Note: This post was updated in May 2015 to reflect curriculum changes.
Full Sail’s Music Business Bachelor’s Degree program covers all the basics you’d get at any business school, but then dives in and specializes in the music industry to prepare students for a career in a number of music-related fields.
The first half of the 20-month program covers all of the business basics, like statistics, accounting, marketing, and management; while the second half is more music-specific, with courses like Music Merchandising and Distribution, Concert Management and Touring, and Artist Management. One of the greatest parts of the program, according to Program Director Jackie Otero, is the amount of role-playing and simulated on-the-job experience the students get in their courses.
“Students have the opportunity to assist in the development of an artist from start to finish throughout the advanced music business courses. The Artist Management team comes up with an artist, preps them, develops a career plan for them and presents them to a panel of students acting as the record label, as if they were actually meeting at their office for an artist pitch,” says Jackie. “The students use real artists, and a lot of time if they’re local, they’ll bring the artist in to the pitch to have them perform.”
Students in the Concert Management course take two field trips: one to the nearby Plaza Live Theatre, where they learn about the venue’s revenue models and contracts, and the other to the Show Production Final Project Concert, to observe how a live show is set up. They also produce a monthly student networking event, running everything from promotion to booking talent to hosting the event with raffles and networking activities.
In a recent change to the curriculum, a new Music Evaluation for A&R course was introduced, which gives students a basic understanding of music theory. “Even though we’re not a technical or performing degree, we felt like students going into the music industry need to know how to speak the language that the producers and artists are speaking,” says Jackie.
After graduation, some students end up working at record labels, but Jackie stresses that there are so many other career paths that involve the music business. Grads can work as concert promoters, booking agents, or at technology companies that are coming up with new, music-related innovative business models.
“Record labels aren’t the only ones running the show anymore,” says Jackie. “There are so many types of companies that need people that know music.”