Music Business 101

Author: John Kellogg   •   Course Code: OMBUS-110

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The business of music is a global multi-billion dollar industry comprised of individuals creating the music, and a whole lot of people doing everything else: working at labels, distribution companies, publishing companies, recording studios, artist management, promotion, producing, and legal counsel. If you are looking to further your career in the business end of the music industry, you cannot be successful without first understanding the entire industry as a whole. Music Business 101 presents a broad overview of the music industry, and explains how its various segments operate on a day-to-day basis: where monies are generated, who the key players are, how deals are made and broken, how to protect your interests, and new developments in digital technology that are changing the way that music is marketed, promoted, distributed, and heard. This course presents the career opportunities that are available within the industry, and the knowledge you'll need to achieve your goals.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Recognize the structure of, and relationship between, the recording, music publishing, marketing and live performance industries
  • Learn about different career and income opportunities, and develop a strategy to break in and succeed in the music industry
  • Understand the business aspects involved in the producing, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and other use of recordings and the live performance trade.

Lesson 1: The Music Industry

  • Music Industry History
  • Three Big Ps for Success in Today’s Music Industry
  • The Digital Revolution
  • Today’s Music Business

Lesson 2: Record Labels and Types of Deals

  • Major and Independent Record Labels
  • Types of Deals
  • Royalties
  • Advances
  • Flat Fees
  • Cross Collateralization
  • 360 Deals
  • Production Deals
  • Conventional Deals
  • Label Deals
  • Joint Venture Deals
  • Pressing and Distribution (P and D) Deals
  • Getting Connected

Lesson 3: Recording Agreements

  • Variations and Importance of Recording Agreements
  • Contract Provisions
  • Royalties
  • Advances
  • 360 Degree Deals
  • Protecting Your Work

Lesson 4: Copyright Basics

  • Importance of Copyright
  • History of Copyright
  • How to File a Copyright
  • Bundle of Copyright
  • Copyright Infringement/Fair Use

Lesson 5: Band/Brand Organization and Protection

  • Forming Your Own Business
  • Choosing the Proper Entity for Your Business
  • Protecting Your Business’s Name and/or Trademarks

Lesson 6: The Artist's Team/Reasons That Deals Get Broken

  • Career Opportunities in the Music Industry
  • Managers
  • Agents
  • Attorneys
  • How Deals End
  • 7 Year Rule
  • Minors
  • Key Person Clause
  • Bankruptcy
  • Restraint of Trade

Lesson 7: Making the Record or Promoting the Show

  • Determining the Budget
  • Choosing the Studio
  • Finding the Right Venue for Your Live Show
  • Choosing the Producer or Engineer
  • Mastering
  • Other Considerations for Putting on a Live Show

Preparing for Your Record Release or Show

  • Business Basics for Putting Out Your Recording or Putting on a Show
  • Sampling Artwork & Liner Notes
  • Record Format or Configuration
  • Picking the Manufacturer
  • Packaging
  • UPC Barcode and BDS Registration
  • Identifying Your Market for Your Show or Record Release
  • Finding a Distributor
  • Preparing the One-Sheet
  • Working out the Deal

Lesson 9: Building a Market

  • Overview of Major Label Marketing Process
  • Importance and Process of Radio
  • Publicity
  • Touring
  • Social Media
  • Distributing your Recordings
  • Preparing a One-Sheet

Lesson 10: The Changing Music Industry Landscape: New Opportunities

  • Introduction to Music Publishing
  • Different Types of Music Publishing Revenue
  • More Uses for Your Music
  • Getting Your Music Placed

Lesson 11: The Live Show

  • Touring Considerations
  • The Promoter
  • The Riders
  • The Artist’s Fee
  • Live Performance as a Revenue and Promotion Opportunity
  • Sponsorship and Endorsement Opportunities
  • Assignment: Putting the Final Touches on Your Plan

Lesson 12: New and Future Opportunities in the Music Industry

  • Streaming and Internet Radio
  • Music in Mobile Applications
  • Merchandise and Product Development Opportunities
  • Assignment: Feedback on Project Plans

John Kellogg

Author & Instructor

John P. Kellogg, Esq., is Assistant Chair of the Music Business/Management department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and an entertainment attorney. Licensed to practice in the states of New York and Ohio, he has represented recording artists Levert, The O'Jays, Eddie Levert, Sr., LSG, Stat Quo of Shady/Aftermath Records, and G-Dep of Bad Boy Records. He also serves as a member of the management team for the late R&B recording star Gerald Levert, whom he represented throughout his career. Kellogg is President-Elect and a member of the Board of Directors of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA), in addition to being a former board member of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer's Association (BESLA) and a 2005 inductee into the BESLA Hall of Fame. He is the author of the book Take Care of Your Music Business: The Legal and Business Aspects You Need to Know to Grow In the Music Business, as well as numerous legal articles and editorials. A former vocalist with the group Cameo, Kellogg has been profiled in Billboard, Ebony, Black Issues, and In the Black magazines. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University, where he also attended the Weatherhead School of Management. In addition, he holds a Master of Science degree in Television and Radio from the Newhouse School of Communications and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science—both from Syracuse University.

Jim Horan


Jim Horan has over 20 years of experience in the music business as a record company executive, artist manager, and musician. He began his career at Rounder Records, one of the most respected independent labels in the country, where he rose to become the company's Vice-President and General Manager while working with artists such as Robert Plant, Gregg Allman, Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp, Rush, The Jayhawks, Steve Martin, and They Might Be Giants. He currently manages the Grammy-nominated string band Della Mae, and serves as a consultant for domestic and international artists. He is also a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, who has been performing for over 25 years, most recently with the Boston-based country band, Georgia Overdrive.

Bruce Houghton


Bruce Houghton is founder and president of Skyline Music, a booking agency that represents a diverse roster of nationally and internationally known talent, including Paula Cole, Black 47, DMC, Arturo Sandoval, Ritchie Blackmore's Night, Taylor Dane, Tom Rush, and many others. A sought-after music industry expert, he serves on the Advisory Boards of MidemNet, New Music Seminar, Band Metrics, and several music technology startups. His music and technology blog covers the music industry and how technology is changing the way music is made, promoted, and monetized. was named to cNet's Top Blog 100.


None required 

Textbook Requirement

Take Care of Your Music Business, Second Edition: Taking the Legal and Business Aspects You Need to Know to 3.0 by John Kellogg, PJ's Publishing

Software Requirements

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Google Chrome

Hardware Requirements

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 500 MB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed ( to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)


Got a question? Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.

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