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MA in Music Business and Industry

Concert venueTraditional music industry income streams – music publishing, live music, and music recording – are not only deeply interrelated, but are today also vastly more complex and multi-layered then ever before, due to the development of digital technologies, and online networking, communications, and commerce. Furthermore, due to the same factors, the industry’s regulations and boundaries, and thus many of its new structures and systems, are today in a state of continuous development and change.

The Master of Arts Program in Music Business and Industry at West Virginia University addresses this interrelation, complexity, and fluctuation, by offering an integrated and methodical approach to understanding and mastery of current music industry systems and commercial practices, combined with constant vigilance, close analysis, and acute awareness of new regulations, income streams, and business models. To facilitate this holistic, methodical approach, the program’s courses are divided into three academic modules and an industry project. Each module represents a distinct, yet interrelated and multidisciplinary whole.

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The modules included in the program are as follows:

1. Music Industry Foundations module covers the origins and development of the music industry and related intellectual property laws. The study and analysis of society, culture, politics, commerce, law and technology, all intersect at this junction and provide students with broad and deep understanding of the forces that shape the industry. (3 courses at 3 credits each/9 credits total)

2. Music Commerce, Management and Operations module is the central module of the program. As such, it includes the most courses and credits. This module covers commercial and operational principals, practices and models across the music industry at both the national and international levels from recording and publishing to product development and sales, with common emphasis on interdisciplinary interrelation and interdependence between all its components. (7 courses at 3 credits each/ 21 credits total)

3. Music Production Methods and Technology module covers fundamental technical aspects of music recording and live music production processes by providing students with the crucial technical understanding and knowledge necessary for appropriate interdisciplinary creative and commercial decision making and operations. (2 courses, at 3 credits each / 6 credits total)

Industry Project is the capstone of the program’s sequence, and it is undertaken when all the academic modules are completed. It consist of an approved practical music industry project, created and managed by the student, accompanied by various materials – written, audio, or/or visual – as appropriate to the project. The project demonstrates the competence to identify a problem, create a project relevant to an evolving field in music management, and/or produce a working product that is executed in a systematic manner using interdisciplinary research and management tools. (1 course, 3 credits / 3 credits total)

The Master of Arts Program in Music Business and Industry at West Virginia University provides students with the up-to-date, relevant knowledge and skills needed to productively operate, lead, and successfully manage the dynamic changes in the music industry. At the conclusion of the program, students will be able to creatively participate in all the music industry’s sectors as national and international leaders, and will be prepared to make major professional contributions in the field of the music industry.

Admission (MA in Music Business and Industry)

Admission is selective and competitive. Minimum application materials include the following:
  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited university and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. (The GPA requirement may be waived based on professional experience in the industry, and/or strong academic or professional recommendations.)
  • 3 academic and/or professional recommendations
  • a resume/curriculum vitae
  • a 500-word essay describing student’s professional preferences, goals and aspirations
  • This degree is offered online through