Music Business

MI’s Music Business Programs provide hands-on training for business careers in the music industry. Learn career skills including Marketing and Promotion, Music Publishing, Music Contracts and Personal Management from an insider’s perspective. Gain practical experience through your guaranteed internship, bring real independent artists to market and learn how to set up and operate your own record label.

Whether your goal is to land a job in the industry or to manage your own creative career, MI prepares you to handle the challenges of the highly competitive music business with confidence.

Sam Simmons Tour Manager

Top Ten Tips For Success in the Music Business with Dan Kimpel

All programs include:

Day, Evening and Part-Time Schedule Options

Choose the schedule that fits best – contact Admissions for options and details.


Music Business Certificate Program Approximate Hours Days Months Credits
Day Session 10:00am – 6:00pm Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 6 30
Evening Session 6:30pm – 10:30pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 6 30
Part-time Session 6:30pm – 10:30pm 2 nights per week 12 30

Training by Industry Professionals

Industry-veteran instructors bring first-hand knowledge of all aspects of the music business directly to the classroom, from A&R and promotion to contracts, distribution, publishing, and management.

Real-World Internships

Many of MI’s Music Business Program students find work in industry internship positions, which help to foster important industry relationships and in many cases, full-time employment opportunities

Record Companies: Learn How They Work, Start Your Own

Learn the complete record company business cycle from A&R and duplication to promotion and distribution as you bring an actual independent artist to market.

Music Entrepreneurs: the Future is yours

The music industry is undergoing a radical transformation as old business models crumble. Independent music entrepreneurs with fresh ideas will mould the new models that will replace them and MI can provide you with the knowledge and skills to create your own future.


A large part of music business success comes from your network – who you know and who knows you. There is no better place to build lifelong connections than within MI’s community of music professionals in the heart of the international music capital.


Classes provide a comprehensive inside look at the music industry, taught by the professionals themselves. Current MBP courses include:

Required Courses: Certificate in Music Business 

  • Music Law I-II
  • The Record Company
  • Internet Marketing
  • Music Publishing
  • Personal Management
  • Music Business Careers
  • Agents and Attorneys
  • Computers in Business
  • Music Licensing and Supervision
  • Media Relations
  • Networking Strategies
  • Music Distribution
  • Concert and Tour Production
  • Music Industry Internship

Additional Required Courses: Certificate in Music Business (Music Entrepreneur) 

  • Start and Run a Record Label
  • Own and Operate Music Business
  • Independent Artist Marketing
  • Social Networking and Fan Management
  • Preparing Your Business Plan
  • Broadcast Strategies
  • Showcase Promotion
  • Electives (see current course offering for availability)
  • Business History of the Beatles
  • The Global Music Marketplace
  • The Touring Musician
  • Getting Gigs
  • Intro to Music News and Industry Trends
  • Business Writing for the Music Industry
  • Legal Issues: Disputes and Litigation
  • A&R
  • Music Psych
  • Sponsorships and Endorsements
  • Music in America I: 1950-1975
  • Music in America II: 2975-Present
  • How They Made It: Success Stories of the Stars

AA Degree Emphasis (Combined Emphasis)

Associate of Arts students in instrument performance programs (Bass, Drums, Guitar, Keyboard Technology, Vocals) may opt for a course of study that combines the performance program with a music industry program (Audio Engineering, Film, Guitar Craft, Music Business, Independent Artist).

Enrollment in such programs is dependent upon admission approval and space availability.

Associate programs are vocational and do not include General Education requirements or specific preparation for study at the Baccalaureate level.

Music Business Certificate

The Certificate in Music Business program (two quarters/30 credits) provides intensive, hands-on preparation for a career in the music industry. You gain the knowledge and practical skills needed for entry-level employment with record companies or firms specializing in public relations, management, booking, publishing, music supervision, A&R, copyright and marketing & promotion, radio/record promotion The program emphasizes practical experience, with guaranteed industry internships as well as workshop-style classes and projects taught by active music industry professionals.  MI’s location in the heart of Hollywood provides the ideal setting in which to study all aspects of the contemporary music business.


Music Law 1: The Fundamentals

An overview of music law and basic legal concepts that play a significant role in music industry transactions. Topics include Property Law, Intellectual Property, Personality & Publicity Rights, Name & Likeness, Equitable Principles & Remedies (Injunctions & Declaratory Relief, Indemnification), Common Law & Statutory Enactments, Contract Law and Constitutional Principles (Fair Use exceptions, free speech, commercial speech, etc.). Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Computers in Business

Overview of essential software in the music business workplace including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Hands-on projects include preparing visual presentations, business letters and spreadsheets. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

The Record Company

An inside look at record companies including an analysis of the various departments and how they interact with each other to build an artist’s career. Students also consider differences in company structure and artist deals between major and indie labels. As a final project, you seek out an independent artist CD and write a full A&R report, including demographics, genre of music, radio airplay, marketing ideas, suggested record producer, etc. with guidance from professional A&R representatives. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Your Music Business Career

An overview of the varied career opportunities available in the music business including on-air radio personality, production manager and music-related teaching. You receive individual career planning advice from the Music Business Program Director and guest speakers provide professional insights. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Agents and Attorneys

Booking Agents and Music Business Attorneys are essential members of an artist’s management team. This course discusses their responsibilities, how they interact with artists, how they are paid and strategies for choosing them. Guest lectures by attorneys and agents as available.  One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Internet Marketing

The Internet has forever changed the music industry. This course covers all aspects of how the Internet has impacted music industry distribution, promotion, marketing and retail practices. Students delve into a variety of topics including blogging, podcasts, widgets and online retail. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Music Publishing

Publishing remains one of the most lucrative segments of the music industry. Topics include how to copyright songs and recorded works using the online form CO, how royalties are paid to writers and publishers as well as the functions and responsibilities of the Performing Rights Organizations — ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Personal Management

An overview of the responsibilities of personal managers and their relationships with artists. Topics include developing the artist and preparing a career plan, contractual agreements, steps a manager takes to fulfill those obligations as well as negotiating and concluding recording and publishing deals. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Music Law 2: Contracts

This course provides students with hands-on experience in analyzing, drafting and negotiating common music industry agreements. Practical exercises include supervised mock negotiations of music contracts, licenses, releases and other common transactions. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Media Relations

Learn the difference between publicity and public relations and how to write artist bios, press releases, news releases and eye-catching news headlines. Skills apply to independent artists as well as those aspiring to work in the industry. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Music Distribution

Effective distribution is one of the most important elements in a successful career. This course focuses on traditional and innovative means of distributing music including Internet, TV, radio, retail and infomercials as well as how sales results are tallied through SoundScan, Mediabase and BDS. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Concert and Tour Production

Learn how to produce a live concert, musical event, festival or tour. Topics include security, drug laws, capacity, security deposits, all-age shows, fire laws, exit laws, booking venues, minimizing risks, ticket sales, selling merchandise and much more. Guests include booking agents and concert promoters. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Music Industry Internship

You gain firsthand experience in the industry by interning for music-related companies. Prior to placement, students are coached on writing professional résumés, personal interview skills and professionalism. Specific firms, positions and duties vary according to availability. Average of twelve internship hours per week for one quarter. You must present a letter of completion to earn course credits.

Networking Strategies

Success in the changing music industry is determined by the strength and longevity of personal contacts. Essentially, who you know, what you know and most important, who knows you. In this course you analyze and practice different types of communication, social techniques and presentation skills important to making personal contacts in all strata of the music business and building a professional support network. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Music Licensing and Supervision

Artists can open up significant additional revenue streams by licensing their recordings to international record labels, TV, film and video games. This course explains how to submit your music to labels and music supervisors and how deals are typically structured. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Music Business students must complete their elective requirements by choosing among the following courses only:

Business Writing

Learn how to use words as a productive business tool to establish a professional image. This course prepares you to communicate clearly and efficiently through business letters, email, press releases and website content. One lecture/workshop hour per week for one quarter.

Getting Gigs

Learn the most efficient ways for artists and bands to book live shows and tours. Subjects include where to play, checking out the venue, personal appearance contracts, getting paid and putting together your own tours. Guest speakers (as available) include club owners, promoters, booking agents and touring artists. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

The Touring Musician

Learn how to plan tours including itinerary, creating a budget checklist and establishing anchor dates as well as how to make the most of sales, concessions and press. As the culmination, you plan a ten-day tour. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Sponsorships and Endorsements

Sponsorships and endorsements provide a variety of resources that can advance an artist’s career. In this course, you learn strategies for approaching companies and presenting successful proposals. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

News and Industry Trends

You and the instructor review and discuss all of the latest music business news as reported in Billboard, trade websites, newspapers and general media. Discussions center on how the news impacts the industry and your own career. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Intro to Music Journalism

Learn the tools needed to pursue a career as a music journalist. Topics include writing headlines, artist research, conducting interviews and writing album and live performance reviews. Guest journalists lecture in class when available. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.


Learn how to be the music business professional who sets an example for employees and motivates them in the workplace. Class discussions include qualities of leadership, why some lead and others follow, how to hire the best workers, rewarding your employees, identifying employee behavior and how to motivate people. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Legal Issues

Practical application of music industry related legal doctrines and fundamentals. Includes research and analysis of historical disputes in the industry followed by lectures and discussions aimed at determining how they could have been avoided or minimized through negotiation or appropriate contract provisions. You conduct a mock trial of a breach-of-contract case between artist and record company. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Certificate in Music Business (Music Entrepreneur)

The three-quarter/45 credit-unit Certificate in Music Business (Music Entrepreneur) program combines comprehensive training in music business fundamentals with an emphasis on developing independent music entrepreneur skills. Students are prepared for entry-level employment in fields such as public relations, management, booking, publishing, music supervision, A&R, marketing and promotion. You also develop the business, legal and management tools to establish and operate independent music-related businesses or to manage your own careers as independent artists.

Preparing Your Business Plan

Learn how to develop and write a professional plan for starting and growing your business. Topics include market and industry analysis, management and organizational structure, financial projections, estimating start-up costs and more. As a final project, you present a complete plan for your own music-related business. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Start Your Own Record Label

This course details what is needed to start your own label from the creative perspective. Topics discussed include defining the label’s genre, finding and signing artists, setting recording budgets, selecting producers and studios and choosing a distributor. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Social Networking and Fan Management

Learn to use social networking tools to build a fan base, attract attention, build a reliable network of listeners and harness the energy of fans for marketing, promotion and outreach. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Showcase Promotion

You evaluate and select five Los Angeles-area independent artists from the Independent Artist Marketing class, then promote and produce a live industry showcase concert at a local venue. You carry out all aspects of promotion, marketing and publicity under instructor supervision. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Broadcast Strategies

Learn how to use radio to promote independent music. Topics include techniques for securing college and commercial radio airplay, approaching music and program directors as well as different broadcast formats including mix shows, specialty shows, satellite radio and Internet radio. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Independent Artist Marketing

Learn do-it-yourself, grassroots strategies designed for limited budgets by guiding an independent artist’s CD through the entire marketing process.  The course covers image definition as well as branding and demography while students create practical plans for booking multi-format promotion, sponsorships, sales and distribution, film and TV licensing as well as development and distribution of press kits. As the final project, you track, compile and report on marketing results. This is the real thing! Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.

Owning and Operating a Music Business

Learn the legal aspects of starting a business including trademark searches and clearances, DBAs, licenses, setting up the tax structure and obtaining business loans and grants. Topics also include managing daily business operations such as hiring employees, taking inventory, basic business accounting and more. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter.


Music Business Basics

A survey of essential elements of the music business as they pertain to musicians and songwriters. Topics include publishing, copyrights, management, A&R and getting gigs. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Doing Business as a Band

An in-depth discussion of the creative and business aspects of operating a band. Topics include auditioning band members, protecting your band’s name, delegating responsibility, partnership papers, rehearsal tips, putting together a killer live set and promoting your band’s image and music. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

From the Streets to Success

This class reveals how to deal effectively with obstacles encountered by artists as they move to a professional career status. Topics include rehearsal tips, press packages, dealing with the press, getting gigs and creating a buzz. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

Business of Working Musicians

Learn to manage a career as a working musician. Topics include managing life on the road, negotiating an employment contract, calculating per diems, key-man clauses, equipment endorsements, working with unions (AFM and AFTRA), band membership agreements and more. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

The Record Producers

Each week, a different guest producer brings demos and final master recordings of artists’ songs for analysis and comparison. They will also critique students’ original song productions and discusses record producers’ career preparation, development and responsibilities. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter. May be repeated for credit.

New Music Markets

You explore ways of making money in new and different music markets including landing endorsements, applying for showcases, grants, festival gigs, college shows and sponsorships. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

The Global Music Marketplace

A region-by-region overview of the global music marketplace. The Internet carries music to every corner of the world, so learn payment and distribution in various territories, the varying influence of radio and the impact of online music distribution. One lecture hour per week for one quarter.

The Songwriters

A seminar series featuring a different successful guest songwriter each week playing demos of songs recorded by major artists as well as discussing how to break into the business of songwriting and maintain a career. Each class includes a Q&A session with students. Two lecture hours per week for one quarter. Repeatable for credit.

Music Internship

Gain firsthand experience in the music industry by interning for a music-related company. Positions vary according to availability but typically include music publishing, management, record label and promotion or marketing. Specific responsibilities and working hours vary by position. Course enrollment is contingent on placement in a position, minimum of ten weeks/three hours per week. The MI Internship Coordinator will assist in placing students but cannot guarantee placement during a given quarter. May be repeated for credit.

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