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Music Business and Industry M.A.

Aug. 21, 2024

Next Start Date


Courses Required


Cost Per Credit Hour


Total Credit Hours

Online Asynchronous

Learning Format

The Reed College of Media and College of Creative Arts will merge to form the new WVU College of Creative Arts and Media as of July 1, 2024. Get details.

Provide Visionary Leadership in the Music Business

The Master of Arts in Music Business and Industry offered by the College of Creative Arts provides an integrated and methodical approach to understanding the mastery of current music industry systems and commercial practices, combined with acute awareness of new regulations, income streams, and business models.

You will focus on the skills, concepts, and methodologies central to global business models and apply these models to the artistic management and entrepreneurial challenges of music and digital media in the global entertainment industry.

A musician and a producer in the studio recording a song.

While music is an art, it is also a global and multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of people in live performance, recording, and publishing sectors. The online Master of Arts in Music Business and Industry, offered by the College of Creative Arts, prepares students for careers in the music business field by offering an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to understanding and mastering music industry systems, methods, and practices. The program provides historical context as well as courses in management, production, legal issues, and emerging technologies.

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Music Business and Industry M.A. Admission Requirements

Successful completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution.

Step 1

  • WVU Online Graduate Application
  • Resume
  • Writing sample. Write a short essay outlining professional preferences, goals, and aspirations.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended (other than WVU)
  • International Students are required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score.

Step 2

**Admitted students who have completed the following undergraduate course(s) prior to registering for the program must complete the following during the first year of the program:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Music earned - Undergraduate Accounting / Financial Management course needed
  • Bachelor's Degree in Business earned - Undergraduate Music Appreciation course needed
  • Other Bachelor Degree(s) earned - Undergraduate Accounting / Financial Management course and Undergraduate Music Appreciation course needed

Apply Now

Chris Morlock profile image.

Chris Morlock

Music Business and Industry M.A.
"The Music Industry program gave me the flexibility to complete my coursework and march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the WVU Marching Band!"
"The added flexibility allowed me to work full-time jobs that require the standard work business hours. In my previous job, it was not a typical 9-5 position. In this role, I traveled for work and had to complete my assignments on my own schedule. Professors in both of my programs were understanding if I had something come up in my day-to-day life."

Both of Chris’s programs utilized the discussion board feature, which really helped him connect with his peers in his courses.

"I felt that it was an actual conversation and not solely an assignment. I’ve connected with my peers on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter too."

He recommends that online students use a planner or Microsoft Outlook to keep organized.

"I always made a calendar and schedule to make sure that my assignments were completed on time. Online programs require a level of independence and self-motivation to keep on track in the courses. Starting off the semester with a system for organization will help you significantly."

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Cassandra Muhr

Music Business and Industry M.A.

Proficiency in communication, marketing, and PR fundamentals, adept scheduling abilities, understanding of copyright principles, familiarity with contemporary musical trends, strong computer skills, and basic financial management knowledge are all valuable competencies for individuals pursuing a degree in the Music Business and Industry program. Just ask Cassandra Muhr.

"I am currently in the process of leaving a Marketing & Communications Manager position for a brass band to pursue a General Manager position with a symphony orchestra. Neither of these jobs would have been attainable without my Music Business & Industry degree."

Cassandra always had a passion for music but wasn't sure which aspect she wanted to pursue. Initially interested in music production during her undergrad studies, she later discovered it wasn't the right fit and began exploring other possibilities.

After conducting interviews with artists for her college radio show, she discovered her interest in music management. As she explored options, she found the online program at WVU, which provided her with the opportunity to expand her knowledge of the industry.

"I planned to work and wanted to pursue my graduate degree to deepen my understanding of the music industry. The online program enabled me to study various aspects of the industry while simultaneously gaining practical experience in my field."

The most rewarding parts of the program included the connections she made and the program's flexible completion options.

Throughout most of her two-year commitment, Cassandra juggled full-time employment while pursuing her studies. Despite occasional stress, she found the workload manageable, thanks to the support of her professors. Their extensive industry connections not only offered insights into various facets of the field but also provided invaluable networking opportunities. Additionally, Cassandra seized the chance to collaborate with Mon Hills Music Group through the program, further enriching her experience and skill set while establishing valuable connections.

For those thinking about pursuing this degree, Cassandra has the following advice.

"Network, network, network! It is so important in the music industry to establish connections. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone who is in a position you would be interested in learning more about. Those connections will be important in helping you find a job that you enjoy and that fits your goals. Enjoy the journey."

Laverne Perry profile image.

Laverne Perry

Music Business and Industry M.A.
"I always received a timely and thoughtful response to every email and question that I had."

Laverne Perry chose WVU Online because of its excellent reputation and taking classes online was convenient for her.

"I was able to take classes at my own pace," she says.
"Online learning allowed me the time to study around my work schedule and have the opportunity to communicate with my professors and fellow students on a regular basis."

Laverne was happy that online learning allowed her to continue her education and her career at the same time.

"The education I received was excellent," she says. "WVU is a respected institution that provides its students with hands-on learning experiences that they may not receive at other colleges and universities."

Laverne attended her undergraduate program in-person but was never able to connect with any of her professors because of their conflicting schedules.

"My work schedule and their office hours were never the same," she says.
"My time at WVU Online was different. I was able to send messages to my professors when my schedule allowed, and I always received a timely and thoughtful response to every email and question that I had."

Joshua Swiger profile image.

Joshua Swiger

Music Business and Industry M.A.
"Music is part of our DNA and if I can help the next generation of musicians succeed then my calling has been answered."

Joshua Swiger has a passion for music and the success of the arts.

"Music and the arts are what move us forward as a society," he says. "I love to see the passion of the musicians on stage and the experience the audience is having. It transcends our soul."

Seeing musicians being successful, working and living daily in their field is what motivates him to be a teacher.

"My teaching style is real, practical and applicable," he says. "I provide the knowledge and then have students apply that in real-world scenarios. My goal is for the student to have experience working in the profession now, not after they graduate."
"My students teach me as much as I teach them," he says. "We educate each other. The music industry moves at the speed of light, so we have to stay current, day by day."

He says it is important to treat online learning with as much energy as on-campus learning.

"I have course check-ins online that give us time, as a class, to catch up and see how everyone is doing, and to provide some insight on upcoming course material."

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

WVU provides a comprehensive approach to helping you finance your education. Learn more by visiting the Student Financial Services website.

Students are encouraged to:

  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by the June 30, 2024 deadline to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827; and
  • Check with your employer to see if they provide financial support for earning your graduate degree.

Music Business and Industry M.A. total degree cost: $22,638 – Residents and Non-Residents

Tuition and fees are usually not the only educational expenses you may have while pursuing a degree. You may have other costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Please see the Estimate Costs and Aid webpage for how to estimate and plan for other potential expenses.

Your future in Music Business and Industry

Students who earn the Master of Arts in Music Business and Industry will develop the following:

  • The ability to delineate and analyze current music industry regulations regarding their commercial implications, business opportunities, and appropriate music industry management practices across the industry income streams.
  • The knowledge of the historical progress and development of various music business sectors and relevant regulatory frameworks in demonstrating mastery and understanding of the present music business regulations, systems and methods.
  • The ability to perform and manage standard and management level music business procedures and processes utilized in the music publishing, recording, and live music industries, including conception and management of various music product development and placement strategies and plans.
  • The ability to construct and evaluate budgets and financial projections across the music industry income streams based on the project parameters, and the relevant market level, regulations, indicators and trends.
  • The ability to plan and manage music production processes and activities in recording and live music business sectors including scheduling, budgeting, equipment, personnel, union issues, and regulatory requirements.
  • The ability to utilize the music industry research and analysis knowledge and skills to make a constructive contribution to the scholarship in the field, and/or to create a proper business opportunity, or to productively manage a music product, so to create new value and generate positive returns on investments.

The Benefits to Choosing Our Program

The Master of Arts Program in Music Business and Industry at the School of Music offers such knowledge and training by providing an engaging, systematic, and rigorous course of study leading to analytical, creative, regulatory, and entrepreneurial understanding and skills necessary to succeed in today’s complex and challenging music industry field.

The program is offered online as a high-quality graduate-level distance-learning opportunity. The program will provide all students possessing appropriate interest, qualifications, and ambition, regardless of their geographic location, access to extensive academic training and acquisition of professional skills necessary for building or furthering their careers in music business and industry.

Career Outlook for Music Business and Industry

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Music Business and Industry M.A. degree may be prepared for the following careers in music: directors, singers, sound technicians, composers and arrangers, professors, and producers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.

Minimum Grade in any course: C-.
Minimum GPA requirement: 2.75.

Music Industry Foundations Module

Course Title Credit Hours
MUSC 610 Foundations of Recording Industry 3
MUSC 611 Music Industry Regulations 3
MUSC 617 Development of Music Technology 3

Music Commerce, Management, and Operations Module

Required courses: (12)

Course Title Credit Hours
MUSC 612 Music Product Advancement 3
MUSC 613 Music Performance Organization and Commerce 3
MUSC 614 Advanced Recording Industry 3
MUSC 615 Advanced Music Publishing 3

Select two from the following: (6)

Course Title Credit Hours
MUSC 619 Music in Multimedia 3
MUSC 620 International Music Industry 3
MUSC 621 Artist Representation 3

Music Production Methods and Technology Module (3)

Select one from the following:

Course Title Credit Hours
MUSC 623 Recording Production 3
MUSC 624 Live Music Production 3

Industry Project (3)

Course Title Credit Hours
MUSC 626 Music Industry Project 3

Total Hours: 33

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to earn the M.A. in Music Business and Industry degree?

Typically, the Music Business and Industry M.A. degree takes 4 semesters to complete. However, students wishing to complete the program in a shorter time frame may be able to do so with the program director’s approval.

Describe a typical online Music student.

Most of our online MA in Music Industry students come to the program while they are planning their own music related ventures, or they are already involved in an industry, music or otherwise, and want to learn more about the music business to further their professional growth and development.

What are some of your current student occupations?

Among our students we have touring musicians, studio owners, indie record label owners, music producers, audio/visual production company owners and concert promoters.

Are all students already involved in the music industry?

We do have students with occupations in different fields. These students want to start their own entrepreneurship/business entities in the music industry field (think publishing, concert promotion, or artist management). Of course, students who complete the program are well qualified to work for companies like Sony, Warner and Universal in their admin departments.

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