The future of music

10 Best Music Business Schools in the US

December 29, 2023
Best Music Business Schools in the US

If you want to succeed in the music industry, you need to possess a special set of skills.

And you need to know the ins and outs of the industry.

Luckily, there are plenty of music business degree programs in the US designed to teach you just that.

And in today’s article, we will introduce you to the best university programs that can prepare you to enter the field.

Here are 10 of the best music business schools in the US. 

1. Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music is one of the best music business schools in the US.

If you’re interested in studying the music business and music in general, you probably have your eyes on Berklee already. 

Berklee is by far one of the most popular music schools in the world, and it’s known for yielding great results with its students; its alumni earned 310 Grammy Awards and other prestigious awards in the industry.

Located in Boston, Berklee offers a variety of study programs, including music business, music production and engineering, film scoring, songwriting, and music therapy. 

Their Music Business/Management Department offers students the possibility to learn everything about the business side of music.

As a Berklee music business major, you would be learning about the legal, financial, artistic, and ethical issues that contemporary music business professionals face these days. 

And you would have three tracks available to you: Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurial.

Berklee also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music Industry Leadership and Innovation and a Bachelor of Music in Music Business/Management.

And for those interested in distance learning, there are online music degree programs (Berklee Online) and online certificate programs at the professional or advanced professional level. 

Berklee College of Music Online - Music Business Specialization

Launch your career in the music business. Success begins with creativity & fundamentals in entrepreneurship, law, and music business structure.

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2. Florida State University

Florida State University is one of the best music business schools in the US.

Florida State University is another great option for students interested in music business courses.

The music program at FSU includes a variety of study areas and fields; from classical music and musical theater to commercial music and jazz.

Their well-rounded curriculum is designed to prepare students for different tasks in the music industry.

Besides getting comprehensive training in the field, FSU students have the opportunity to get courses from the College of Business.

FSU also provides an education in arts management and leadership, with a curriculum based on the arts (music) and the context of increasing technological, social, and economic change.

Arts Administration/Music is offered through the College of Music and is designed for students with a prior degree in Music.

And for those interested in theater (and with a prior degree in the theater), there’s a Theatre Management study program offered through the College of Fine Arts, School of Theatre.

3. University of Colorado Denver

University of Colorado at Denver, US business school.

CU Denver was named to Billboard’s 2022 Top Music Business Schools list, and it’s been described as an elite school that is shaping the future of the music industry.

Their alumni have won Emmy Awards for sound recording and have been touring and performing around the world with their bands, and some of them are currently working at Warner Music Group, Spotify, and Rolling Stone.

That said, this popular Denver-based school is another place to look into.

Their program is focused on research and innovative solutions.

And it covers a variety of relevant topics in areas such as musicianship, audio engineering, publishing, concert management, and marketing. 

Besides undergraduate and graduate degrees, CU Denver offers certificates, non-degree programs, and honors & leadership programs. 

4. Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel is another US University praised by Billboard Magazine.

Located in Philadelphia, Drexel offers a variety of study programs, including a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Music Industry Studies.

The school offers courses on how to select the methods and occasions to apply data analysis, as well as how to write queries and formulas in multiple programming languages.

But their curriculum also includes copyright, publishing, music production, and listening techniques.

That said, as a student at Drexel’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, you’ll be able to learn all about essential industry concepts as well as build the vocabulary necessary to communicate about music. 

Moreover, you would have a chance to work at Drexel’s independent record label, Mad Dragon Records.

5. CSU Northridge

CSU Northridge

The music industry studies program at California State University Northridge is also regarded as one of the best music business degree programs in the US.

The Music Industry Studies (MIS) Option prepares students for executive and administrative careers in the music industry.

The curriculum is quite versatile, and courses are not focused solely on business.

Students can participate in traditional music courses (such as individual applied music lessons and performing ensembles) – and that’s why you need to pass an audition to enroll.

But there are also classes that will teach you how to navigate the music industry. 

This interdisciplinary approach is very effective as it allows you to understand both sides of the industry. 

Finally, the program gives students ample opportunities for practice – from internships to working in student-produced events and a student-run, faculty-advised record label.

6. Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University attracts many students because of its location and proximity to Nashville, known as the City of Music.

The school provides hands-on learning in world-class facilities, and Billboard Magazine keeps listing the program as one of the top 10 U.S. schools for sound engineering and the music industry.

They offer a degree program in Music Business in the Department of Recording Industry.

This music degree program is ideal for students who want to manage or represent artists, market their songs, promote concert tours, or be involved in any aspect of bringing music to the listeners.

They also offer a comprehensive internship program with industry-leading companies as well as study-abroad opportunities.

And there’s a 100% online music business degree available for those who don’t want to move to another city to enroll. 

7. Syracuse University

Syracuse University

Syracuse University also offers an outstanding music industry degree program.

The rigorous curriculum and well-designed courses provide students with the practical, legal, creative, and theoretical knowledge needed to succeed in the music business. 

The program also allows them to gain an understanding of music organizations and their ways of dealing with the issues facing the music business. 

Some of the courses include Music Industry and the Media, Live Sound and Concert Recording, Music Industry Law and Ethics, and Social Media for the Music Business.

Also, as a Syracuse student, you would have many opportunities to perform (in the school’s many ensembles, for instance) while completing your studies. 

8. Frost School of Music – University of Miami

Frost School of Music - University of Miami

Another top choice for music business students is Frost School of Music’s Modern Artist Development and Entrepreneurship (M.A.D.E.) program.

The program helps students become experts in performing, songwriting, and arranging while developing the skills needed to market music, negotiate business licenses, manage copyright, and so on.

But the MADE major also gives you the freedom and flexibility to focus on your preferred areas of emphasis.

Frost also offers the Music Industry (MIND) program designed to prepare students for the music industry of today. 

The program has been named one of the top music industry programs by Billboard, so it’s undeniably one of the best music business degree programs in the country. 

9. Full Sail University

Full Sail University

Full Sail University started out in 1979 as a recording school offering courses in audio engineering. 

The school is now regarded as one of the best universities for studying music, media, and arts, covering a variety of fields.

But Full Sail is best known for its innovative music industry programs based on real-world industry experience and creative problem-solving.

Besides their Music Business Bachelor’s, Full Sail University’s Entertainment Business master of science degree program is a great choice for anyone who wants to enter the field. 

The curriculum covers key concepts like financial planning, publishing and distribution, and contract negotiation.

Generally, Full Sail offers associate, undergraduate, and master’s degrees, as well as single courses and course stacks and a variety of online music degree programs.

10. Thornton School of Music – University of Southern California 

Thornton School of Music - University of Southern California 

Located in Los Angeles and at the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music is a popular US music school offering a variety of degree programs.

Thanks to its location, top faculty, and well-rounded courses, the school is ideal for students interested in entering the music industry.

Their 4-year music business program tackles artist management, the recording industry, music publishing, music supervision, artist branding and marketing, music law, and live concert promotion.

Students also learn about ethics in the music industry, venue management, music and mindfulness, and data analysis decision-making for artists. 

All in all, Thornton School of Music is a top choice for ambitious students who want to gain valuable knowledge and learn how to take an analytical approach to the field. 

How to Choose a Music Business School? 

As you can see, many outstanding universities offer music business degree programs. 

And all of the schools we mentioned today provide excellent facilities and well-designed courses taught by experts.

You just need to find a program that meets your needs.

And to be able to do that, you need to think about your career goals.

What type of music business are you interested in?

What music genres and styles do you prefer?

Furthermore, you should think about your learning habits and preferences – what kind of learning format do you feel most comfortable with?

With that in mind, you should create a shortlist of all the schools that offer what you’re looking for.

person using a laptop

When making a list of potential music production schools, you should also consider the following factors:

  • Location
  • Tuition fees
  • Courses offered
  • Facilities
  • Student experiences

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, you can start checking for application dates.

Meeting the deadline for each aspect of the application is crucial, so try to prepare everything you need in advance and make sure you don’t send your application at the last minute.

Should You Go to Music Business School? 

Regardless of what type of job you’re interested in, going to music business school requires a general interest in the business side of music.

However, the best music business degree programs focus on both parts of the profession, and they also teach the fundamentals of business within the music industry from a musician’s perspective.

Good music business schools cover a variety of topics, including marketing, management, legal issues, budgeting, and so on.

So, most programs are focused both on business and arts, although some of them are more business-oriented than others.

Either way, if you want to find a lucrative job within the music industry, getting a music business degree will certainly equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge and improve your career prospects.

three men laughing in a room

If you’re still not sure whether going to music business schools is something you’re supposed to do, you should think about your goals and dreams.

Many employers seek people with skills and/or experience, but some positions in the music industry do require a degree.

So, before deciding anything, you should conduct thorough research or ask someone experienced for advice.

But no matter what your goals are, one thing is for sure – studying the music business would bring you many benefits.

For instance, as a music business student, you would make connections and meet fellow artists, musicians, producers, and other relevant people from the industry.

But enrolling in a music study program also means investing a lot of time and money. 

On the other hand, if your education is something that matters to you, applying for a good study program is certainly something you should consider doing. 

And if you enroll in a degree program that meets your needs, we’re sure you’re not going to regret it. 

Best Music Business Schools in the US – Final Thoughts 

All the best music business schools in the US provide top-notch classes, state-of-the-art facilities, and many practice and internship opportunities.

Therefore, having a music business degree would undoubtedly give you an edge over competitors. 

More importantly, a good music business degree program would equip you with the skills necessary to succeed in a rapidly evolving industry.

You may also like: Best Music Schools in the US

Berklee College of Music Online - Music Business Specialization

Launch your career in the music business. Success begins with creativity & fundamentals in entrepreneurship, law, and music business structure.

We are a professional review website that may receive compensation for the products we review.

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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