Online Master's Degree Course

Business of Independent Music Production


Authored by David Bendeth


Course Code: OMPRD-690

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 6 - Degree Only

Level 6

In today’s music production landscape, independent producers must understand current music business trends, the market, and the hidden opportunities available for building a sustainable career. This course is designed to help students in recognizing revenue streams, budgets, contracts, negotiating skills, self-promotion and marketing, and remuneration for services rendered. The course will cover new technologies, revenue collection tools, and marketing methods, such as SoundExchange, online streaming, and the social media promotion and networking tools that can drive their careers.

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By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how producers are compensated for work for hire regarding multiple sources of income
  • Calculate online streaming and the outcome of views
  • Seek alternative income through television and radio and performing rights organizations
  • Calculate song splits and publishing shares
  • Work with record companies in producing artists on their roster
  • Review and explain the various contracts an independent producer will employ
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors Request Info


Lesson 1: Music Producer Agreement

  • The Negotiating Players 
  • Deal Memo 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Learning the Ropes 
  • On the Record: Producer Agreements 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Learning the History of an Artist 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - The Team 
  • Songwriting in the Producer’s Agreement 

Lesson 2: Demo Agreement 

  • Demo Agreement Fine Points 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Demoitis 
  • On the Record: Demo Agreements 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Demo to Master 
  • Types of Demos 
  • Demo Deal Hacks 
  • Managing Expectations 

Lesson 3: Producer/Management Agreement 

  • The Fine Points of Producer/Management Agreements 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - The Stable of Producers 
  • On the Record: Manager Agreements 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture  

Lesson 4: Publishing Agreements - How Not to Sign Your Life Awa

  • What Do Publishing Agreements Have to Do with You? 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Are You Signing with a Bank or a Creative Company? 
  • On the Record: Publishing Agreements 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Keep Writing! 
  • The New Market for Publishing Catalogs 
  • The Bottom Line for Young Writers and Publishing Deals

Lesson 5: Intellectual Property, PROs, and Sound Exchange Agreements 

  • Performance Rights Organizations 
  • PRO Membership, Artist Contracts, and Letters of Direction 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Unfinished Business 
  • On the Record: SoundExchange and PROs 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Signed and Registered LODs 
  • International IP 

Lesson 6: The Mixing Agreement  

  • Mixing Agreement Overview 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Music that Comes to You on a Stretcher 
  • On the Record: Mixing Agreements 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - When They Already Love Your Work 

Lesson 7: Sync Agreement 

  • Sync Agreement Overview 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Condensing Your Ideas Commercially 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Halo Effect 
  • On the Record: Sync Opportunities 
  • When Your Work Is Exploited without Permission  

Lesson 8: Business Concerns: Recording and Mixing Budgets - The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men 

  • Budget Overview 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Help, We Are Over Budget Already! 
  • On the Record: Budgets 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - A DAT player, a microphone, and a Pizza . . . Budget Complete! 
  • Mixing Budgets and Mixers Types 

Lesson 9: Ancillary Income Streams and the Double-Edged Sword 

  • Non Production-related Income Sources Streams 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Short Money and Thinking of Your Future 
  • On the Record: Ancillary Income Streams 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Creating a Sound That the Public Can Buy 

Lesson 10: Starting Your Own Label or Production Company 

  • My Experience Starting a Label 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Sign on the Dotted Line 
  • On the Record: Running a Label 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Label as Talent Incubator 

Lesson 11: Promoting Your Brand 

  • Branding Yourself in the Marketplace 
  • Case Study 1: Unsuccessful Venture - Long Live the King 
  • On the Record: Your Brand 
  • Case Study 2: Successful Venture - Your Friend the Music  

Lesson 12: Review and a Look Forward 

  • Mentors 
  • Your Team 
  • Your Next Venture 
  • Next Steps


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Business 101 and Copyright Law or equivalent knowledge and experience is required. In order to be successful in this course, you should have the following background prior to enrolling:

  • Experience collaborating on projects as a music producer/engineer
  • Ability to write effectively and clearly when conveying information and ideas


  • No textbooks required


  • One of the following studio monitoring options (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as an audio interface and necessary cables
    • Over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR-7506, Philips SHP9500, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


David Bendeth


London-born David Bendeth has been around music and musicians most of his life as a guitarist, songwriter, producer, and A&R executive. David has worked with and produced more than 80 albums, totaling over 60 million records sold. As an A&R representative for CBS International, BMG Canada, and RCA Records, David signed such acts as Cowboy Junkies, Crash Test Dummies, Vertical Horizon, Bruce Hornsby, and SR-71. David produced and mixed The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' Don't You Fake It, Breaking Benjamin’s Phobia, and Paramore’s RIOT, amongst others. All three records went platinum in 2007.


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at