The MBA that Fits Your Life
- Under $19K total tuition
- Complete in about 1 year
- In partnership with Berklee College of Music
- Program accredited by ACBSP
- No GRE/GMAT required
- Curriculum revised in 2021
MBA in Music Business Degree Program Overview
Earn the business degree that best fits the music industry 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.
The skills you learn in an MBA program apply to advanced career paths everywhere, but the teachings of traditional business – especially those around leadership, innovation, strategy and measuring success – are all valuable and very applicable to the music industry.
As Mike King, vice president 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 co-branded diploma from both SNHU and 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 about a year as a full-time student.
The program is a perfect fit for executives, artists, managers, record label employees and music entrepreneurs.
Learn how to:
- Integrate, synthesize and apply business practices in a music business context
- Analyze and interpret data for decision-making
- Develop and foster adaptable strategies for an organization
- Evaluate and implement various models and processes in the design and continuous improvement of organizations and their practices
- Cultivate globally aware and culturally responsive teams and organizations
- Create and implement plans around cultural, ethical and legal standards, as well as sustainable practices
Plus, with multiple term starts per year, no GRE/GMAT scores required and the flexibility to complete your coursework online with fluid deadlines, you'll be empowered to earn a reputable degree on your terms.
The Benefits of SNHU and Berklee's Online MBA in Music Business Video
The Value of a Berklee Online Education in Building a Solid Music Business Foundation Video
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 ’20 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 ’13. Even with 20 years of industry experience 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 can help prepare you for a variety of careers in the music industry, including:
- Artist & repertoire (A&R) manager: Plan, organize, direct and negotiate on behalf of musical artists. Manage relationships among musicians, publishers and booking agents. Negotiate contracts and build sustainable career paths.
- Booking agent: Facilitate logistics involved in live performances, from securing venues to setting up hospitality. Collaborate with artist management and event promoters. Manage various aspects of contract negotiation, copyright law, sales, marketing and event planning.
- Publicist: Work with media outlets, marketers and venues to help raise an artist’s profile and shape their image. Publicists pitch stories, manage an artist’s reputation and influence PR strategy.
- Tour manager: Manage every aspect of concert tours, from transportation and accommodations to scheduling, merchandise and finances. Tour managers have a talent for details and logistics and a love of travel.
- Music publisher: Oversee rights, restrictions, exclusivities and payments related to commercial contracts with songwriters and composers. Review drafts of agreements prepared by attorneys.
- Promoter: Organize concerts, nightclub appearances and other events. Promoters conceive events, hire staff, choose venues, promote the event and plan logistics.
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.
Plus, earning an MBA is an important step in a business career. It has the potential to lead to a bump in pay. According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the median base salary for the class of 2020 is projected to be $105,000.2
The same survey noted that even in mid-2020 – during the pandemic – that hiring would rebound: About 89% of recruiters surveyed at that time planned to hire MBAs in 2021.2
Start Your Journey Toward an Online Music Business Degree
Why SNHU For Your MBA in Music Business Degree
With no set class meeting times, you can learn on your schedule and access online course materials 24/7. Our online MBA program offers more fluidity around assignment due dates than before and course resources better suited for the on-the-go learner.
Take advantage of some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation – with total tuition at $18,810 – plus financial aid for those who qualify. We also make it easy to transfer to SNHU by accepting up to 6 credits toward your online MBA 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.
In addition, SNHU's suite of online business programs, including the MBA, are also programmatically accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).
Recently, SNHU has been nationally recognized for leading the way toward more innovative, affordable and achievable education:
- “Most Innovative” regional university honors from U.S. News & World Report each year since 2015
- A $1 million grant from Google.org to explore soft skills assessments for high-need youth
- Recognition as a 2017 Digital Learning Innovator by the Online Learning Consortium
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.
Extensive Business Alumni Network
Since our first MBA graduate class in 1974, we’ve welcomed over 20,000 MBA graduates to our alumni network. For current students, that means an extensive business networking group, an opportunity to seek out college mentorship opportunities and learn from students who have already walked the path.
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.3 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.
How to Apply
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:
- No application fee
- Completing a graduate application
- Providing undergraduate transcripts
Courses & Curriculum
In 2021, the curriculum for SNHU's MBA program was revised to better meet students' needs. Courses now include more multimedia content and real-world business activities that give you the opportunity to gain job-ready skills even before you graduate.
The MBA in Music Business program is now only 10 classes.
While all of SNHU’s online MBA programs include required 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.”
While you'll learn traditional subjects like marketing, finance and ethics, they'll all be woven through your courses, giving you a more efficient MBA experience. As a bonus, you'll be able to "earn as you learn," meaning the coursework gives you the knowledge to help you earn industry-recognized certifications and badges throughout your program.
Additionally, as a student of the online MBA in Music Business, you'll replace one required SNHU MBA course – Organizational Strategy in a Global Environment – with Music Business Leadership and Ethics.
Plus, you'll have 3 concentration courses from Berklee, which explore the practical application of business principles and best practices in the music industry. Courses include:
- Music Business Leadership and Ethics, which 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.
- Music Business Structures and Strategies, which 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. 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 use unexpected channels to reach new audiences.
- Music Marketing Strategies, which examines the tools and emerging technologies used to generate interest in music, acquire new fans and sell content. 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, which 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: financial calculations; money, markets and the music business; and music funding.
Don't have a business background? No problem. Our MBA is accessible to everyone. Interested students must have a conferred undergraduate degree for acceptance, but it can be in any field. Those without an undergraduate degree in business or a related field may be asked to complete up to 2 foundation courses to get started. These foundations cover essential business skill sets and can be used to satisfy elective requirements for the general-track MBA. With foundations, the maximum length of your online MBA would be 36 credits.
Attend full time or part time. Students in the MBA have the option to enroll full time (at 2 classes per term) or part time (with 1 class per term). Full-time students should be able to complete the program in about 1 year, while part-time students could finish in about 2 years. Our SNHU students are busy, often juggling jobs, family and other obligations, so you may want to work with your academic advisor to identify the course plan that works for you. The good news is, you can switch from full time to part time and back again as often as you want.
Learn more about the prestigious, Boston-based Berklee College of Music – the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world.
|View Full Curriculum in the Catalog|
|MBA - Music Business|
|Courses May Include|
|MBA Music Business|
|BMB 515||Music Business Structure and Strategies||This course provides an in depth look at the structure of the evolving music business and strategies for creating successful business models. It will guide students 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. By the end of this course, students will have a deep understanding of the pressing issues that all musicians, music industry entrepreneurs, managers, and other music business professionals face in the main segments of the music industry, and how to leverage opportunities that the new business provides. This course is offered through Berklee Online.|
|BMB 630||Music Marketing Strategies||This course takes an in depth look at the tools and emerging technologies used to generate interest in music, acquire new fans, and sell music. The course begins with an introduction to 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. The course examines effective pricing models, third-party distribution options, and product techniques designed to reward fans, while helping to generate a higher net margin. By the end of the course, students produce a fully timed, integrated, and optimized marketing plan that builds up digital touch points, generates interest, and sells music online. This course is offered through Berklee Online.|
|BMB 655||Music Business Finance||In this course, students learn to apply critical tools of financial analysis to leverage talent, assess the potential of music enterprises, and drive new music businesses. The course explores nontraditional forms of music funding, such as venture capital and crowdfunding opportunities like Kickstarter. The course includes three components, roughly equally weighted in time spent per week: 1- financial calculations - music and business examples, 2- money, markets, and the music business, and 3- funding music. This course in offered through Berklee Online.|
|BMB 670||Music Business Leadership and Ethics||Leadership, decision-making, and ethics represent vital foundations for business professionals in the music industry. The course examines the characteristics of notable leaders, leadership approaches, and music industry leadership scenarios. It explores ethics from a wide variety of industries to gain an understanding about why ethical choices are important, and analyzes current issues affecting the music industry, such as the treatment of artists, intellectual property rights, revenue sharing, and digital media and distribution. Students will apply specific decision-making approaches and ethical frameworks toward projects that mirror the real world. They will create a blueprint for sound decision-making, effective leadership, organizational planning, and ethical awareness that they can immediately apply toward advancing their careers. This course is offered through Berklee Online.|
|MBA 580||Innovation and Strategy for High-Performance Organizations||High performance organizational leaders cultivate innovative thinking and processes and their application to developing successful business strategies. Learners will analyze the attributes of innovative thinkers and cultures and how organizational structure and policy can promote or inhibit innovation. The course will explore the market and technology forces that drive the adoption of innovation and the tools and methods--such as risk analysis, economic analysis, statistics, and forecasting--to drive the analysis, selection, and implementation of innovative products and processes.|
|MBA 645||Optimizing Brands||Organizational leaders balance brand management and its relationship with impactful marketing strategies. Learners will study the key brand elements of identity, trust, and building habit-forming brand experiences. By applying market research, target market identification, customer trends in the marketplace, and ethical considerations, learners will develop a marketing strategy for an organization.|
|Total Credits: 30|
Tuition & Fees
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.
|Online Graduate Programs||Per Course||Per Credit Hour||Annual Cost for 15 credits|
(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.
*Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.
$150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with an MBA in Music Business degree?
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 Southern New Hampshire University 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:
- Artist & repertoire (A&R) manager: Represent musical artists by planning, organizing, directing and negotiating on their behalf.
- Booking agent: Manage the many different aspects of event booking for musicians, including contract negotiation, marketing, event planning and more.
- Publicist: Manage media relations and spin stories that help shape an artist's public image.
- Tour manager: Nail down the logistics of putting an artist on tour, from transportation and accommodations to scheduling, merchandise and finances.
- Music publisher: Review contractual agreements to help ensure artists are paid and their work is protected.
- Promoter: Work with artists and venues to organize tours and special events.
An MBA in Music Business can set you up for success in a competitive industry.
How can an MBA help me in the music business?
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 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 ’13 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 Business 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, vice president 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, but 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.
Where can I study music business?
As with any business degree, you have options when it comes to pursuing a music business degree online, including specialized music business schools.
Southern New Hampshire University's online MBA in Music Business, offered in partnership with Berklee College of Music, is the first of its kind in the U.S. The program consists of 6 core courses online through SNHU and 4 courses through Berklee Online. (This does not include 2 foundation courses, which may be needed for students without knowledge in certain areas from their bachelor's degree.)
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 vice president of academic strategy, notes that this online music degree combines “SNHU’s core strength in business and what Berklee does best in Berklee Online.”
How long does it take to get an MBA in Music Business degree?
The length it takes you to earn your MBA completely depends on your timeline of personal goals and a schedule in which you can be successful.
At Southern New Hampshire University, you have the opportunity to earn your music business degree in just over a year. If you're motivated to finish your MBA faster, this completion timeline can happen if you're able to enroll full time. At SNHU, this means 2 classes per 10-week term.
But that's not a schedule that works for everyone – and that's OK. If you have obligations with work, family or in your personal life, you can opt to enroll part time – at 1 class per 10-week term.
Our online courses are designed to work for you. So if you need to take terms off in between courses, just let your academic advisor 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.
Sources and Citations (1, 2, 3)
1RIAA, 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 Nov. 9, 2020).
2Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), The Impact of COVID-19 on the Hiring of Business School Graduates: Corporate Recruiters Survey 2020 [PDF], on the internet, at https://www.gmac.com/-/media/files/gmac/research/employment-outlook/business-school-hiring-report_corporate-recruiters-survey-2019_may-2019.pdf (viewed Nov. 9, 2020)
3According to more than 9,200 SNHU online students in survey responses from the fall of 2019.