Earn an MBA in Music Business
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Earn the business background you need to succeed in music with the innovative Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Music Business from Southern New Hampshire University and Berklee College of Music.
The music business is rapidly changing. New production technologies, distribution methods and economic realities are creating new opportunities and challenging entrepreneurs who want to shape the industry. Success today depends on creative leaders who are well-versed in music business best practices that will continue to be relevant tomorrow and beyond.
As Mike King, VP of enrollment management and marketing and CMO of Berklee Online, explains: "SNHU is a leader in online learning with an expertise in business; Berklee is one of the most respected music colleges in the world. Together, we're helping professionals get eyes – and ears – on their music."
The online MBA in Music Business program includes 4 courses from the internationally respected Berklee College of Music. Each course will help you build the music-specific knowledge and skills you need to succeed in the industry. Paired with core business courses from SNHU, you'll gain the foundational, interdisciplinary experience of a comprehensive MBA. Graduates of this program will receive a diploma from SNHU noting the concentration from Berklee – giving you the name recognition of two major players in higher education.
An innovative, high-quality music business degree, our MBA in Music Business is one of the most affordable MBAs in the nation – and can be completed in as few as 15 months.
Designed by subject matter experts and industry vets who understand the unique challenges music professionals face, the online MBA in Music Business from SNHU and Berklee Online provides a one-of-a-kind learning experience. You'll explore key areas such as accounting, finance, project management, IT and quantitative analysis with coursework that then applies directly to the music industry. This is a best-of-both-worlds online music business degree, built for an industry that's constantly redefining itself.
The program is a perfect fit for executives, artists, managers, record label employees and music entrepreneurs. You'll learn how to:
Plus, with multiple term starts per year, no GRE/GMAT scores required and the flexibility to complete your coursework online, you'll be empowered to earn a reputable degree on your terms.
The past few decades have seen tremendous changes in the way music is produced, distributed and promoted.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), U.S. recorded music revenue grew to $11.1 billion in 2019.1 Of those numbers, total revenues from streaming services rose to $8.8 billion – accounting for nearly 80% of all recorded music revenue.1
The live music industry has had to adapt amid public safety concerns brought on by a global pandemic. Music fans can now attend massive virtual shows from the comfort of their living rooms – presenting artists, producers and promoters with a new set of challenges in navigating and monetizing these experiences.
Meanwhile, artists, many paid per stream, are recording and releasing their music independently, without a record label at all. The industry is also trending toward multimedia experiences more than ever – with video streaming, social media and video games playing a pivotal role in reaching listeners.
As a result, musicians and entrepreneurs must develop the skills and tech savvy to not only create a polished product, but put it out into the world. In partnership with Berklee College of Music, SNHU's MBA in Music Business does exactly that.
Already an established artist in her own right, Ingrid Gerdes ’20MBA knew she wanted to fine tune her business skills.
There was just one problem. As a touring musician and leadership chair for the Boston chapter of the Women in Music organization, she needed a program that could fit her life.
“Being able to attend classes... virtually was a key deciding factor for me when choosing an MBA program,” she said. “It allowed me to continue my work while pursuing my degree.”
Now, Gerdes is armed with the skills she needs to pursue her goals — from growing her own voiceover company, to establishing a music festival that could help provide a whole new platform for her peers.
"I think there's a huge gap for the whole creative industry to be educated," adds Vivek Paul ’13MBA. Even with 20 years of industry under his belt, the MBA in Music Business program gave Paul tools he could use "real time" to support up-and-coming artists.
The online music business program by SNHU and Berklee will help prepare you for a variety of careers in the music industry, including:
The MBA in music can also help prepare you for careers as a music marketing professional, music supervisor, entrepreneur, artist relations representative, copyright administrator, instrument distributor and concert promoter.
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation, plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 12 credits from your previous institution.
Founded in 1932, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution with over 100,000 graduates across the country. SNHU is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), which advocates for institutional improvement and public assurance of quality.
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
At Southern New Hampshire University, you'll have access to a powerful network of more than 200,000 students, alumni and staff that can help support you long after graduation. Our instructors offer relevant, real-world expertise to help you understand and navigate the field. Plus, with our growing, nationwide alumni network, you'll have the potential to tap into a number of internship and career opportunities.
Combining SNHU's networking power with Berklee College of Music, students will have access to some of the brightest minds in the music business. Berklee is recognized as the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Countless Berklee alum have gone on to win some of the highest accolades in the industry, including Grammys, Emmys, Tonys and Academy Awards. As a student of the program, you'll learn from experts with decades of combined industry experience who know what it takes to succeed in a competitive and ever-changing field.
96.5% of students would recommend SNHU.2 Discover why SNHU may be right for you.
Part of our mission to expand access to quality, higher education means removing the barriers that may stand between you and your degree. That’s why you can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials — with no GRE or GMAT required.
Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our 5 graduate terms.
You can also choose to take your MBA core courses on campus (day or evening) while completing concentration courses online. To apply for the evening program or the 100% online MBA, use the online application.
Simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options, answer all your questions, and walk you through the application process, which includes:
While all of SNHU’s online MBA programs include the same core classes, the music business focus offers “different branches of the same tree,” said Robert Benincasa, a graduate academic advisor for MBA music students. “It is important for students to know that this not a music degree; it is a business degree. Above all things, it is an MBA.”
At SNHU, your music industry MBA will include an 8-course core, preparing you to navigate the ups and downs of a dynamic business world.
The 3 concentration courses at Berklee will explore the practical application of business principles and best practices in the music industry. Courses include:
Additionally, as a student of the online MBA in Music Business, you'll replace one SNHU MBA core course – Ethics, Corporate Culture and Social Responsibility – with:
Taken together, these courses will give you the foundation you need to start or continue your career in the music business.
Music Business Structures and Strategies, for example, offers an in-depth look at the structure of the evolving music business and strategies for creating successful business models. You'll navigate through the critical areas of the music industry, including publishing and licensing; marketing, promotion and retail; proper utilization of free music; fan funding and other forms of creative revenue for musicians; and new business opportunities.
This information is critical, as it will help you think about all the ways to effectively – and responsibly – monetize your music. You'll learn, for example, just how important publishing is in protecting an artist's work. Plus, with new opportunities arising to license music for visual media such as film or video games, you'll discover how to utilize unexpected channels to reach new audiences.
Music Marketing Strategies. This course examines the tools and emerging technologies used to generate interest in music, acquire new fans and sell music. It covers online music marketing – the opportunities available, case studies on how artists are generating interest online, ways to optimize the fan experience and the major differences between online and physical marketing campaigns.
At the end of the course, you'll use everything you've learned to create a marketing plan – giving you the opportunity to flesh out a strategy that excites and invites new listeners.
Music Business Finance explores how to apply critical tools of financial analysis to leverage talent, assess the potential of music enterprises and drive new music businesses. You'll take a look at nontraditional forms of music funding, such as venture capital and crowdfunding opportunities like Kickstarter. You'll specifically focus on 3 distinct components:
The course pairs well with SNHU's other MBA finance courses – such as Accounting and Financial Analysis and Finance, Economics and Decision Making. Building upon what you've already learned, you'll explore these principles through a music business lens.
Finally, the Music Business Leadership and Ethics course examines music industry leadership scenarios while exploring the characteristics of notable leaders and different leadership approaches. It also explores ethics from a wide variety of industries to gain an understanding about why ethical choices are important. You'll analyze current issues affecting the music industry, such as the treatment of artists, intellectual property rights, revenue sharing and digital media and distribution.
This final course of the music business online degree concentration functions as a perfect capstone. Throughout the program, you'll learn about the many ways to market music and assess exciting new business ventures. You'll learn how to navigate emerging technologies to discover new tactics for making waves in the music world. With a strong foundation in ethics, you'll bring these ideas together. This will empower you to accomplish your business goals with integrity, respect and ethical soundness.
Please note that some students, particularly those with non-business academic backgrounds, may be required to take foundation courses. These courses may include math and statistics for business, economics for business or business law, among others. From there, core courses in the major are designed to offer a solid foundation in business concepts. Classes on accounting, leadership and marketing are also included in the major credits that make up the core of the degree.
Learn more about the prestigious, Boston-based Berklee College of Music – the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world.
Total Credits: 36
Tuition rates for SNHU's online degree programs are among the lowest in the nation. We offer a 25% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.
Tuition rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Technology has radically transformed every aspect of the music industry, from production and distribution to promotion. As the music business has shifted to a digital model, it has also ushered in exciting new opportunities.
From the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing, to the rise of popular streaming services and a growing interest in licensing for film, television and video games, music professionals must nimbly seek new avenues to put their music out into the world.
Students of the MBA in Music Business program at SNHU and Berklee Online are artists, producers, managers, promoters and more. Some are just getting their foot in the door, others are music vets accessing the tools they need to remain relevant in a fast-changing industry.
Some of the most common career paths you can pursue with an MBA in Music Business are:
The music industry attracts people with passion, creativity and drive. Those who succeed in the music industry understand business.
Whether it’s managing finances, negotiating contracts, booking events or reviewing publishing agreements, it's not enough to have talent. You need the acumen to handle yourself on the business side of a music-related career. Even composers and performers can benefit from an MBA in music business.
“The MBA remains the premier degree for business students,” said Dr. Mark F. Hobson, SNHU’s senior associate dean of business. “It provides learners with the opportunity to develop knowledge, skills and abilities that employers seek in generalists, specialists, strategists or entrepreneurs.”
Vivek Paul ’13MBA wrote a business plan for an independent artist while working toward his master’s in music business. “I think there’s a huge amount of gap for the whole creative industry to be educated,” he said.
Paul stresses aspects of the industry like rights and trademarks, while viewing the music business through the lens of an entrepreneur. “The big transformation for me was that a song is intellectual property, an artist is a brand, and if you put them together it’s a startup.”
There are unexpected places the online MBA in Music can take you, too. As a program that emphasizes the role of technology in distributing and selling music, many graduates are putting their own signature on the business.
"I had one student who was really interested in the algorithm of a popular streaming service," said Mike King, VP of enrollment management and marketing and CMO of Berklee Online. "He was a composer who created these ambient playlists that people would listen to as they'd fall asleep. Rain and waves and sounds like that."
The plan struck King, as it not only displayed exceptional understanding of the intersection between technology and music – it also became a way for his student to make money.
"It was a really clever idea – and ended up becoming really profitable, too" King said.
In the end, the message is clear: Knowing how to market, manage and monetize a business is a crucial skill set for any music industry professional.
As with any business degree, you have many options when it comes to pursuing a music business degree online, including specialized music business schools.
SNHU’s online MBA in Music Business, offered in partnership with Berklee School of Music, is the only one of its kind in the U.S. The program consists of 8 core courses online through SNHU and 4 courses through Berklee Online.
Because it’s an MBA, you’ll gain skills and knowledge you can apply across a diverse range of industries. Yet, with its focus on music, this program builds your expertise in the music industry.
Robert Benincasa, a graduate academic advisor for MBA music students, said, “Although our students have a variety of backgrounds, they are mostly on the creative side and want to use the knowledge gained to strengthen their business side.”
Carin Nuernberg, Berklee's VP of academic strategy, notes that this online music degree combines “SNHU’s core strength in business and what Berklee does best in Berklee Online.”
Generally speaking, it takes 2 years to complete an MBA in Music Business. But the answer to this question often comes down to the individual, plus three common factors in everyone's life: time, cost and work/family obligations.
At SNHU, most graduate students complete the 36-credit program in 2 years. If you’re motivated to finish faster, we recommend taking two of your 8 core business courses per each of SNHU’s five 10-week terms. By completing your 4 Berklee Online courses at the same pace, you can wrap up your studies within 18 months.
And if you need more than 2 years? You have the option to do that, too. We understand that life isn't always predictable – and our online courses are designed to work for you. So if you need to take terms off in between courses, just let us know. With multiple term starts per year, you have the flexibility to create a schedule that fits your needs.
Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.
1 RIAA, Year-End 2019 RIAA Music Revenues Report, on the internet at https://www.riaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/RIAA-2019-Year-End-Music-Industry-Revenue-Report.pdf (viewed July 1, 2020)
2 According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.