Advice Clinic

What can I do with a music business degree?

10th October 2017

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“Take care of the business,” KISS bassist Gene Simmons once advised, between mouthfuls of vomited blood, “or the business will take care of you”. And it’s true. While the music scene obviously needs the hairy visionaries out front, it also needs the folks behind them with the business acumen, to keep the wheels on and make sure everyone retires to a mansion with a guitar-shaped swimming pool. Take a respected music business BA and you’ll be primed for all sorts of related professions in the music industry and beyond. Here’s a few.

Artist Manager/Tour Manager

Imagine Ozzy Osbourne trying to book an international flight, or Pete Doherty attempting to negotiate an Excel doc, and you’ll start to appreciate why every creative outfit needs a great management team. A music business degree will give you a grounding in everything from budgeting and insurance to tour routing and staging logistics, and leave you with the management chops to take on the operation of a band, dance troupe or theatre company.

Booking Agent/Promoter/Events Manager

Tanking album sales needn’t spell doom. If you see your future in live events – and want to do more than wear an old Motӧrhead t-shirt and carry drums up flights of stairs – you’ll pick up vital skills on a music business BA. By the time you graduate, you’ll be ready to effectively plan and promote major tours or one-off extravaganzas. Those same skills will also serve you well if you end up leaning towards ‘regular’ events planning (weddings, parties etc).

A&R

Short for ‘artist and repertoire’, A&Rs are the record label’s nocturnal foot soldiers, scouring the toilet circuit each night for the gonnabes and shattering the dreams of the no-hopers. A music business degree will give you a flying start, teaching you how to spot commercial viability and develop rough diamonds into bankable stars.

Soundman

Just because you enrol on a music business degree, that doesn’t doom you to end up as a cigar-chomping fat cat with a pie-chart fixation. If you’d rather be in the thick of the action, BIMM’s BA includes a Live Sound Technology module teaching everything from the science of sound and practical PA usage to effective communication with the musicians onstage.

Marketing Executive/Social Media Manager

At a time when every tone-deaf chancer has a Facebook page, marketing is the art of shouting loud in all the right places. A music business degree will give you the relevant skills – from drumming up pledge donations to turning social network numbers into arses on seats – and these are totally transferable, so you can slip between industries as your career progresses. Plus, with every company now bent on achieving an online presence, you’ll emerge with the makings of a highly employable social media manager.

Distributor/Merchandiser

Yes, the CD is probably dead in the water, but the modern industry still has endless physical products that need to get from A to B fast. Take a music business course and you’ll learn how these channels flow, and how to surf them, handling everything from piracy to digital distribution. This knowledge doesn’t just equip you for the music industry: it’s relevant for any industry where goods are on the move.

Publisher

Whenever someone writes an original song or book, there are rights to pin down and money to be made. A good music business BA will guide you through the headspinning world of intellectual property, copyright legislation, digital rights management – and could even be a springboard into the world of book or magazine publishing.

Entrepreneur

Right now, the creative industry is in a state of flux – which means it’s the perfect time to come up with the platforms, apps and ideas that will shape its future. On a music business course, you’ll be encouraged to think outside the box, learning the rules – then ripping them up.

Join us on Music Business in Berlin, Bristol, London, Manchester, Brighton or Birmingham. Find out more here.

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Author

Henry Yates is a freelance journalist who has written for music magazines including Classic Rock, Total Guitar, Guitarist, NME and Metal Hammer, and brands including V Festival, Download, Epiphone, Yamaha, Roland and Universal. His proudest career moment was meeting Jimmy Page - and his toughest assignment was interviewing Pharrell Williams."