Saturday, October 30, 2010

Anita Wadhwani: More colleges offer programs on business side of music

Billboard , the music industry's biggest, oldest trade publication, this week issued a first-ever guide to music business programs at colleges and universities around the country.
"It used to be that the school of hard knocks was enough to land you a gig in the music business," reads Billboard's introduction to "Schools of Rock," an overview of two dozen of the nation's best private and public universities that have established music business programs or separate colleges devoted to the industry.

That's no longer the case, according to editors of the 116-year-old weekly magazine.

The rollout of the annual guide is a sign of the times in an industry not known for having long or deep roots in academia.

RelatedBillboard's Best Schools of Music Business

The number of universities offering programs or establishing separate colleges devoted to the study of the business side of music has grown exponentially, according to John Kellogg, president of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association. The association itself is a fast-expanding collection of 114 music business schools whose membership is 40 percent larger today than four years ago.

"It's part of a recognition that a new generation of musicians are becoming entrepreneurs, managing their own careers and creating their own, new middle-class lives being musicians," Kellogg said.

It also appears to be a recognition that the flagging music industry needs fresh, professional talent with business and technical acumen, rather than too many employees who are expected to learn on the job, educators say.

Belmont program featured

"Coming out of a program like ours, you have a certain baseline knowledge you can't learn on the street," said Dean Wesley Bulla of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University. "In a lot of cases, our students are way ahead in the industry."

Belmont's program, one of four prominently featured in Billboard 's guide (one from each geographical region) is atypical. It grew out of a program in the university's business school before becoming its own college in 2003.

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