment law
- music publishing rights
It is no secret that music dominates the digital world today, with public platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and video networks like Tidal and YouTube. Music is everywhere. Musicians can record their music in their home, and promote themselves on social media. Justin Bieber was discovered by Scooter Braun when Justin Bieber’s mom posted videos of him singing on YouTube. The music industry has ever increasing potential with the ever-increasing proliferation of social media.
But, how does one go about putting a song on a streaming service or scheduling appointments to shoot a music video? What about crowdfunding to shoot a music video and scheduling promo shoots to market the video? These jobs use the help of those involved in the music business side of things.
To work in the Music Business, a Master’s Degree is not necessarily required, but it is far more likely to land that coveted position at a record label or management agency. Here is a list of the four best online schools to receive your online master’s degree in Music Business.
Featured online master’s in Music Business degree:
The Best Online Master’s in Music Business
This Best Online Master’s in Music Business ranking was created using Successful Student’s ranking algorithm. This algorithm uses the following data points to calculate a school’s ranking placement:
- Retention rate
- Desirability (number of applicants)
- Percentage of students who are fully online
- In-district average tuition for full time graduates
- In-state average graduate tuition
- Academic influence
Berklee College of Music
One of the most renown music schools in the U.S. is Berklee College of Music. Berklee’s first focus is on student success in their music careers. Berklee’s unique curriculum places students in the care of trained professionals and highly accomplished and established individuals with backgrounds in the music industry. Each year Berklee teaches new students many genres of music in one of the most influential and immersive music schools in the world.
Boston also houses the infamous Boston Conservatory. In 2015 the two institutions merged. Their merger allows for professional instruction by professors from both school backgrounds.
Berklee offers these online master’s in Music Business programs:
- Online Master of Arts: Music Business
- Online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Music Business. The online MBA in Music Business is offered in collaboration with Southern New Hampshire University. This degree is conferred through SNHU. This online MBA in Music Business is discussed in detail below in the Southern New Hampshire University entry (#2). Students interested in this program should contact Southern New Hampshire University to get more college and degree information.
The online Master of Arts: Music Business Degree:
This degree requires a student to complete 36 credit hours. Industry professionals instruct on the basics of the music business. They start with introductory lessons about streaming services and licensing.
This curriculum focuses on leadership within the industry and understands the marketing and profitable sides of the music industry.
Some courses required for graduation include:
- Music Business Revenue Streams
- Artist Management in the Music Business
- Music Business Policy
- Music Business Finance for Entrepreneurs
- Music Marketing: Strategy for Consumer Brands
• Music Business Revenue Streams
The student studies the history of streaming services and their payouts. You will examine legalities within these platforms and how musicians can earn other incomes to make a living wage.
• Artist Management in the Music Business
Students learn how to manage an artist, grow their brand, make separate income streams and search for new projects for the artist.
• Music Business Policy
This course teaches students about specific policies. Global and local and how they affect the trade. You will study the evolution of copyright law.
• Music Business Finance for Entrepreneurs
This course is a step-by-step approach to understanding money matters in the music industry. First, professors break down finances within the music industry. Then they explain how to navigate them.
Next, students learn about the market within the industry. This class includes loans, cash flows, and budgeting. Lastly, the professor teaches about crowdfunding. You will learn how to establish a fanbase and gather funds for the artist.
• Music Marketing: Strategy for Consumer Brands
Behind any business is a team of hard-working people striving to connect with others.
This course teaches you how to reach these businesses with content. You will learn how to create a bond between the companies and the artist.
The professors set out to help you understand technical musical language. Plus, they speak about stickier sides of legal matters such as record deals and music law.
Besides legal matters, they also want to help you notice talent and when to take a chance with a possible future client.
For the final thesis, students choose an issue currently affecting the music industry. The student takes all of their coursework from the previous terms and forms their thoughts into a final project. The project illustrates a way to solve the issue.
To apply, submit a written e or video essay of your experience and why you chose Berklee. A resume, two letters of recommendation, and your transcripts are required. The application asks for a $75 application fee. Financial aid is available.
Berklee typically makes their admission decisions within two weeks of application.
Graduates of this program continue on to professions like theater managers, entertainment attorneys, lighting designers, publicists, and producers.
Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University and Berklee College of Music
Manchester, New Hampshire
Southern New Hampshire University is one of the largest online universities in the U.S. in number of online students. SNHU has a large variety of online degrees offered for undergrad and graduate students. SNHU’s tuition is competitive: online tuition remains the same as it was in 2012. SNHU awards financial aid, scholarships, and military discounts to qualifying students, and applies qualifying transfer credits toward degrees.
The mission at SNHU is to assist the student in every way. Professors, counselors, and administrators help students to succeed in their education journey.
SNHU offers a very unique online MBA in Music Business. This unique program is offered in partnership with the renown Berklee College of Music, mentioned in entry #1 above.
This online MBA can be completed in one year.
Online Master of Business Administration in Music Business degree:
Southern New Hampshire University and Berklee College of Music have created a joint online Master of Business Administration degree in Music Business. This degree offers a one-of-a-kind collaboration between a reputable business school and reputable music school. This degree is the first MBA in Music Business in the U.S.
The online classes focus on the business aspects the music industry. SNHU offers nine business courses, and Berklee offers four classes.
The best part of this program? Graduates receive two degrees, one from Berklee and one from SNHU.
- Music Business Leadership and Ethics – Berklee
- Music Marketing Strategies – Berklee
- Music Business Structures and Strategies – Berklee
- Music Business Finance – Berklee
- Building Business Leaders – SNHU
- Applied Business Statistics – SNHU
- Optimizing Brands – SNHU
- Strategic Opportunity Management – SNHU
• Music Business Leadership and Ethics – Berklee
Students will learn what it takes to be respected leaders within the music industry. They explore dynamics between distribution companies, artists, streaming services, and others in the industry.
• Music Marketing Strategies – Berklee
The marketing class provides insight into new ways artists make their way in the digital age. This course teaches potential industry workers how to cater to fans, increase fanbases, and welcome new fans.
• Music Business Structures and Strategies – Berklee
Students will learn everything there is to know about licensing, legal rights, publishing, funding, and promotion. In this class, you learn about everything that protects an artist.
• Music Business Finance – Berklee
Lastly, the finance course speaks about generating income for the artist. Sourcing money can include finding artists new ways to fund projects. This class will branch into crowdsourcing. Students also learn about the music market in this class.
Since SNHU and Berklee partnered together, the colleges both offer a slew of courses.
• Building Business Leaders – SNHU
This class shows students how to run a business effectively. The professor teaches you how about fiscal responsibilities. You learn how to manage money and business funds. Plus, core values are involved in running a business.
• Applied Business Statistics – SNHU
This class takes into account how to properly read data. Students study numbers, figures, and stats in this class. Then they take that data and learn how they can make or break a business and how to prevent the failure of one.
• Optimizing Brands – SNHU
This class focuses on marketing strategies with the best methods to close brand deals. You research trends and ethics to create the best marketing plan.
• Strategic Opportunity Management – SNHU
This class is a problem-solving course for students to see which kind of issues come out of running a business. You also learn how to handle business issues. You will see different avenues leaders and business executives take to make decisions. Students learn how to read data and use it to make decisions. Professors instruct students on how they can continuously improve businesses and foundations. Students also learn how to lead a fiscally responsible and sustainable business. Pairing the music courses with the business courses allows students to navigate the growing music industry with a better look at all aspects of the music world.
To graduate, students must complete the nine credits from Berklee and the 30 credits from SNHU. This program is as affordable as it is time-efficient. Students can complete coursework in 15 months. After graduation, step into your professional career within the music industry.
Graduates have accepted jobs as artist managers, PR representatives, agents, concert managers, tour managers, and other in music business career fields.Get Information
University of Miami
Frost School of Music
Coral Gables, Florida
The Frost School of Music at University of Miami offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Business.
Founded in 1926, the University of Miami opened its doors to top students in research, medicine, art, and other challenging disciplines. UM’s music school: The Frost School of Music topped Billboard’s rankings on the “Top Music Business Schools” for several consecutive years.
The school was first named the Conservatory of Music. A few years after the Conservatory of Music became the University of Miami School of Music. It opened a few months after UM in 1926. After a $33 million donation from Dr. Phillip and Patricia Frost in 2003, the school became the Frost School of Music.
Frost’s mission statement pushes the creativity and musical skill of a student. The school unlocks the community-driven side of those enrolled and encourages students to give back.
Frost notices the drive the music industry possesses to create and distribute music. In fact, the college became so aware that they formulated a music industry degree. This certificate educates students about the billion-dollar, sleepless industry.
Online Master of Arts in Music Industry Degree (MIND):
This degree serves to introduce students to the world of the music business. Through internships, extra-curricular activities, teaching opportunities, and student-led organizations students see the business firsthand.
An Online Master of Arts in Music Industry from Frost has coursework from the music industry discipline. The degree also considers electives toward the degree. The eighteen-month program requires students to complete 30 credit hours to graduate.
Students take courses such as:
- Music Copyright Law
- Music Publishing
- Recorded Music Operations
- Music Industry Agreements
• Music Copyright Law
This class focuses on the legalities involved in playing music with and without permission. This course will examine different ways to gain access to music and what happens with copyright infringement.
• Music Publishing
This class centers teachings around publishings related to royalties, payment avenues, and how foreign and domestic industries work together. Students will see how to create their own publishing network and make it successful in this course.
• Recorded Music Operations
This class focuses on the creation and distribution of music. You will see how marketing, royalties, and licensing work. You will learn how to make a profit in this course.
• Music Industry Agreements
This class is all about licensure and property rights. Plus, the intricacies involved when music companies make deals with artists. You will also learn about fair and unfair compensation between the music company and the artist.
Electives include courses such as
- Tour Management and Production
- Peak Performance Strategies for Musicians
- Global Live Entertainment
• Tour Management and Production
This class focuses on everything that goes into planning a successful tour and executing it.
• Peak Performance Strategies for Musicians
This class teaches you how to be a fearless performer. You study psychology, and awareness techniques, plus you will perform for your classmates and professor. And you will headline Radio City Music Hall without fear very soon.
• Global Live Entertainment
This class is more for those who want to pursue a career in the performing arts arena. You will learn how to manage, schedule, budget, and create programs the public wants to see.
Music Industry Practicum
Students must complete the practicum to receive the degree and graduate. It examines how well you understood all the previous courses by applying the knowledge to different scenarios.
Frost only accepts new students for its Fall term. To apply, submit an online application with an application fee, your resume, three letters of recommendation, transcripts from undergrad, and your TOEFL/IELTS scores.
Frost offers students financial aid, fellowships, and assistantships.
West Virginia University
College of Creative Arts
Morgantown, West Virginia
West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts offers the online Master of Arts in Music Business and Industry degree. The online courses are asynchronous, allowing for flexibility in the online learning schedule.
Online students learn about the music industry, which includes music business models, commercial practices, entrepreneurship, revenue streams and industry regulations, with a focus on global music business.
Selection of courses:
- Foundations of Recording Industry
- Advanced Recording Industry
- Music in Multimedia
- Recording Production
Credits required: 33
Admissions: students who apply must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, with a G.P.A. of 3.0 minimum.
Full Sail University
Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail offers the online Master of Science in Entertainment Business degree.
Full Sail has garnered rankings on Successful Student as one of the top online schools for video game design and development, app development, entrepreneurship opportunities, and online music composition and music production. So, it is no wonder Full Sail concludes this list as one of the best online schools to get an online master’s degree in Entertainment Business.
Founded in 1979, Full Sail now focuses primarily on entertainment education, including rapidly growing technological fields. As such, the university hires professionals at the forefront of entertainment industries and technical expertise.
Online Master’s Degree in Entertainment Business degree:
This degree is for those looking to become industry executives and professionals. The curriculum is unique, as students take one class per twelve months for 41.5 total credit hours.
- Entertainment Business Finance
- Negotiation and Deal-Making
- Advanced Entertainment Law
- Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution
• Entertainment Business Finance
This class focuses on the financial aspects involved in the music industry. You will learn how to ask for more funding to create a project and students will create their own funding for a project you choose.
In addition to entertainment finance, this class also teaches you how to manage your own money. Professors will instruct on financial planning and how to make responsible financial decisions.
• Negotiation and Deal-Making
If you work in the industry, one of the most important lessons you can learn is how to properly handle record deals. Sadly, in the industry musicians are taken advantage of and exploited. This might be due to a record deal with unclear terms or unfair rules, or a contract that wasn’t explained correctly.
This course shows students how to go about a proper contract and ask for more (or better) terms and conditions. This class helps avoid and confront the issue of exploitation within the industry.
Through studying the format of deals and the creation of the contracts, you will be able to apply your knowledge with fake scenarios acted in class. You will have the opportunity to see both sides on how a deal and a negotiation can play out.
• Advanced Entertainment Law
The music industry changes daily. A new law signs into order, a rising artist soars to the top of the charts, and someone gets sued for copyright infringement. This class teaches you legal language and the nit-picky parts of music law.
Through real examples, you will learn how entertainment attorneys handle their cases, what makes for a lawsuit and how to protect intellectual property.
• Entertainment Media Publishing and Distribution
With the growing amount of legal streaming services comes an increased amount of illegal streaming services. This class navigates the correct way to respond to such measures. Students will learn how to profit from media and explore new options for income.
To apply Full Sail asks you to visit their website and fill out an enrollment application. Full Sail offers financial aid and scholarships to qualifying students.
Apply to a Grad Program Today
Earning an online music business master’s degree can lead you to the profession you’ve always wanted. Whether that be an entertainment attorney, a publicist, a tour manager, or an arena manager, you can apply to any of these top schools in the field today.
Not only do you have the opportunity to create your own flexible schedule, but you will also be able to go at your own pace while maintaining a balanced work and school life.
Did you find this article helpful? Looking for more resources? Be sure to check out the rest of our site for more.
The Recording Industry Association of America has a list of professional Music Industry organizations.
- The Best Online Master’s Degrees in Music Education
- The Top Music Schools & Conservatories in the U.S.
- The Best Online Music Composition and Music Production Schools
- The 50 Best Online Business Schools