Music Business: Making Music Pay

The Dealmakers and Tastemakers

Let’s face it - just about all live and recorded music wouldn’t make it to listeners without business.

Some call it a necessary evil, but the world would never enjoy the full benefits of music without some kind of business behind it. This is where the music business is born.

Everything from finding new artists to record and promote to streaming and physical media distribution is all done for the sake of business, and the music business industry is only getting bigger.

Record labels are business entities, and they need people at all levels for marketing, artist development, and studio contracts. They are the lawyers, executives, scouts, and merch table mavens of the music industry, and without them music would never pay.

Making music pay for artists, the companies that represent and distribute them, and themselves is the goal of music business professionals. How they achieve this goal is up to experience, education, and attitude.

Working in the business of music means dealing with artists and executives alike. It’s developing an understanding of trends in music, and when to break away from the norm.



Types of Music Business Degrees

Professionals in the music business come from all types of educational backgrounds. Most often, a student who wants to follow this path obtains a degree in music business.

Music business degrees require courses of study exploring both the art of music and the laws, economics, and growth strategies of business. The music business graduate could start a record store, or a record label with these skills, or go on to manage the next big chart-topping pop star.

But not all students that want to pursue music business as a career need to study as a music business major. Many future music business students majoring in performance or composition then take business as a minor to combine their experience into a more personally-catered journey.

Whatever their chosen path, it’s safe to say that knowing how to proceed with music business school admissions requires a clear understanding of the specific student’s desires, goals, and aspirations.

How Can IMS Help?

Finding the right school for you

A student-centered approach to the music school admissions process.

Through a rigorous exploration of the student’s interests, career goals, and enrichment goals, we develop a comprehensive preparatory program of mock auditions, portfolio development, and admissions interview strategies informed by over 40 years in the business.

Consulting students on the admissions process also requires a keen understanding their motivations for pursuing music.

Students who know how to put their passion forward in music school applications will more successfully pursue those passions. Inside Music Schools is built on a deep experience of how admissions staff and faculty read into those passions when deciding who to admit.

At the end of this process, we develop a comprehensive list of schools the student should apply to based on several factors:

  • Interest - What inspires the student to play?
  • Skill Level - Our recommendations aim to be constructive environments, not ones that sets the student up to fail.
  • Career Prospects - What does the student want to do with their performance major? Some schools are better for teaching, while others are better for musical theater and jazz performance.

With our comprehensive list of music business schools in hand, and the guidance of consultant Steve Lipman, students have a better chance of getting into the program that’s right for them.

Schools for Music Business

Syracuse University’s Bandier program sends students on a semester in Los Angeles as part of their immersive and experience-rich program. The program is named after Martin Bandier, chairman of Sony Music, who graduated from the university.

Many music schools offer specific music business programs. DePaul University in Chicago boasts a program that puts students into relationships with legendary venues and institutions to kick-start their career, while Northeastern University’s Co-op model has been adopted by schools the world over.

The choice of music business school is only worth how well it fits with the student in question. That said, there is a right school for every student.

Where have some of our students ended up?


Let’s Talk

The first step on any student’s musical journey is asking questions. After our first conversation, you’ll see the value in embarking on this often complicated process with the right guide on your side.