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The Career Prospects and Worth of a Music Business Degree Today

music business degree

Pursuing a degree in music business is all about understanding the intersection of art and commerce. It’s about learning how to navigate the complex world of contracts, copyrights, marketing, management, and production—all with the goal of promoting and monetizing musical talent. The global music industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.29% from 2021 to 2027, or $19.24 billion by 2027, according to Statista. This growth offers a wealth of opportunities for those equipped with the right skills and knowledge.

Music is a universal language that transcends borders and cultures, bringing people together and providing a soundtrack to our lives. The professionals behind the scenes – those who manage, promote, and market the artists and their music – play a vital role in shaping our societal soundscape.

If you are considering the prospects of attaining a music business degree, let’s delve into what it takes to earn it and what career paths await graduates.

Qualifications and Requirements for a Music Business Degree

To become a music business degree graduate, students typically need to meet certain academic prerequisites. These may include a high school diploma or equivalent, satisfactory SAT or ACT scores, and a demonstrated interest or background in music.

Once enrolled in a music business degree program, students will be expected to develop both hard and soft skills. Hard skills often taught in these programs include:

  • Music Theory: Understanding the fundamentals of music is essential for anyone working in the music industry.
  • Business Management: Courses may cover topics like marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship.
  • Legal Knowledge: Students often learn about copyright law, contracts, and other legal aspects relevant to the music industry.
  • Technical Skills: Some programs may offer courses in sound engineering, recording, and production.

In addition to these hard skills, successful music business professionals also need a range of soft skills, such as:

  • Communication: Effective communication is key in managing relationships with artists, vendors, and other industry professionals.
  • Creativity: Whether it’s developing innovative marketing strategies or finding new talent, creativity plays a big role in the music business.
  • Negotiation: Being able to negotiate effectively can help secure better contracts and deals.
  • Networking: Building and maintaining a strong professional network is crucial in this industry.

To get into the music business or music industry management, it often helps to have some practical experience. This could be an internship at a record label, volunteering at music festivals or concerts, or even managing a local band. These experiences can broaden your professional network and offer insightful information about the sector.

Top 7 Career Paths for Music Business Graduates

Here are seven popular and in-demand careers that music business degree graduates can pursue.

Music Producer

As a music producer, your role is to oversee the recording, production, and arrangement of tracks or albums. This includes creating an overall vision for a song or album and guiding artists to achieve this vision. You’ll need a strong understanding of music theory, sound engineering, and production software. The average salary for a music producer can range from $31,000 to over $112,000, depending on experience and success.

Recording Engineer

Recording engineers work in a studio setting, operating sound and mixing boards to achieve the desired audio effect. They require technical knowledge in sound engineering and acoustics. The median annual wage for sound engineering technicians was $53,960 in May 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Artist Manager

Artist managers guide the professional careers of artists in the entertainment industry. They negotiate contracts, plan promotional activities, and advise on career decisions. Strong negotiation, networking, and communication abilities are needed for this position. The income of an artist manager can vary greatly, often based on the success of their clients.

Tour Manager

Tour managers organize and coordinate all aspects of an artist’s tour, from travel arrangements to coordinating with local promoters. They need excellent organizational and problem-solving skills. The average salary for a tour manager is around $41,000 per year.

Music Teacher

Music teachers educate students in music theory, history, and practice. They may teach in a school setting or provide private lessons. Patience, communication, and a deep understanding of music are required. The median annual wage for music teachers was $80,840 in May 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Booking Agent

Booking agents negotiate contracts for live performances. They work with promoters and venue owners to book shows and tours. Good negotiation and communication skills are required. The average salary for booking agents can range from $20,800 to $137,200 depending on their client base.


A music publicist works to generate and manage publicity for a musical act. They write press releases, pitch stories to media outlets, and manage social media accounts. Strong writing, communication, and networking skills are key. The median annual wage for public relations specialists, including music publicists, was $67,440 in May 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is a Music Business Degree Worth It Today?

In conclusion, the value of a music business degree is subjective and depends largely on an individual’s career goals and personal circumstances. A degree in music business can provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the music industry’s inner workings, from the technical aspects of sound production to the intricacies of contract negotiation.

For those who are passionate about music and wish to pursue a career in the industry, this degree can provide invaluable skills and knowledge. The networking opportunities provided by such programs can also be beneficial, as the music industry is heavily reliant on relationships and connections.

However, it’s worth noting that success in the music industry doesn’t always require a degree. Many successful professionals in the field have made their way through practical experience, passion, and perseverance. In addition, the financial investment required for a degree may not always guarantee a high return, given the competitive nature of the industry and the often uncertain income levels.

Therefore, potential students should carefully consider their personal goals, financial situation, and career aspirations before deciding to pursue a music business degree. It may be beneficial to gain some practical experience in the industry or speak with professionals in the field before making a decision.

Ultimately, a music business degree can be a valuable tool for those who wish to navigate the complexities of the music industry, but like any degree, it’s not a guaranteed ticket to success. Passion for music, combined with determination and hard work, will always be key ingredients in achieving success in this dynamic and exciting field.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.