Course Overview

Music Business School 2018 – Course Content

The Music Business School course is split into several modules that combine to give a full overview of how the music business works, and how to manage a business in this exciting industry.

Week One: Introduction to the Music Business

To start the course, we take an overview of the music business as it exists currently. The music business is changing rapidly, and so having a clear understanding of where things are today forms an important basis for understanding all parts of the industry.  We give you an introduction to key revenue streams, music business services, and live music promotions.

We’ll also start you on the path to thinking about a number of other topics: The Artist – recordings & compositions; the music business service sector – management, live, legal & financial; Copyright & Rights Administration – record labels, publishers, collecting societies; how to evaluate potential revenue streams.

Also on the agenda for week one is getting to know your fellow students and starting to build your new set of music business contacts!

Week Two & Three: Running A Record Label

Weeks two & three take a deep dive into the business of starting, running or operating a record label. We take a look at the ways different kinds of label release music – from small indie labels, through to the so called “majors” – global record companies like Sony Music, Warner, and Universal. This module also examines how the techniques of record labels can apply to self-releasing artists.

Topics covered include: how to distribute music to iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and other digital stores and streaming services; how to sell music in High Street Stores; manufacturing CDs and vinyl; registering recordings with the relevant collecting societies to maximise revenues – both for labels and self-releasing artists; finding additional revenue streams and income – licensing, brand partnerships and associations; new markets for music; core legal principles – how to do deals for retail and distribution, including multiple rights and 360 degree deals.

Ready to kickstart your music business career?

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Weeks Four & Five – Music Publishing

Music Publishing is a complex part of the music business – and having a solid understanding of how publishing works is essential no matter what area of the music business you operate in. Because music publishing deals with the underlying writes to all music – the words and melody that make songs – it’s fair to say that publishing underpins the entire industry.

In the new music business publishing is more important than ever, and offers valuable opportunities to generate income from songs and recorded music being placed in films & TV, in games, and in advertising. This vitally important aspect of the music business is covered in weeks four and five, where we will introduce you to the “hidden” business of global music publishing, including: Publishing Companies – who are they, and how to they make money for you? Self-publishing your music – is this a realistic option, and how do you go about it? TV, Film & Advertising – what do sync agents and music supervisors do and who are the leading companies in this field? Licensing Agreements – understand the essentials of music licensing and meet experts in the field.

Week Six – Artist Management

Artist Managers are the power brokers of the new digital music business. In this module we will study the role they play, examine the responsibilities of an artist manager, understand the different business models managers operate under, and learn first hand from some leading names in the artist management community.

Whether you want to take on the challenging but rewarding career of an artist manager, or are will be operating in another areas of the music business this module will give you a clear understanding of how artist management works and the position managers hold at the centre of the artist business. If you’re an artist who wants to self-manage (or find management) we will look into how you build a winning team to support you. Key topics covered in this module include: Management Contracts – we demystify the terms, territories, commissions and legals; Building a team – Lawyers, PRs, Pluggers & Marketing, Tour Managers and the rest;Workiing with marketing teams and promoting artists – where to get additional info; Your responsibilities to your artist, and their responsibilities to you.

Week Seven & Eight – Taking It Live and Touring

Live music touches every other aspect of the music business; if you run or work with a record label artists on that label will play live shows, and if you are a publisher you will generate revenues from the live business.Learning about the live side of the music business is going to be essential as you make your way in the music business.

This unit – focused on live and touring – breaks down the fundamentals of the live industry from both the artist manager’s perspective, but also as a live promoter. With the input of expert guest speakers and presenters we take a look at the following topics: Who are the live music business players? Promoters, Agents, Tour Managers, Technical Staff – who does what, and when; Live Music for Artists – stage plans, preparing your technical rider, tour support from labels;Live music for promoters – how to cost an event, licenses and planning permission, event insurance; universal considerations – health & safety, contracts and agreements.

Week Nine – Radio & Playlisting

Radio is still one of the most important media platforms for getting music to mainstream audiences – and for commercial success. With millions of people tuning into radio stations each week in the UK, radio is far from dead. Simultaneously, streaming services are operating more like radio, and securing strong playlist positions with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and other services can bring new fans and strong returns for artist-centred music businesses.

We explore what it takes to get your music to the people who make the programming decisions, and we take a look at some of the current changes in radio and the digital media landscape. With guest speakers working right at the heart of UK radio, this module contains an overview of BBC Radio – Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, 1 Xtra; an explanation of radio playlists – how A, B and C lists fit into programming and how spot plays and specialist shows work; radio pluggers – who are they, what do they do, and what do they charge? On Air, On Sale – what does this mean, and how do different networks treat it? What does the future look like? Is it Radio 1’s Live Lounge, or will Spotify, SoundCloud, Pandora – or something entirely new – change the rules for everyone?

Week Ten – Working With Producers & Remixers

The world of music production has changed out of all recognition in the past couple of decades. Where before producers were reliant on expensive studio equipment the advances in laptop DAWs and even mobile technology to make music means that the role of a producer has changed considerably. From traditional studio producers to laptop based beat-makers through to remixers and those who create entirely new works based on the original, artists and labels are spoilt for choice these days when assessing the different production facilities and services available for them. While the traditional bricks and mortar studio still holds a supremely important place in the music business there are many other options that can be valuable. Some producers have become artists in their own right taking their work to the live space, in front of massive festival audiences, while others – although barely known by the public – are hugely influential hit makers with their own distinctive sound.

In this module we explore the world of producers and take a high level view of music production, including: Different styles and types of producers; who pays producers, what fees you should pay and what rights are involved; the use of samples in your music and how to clear the rights; mastering and mixing – will human technicians be replaced by computers?

Week Eleven & Twelve – Digital Marketing & Social Media


Digital Marketing and Social Media have changed the way the music business engages with and develops a fan base, and have lowered the entry barriers for connecting with music fans and building an audience for your artist, label or club night.

In these sessions we look at the platforms that you can use to build your online presence and support more traditional forms of marketing. In addition, we take a look at “old media vs new media” marketing techniques and help you workshop a marketing strategy for your artist campaign or music business, drawing together many different platforms and elements of the marketing mix to develop a fully fleshed out marketing timeline. Content covered in this module includes: Overview of key platforms and marketing touchpoints – how to correctly set up your website, social media and online presence; online advertising – how to effectively structure and measure online advertising campaigns, and how to avoid expensive mistakes; direct-to-fan marketing and online retail and fulfilment platforms – how to develop your merch business without investing heavily up front; brand and communications – developing your brand guidelines and marketing assets to effectively reflect who you are.

Week Thirteen – Financing Your Music Business


The final module of Music Business School’s thirteen week course is possibly the most important. Now that you have the knowledge and skills to create a music business – or to kick start your own artist career – you are in a position to put together a coherent and compelling business plan.

In the UK we are fortunate that there are a number of funders who are happy to support music businesses and the final module of Music Business School helps you identify different sources of finance and investment, understand different types of business funding, and present a music investment proposal.

Still have questions?

We understand that embarking on a course can be a big decision. Our course advisors are always available to talk through any questions you might have, and to discuss options around finance and funding.

Click below and set up a call with one of the team at Music Business School – we’re always happy to talk to prospective students

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