Getting into the music industry

Ashley Meeks is a 23 year old recent grad of University of North Alabama. During her time there her concentration was Entertainment Industry: Music Business. She was also a member of the Music Entertainment Industry Student Association (MEISA). During her last semester, she interned with International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) in Summer 2013. She has a strong passion for the music industry and hopes to one day be a part of a well known company within the industry possibly utilizing her skills in social media or artist management. In 2015 she will begin working on her Master’s of Business Administration, concentrating on Marketing at Middle Tennessee State University.

Those are the very words my parents asked me when I told them that I wanted to go to school for
music business. This scared them as they had never heard of anyone going to school for such a thing! It
was my passion and I could not seeing myself doing anything else. I took the risk and declared my major
as Music Business. If music and business is your passion, why not get the best of both worlds? I will
share what studying the music business entails. Here’s all 4 years wrapped in just this short article.
Freshman and sophomore year consisted of nothing but the basics of course, just like any other major.
For me, this included pre-calculus, some science classes (biology, geology, etc.), English, and other
classes of the sort. Now don’t think that just because these are classes that have nothing to with the
major, that they can just be disregarded. They all have their purpose and believe it or not, they can
actually help you in the music industry. For instance, any math class you’d happen to take as an
underclassmen, can actually help you with things such as calculating royalties which is a huge deal in the
music industry. If you’re not naturally just good at math then paying attention or even getting help with
your math classes will be your best bet so that once you have to calculate royalties and advances that
you’ll find in contracts. Science classes, especially social sciences such as psychology, are great to learn
because they teach you about people and environments and how they interact overall as well as
thought processes and personalities. This will come in play when you have to decide who the target
market for an artist will be and how other markets will react to this artist, therefore determining how
successful an artist will be. English, specifically English classes that show you how to become a better
writer and speaker is a major part of negotiating, persuading an audience, and even inquiring to record
labels about a plethora of things. If you master all these things as mentioned before, you will excel not
only in your core classes, but also the music industry itself.
Now to the fun stuff; core classes! I was so excited once I’d finally gotten to my core classes! They
were exactly what I had been waiting to get into since day one. Now keep in mind that not all music
industry programs consist of the same core classes. For me these classes included a class geared toward
a general learning of the music industry and was an introductory class. This is one of the classes that you
must absolutely pay attention in as it contains the core terms and foundations of all the rest of your core
classes. In this class we were introduced to many things such as different types of record labels,
different types of record deals, how royalties are calculated, and also all of the different positions that
are in the music industry and how they just make the music industry flow. Another class that was
important was a class in which I got to experience the technological side of the music industry in which I
was introduced to programs such as Logic, ProTools, and Garage Band. This was actually one of my more
challenging classes due to the fact that even though I loved technology, I just did not have the
creativeness or patience to actually create music. However, it made me respect so much more what
producers, writers, and artists go through to make things come together.
The next few classes go hand in hand and I enjoyed taking them together within the same semester.
These classes include Music Publishing, Record Company Operations, Entertainment Law, and Artist
Management and Touring. As you can see these are all the meat of the music industry. You learned in depth about the publishing business, how there are many rules to follow when it comes to copyright,
and also the many processes that there are in touring and with actually releasing an album. These
classes were some of the best classes I took. I felt like I had a strong knowledge for the music industry
and that by graduation I would be ready to hit the ground running with it.
If you are considering studying the music industry, I would definitely take a look at the schools
website and take a look at the program curriculum as well as the course catalog which usually includes
course descriptions. Also, start looking at different careers in the music industry and start thinking about
what you could envision yourself doing. If salary or income is a concern research that as well. Most
importantly, figure out if music business is your passion and if you could see yourself doing it for the rest
of your adult life. Hope someone finds this helpful as I did not have many resources about studying the
music industry.

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