Music Business 101


Authored by John Kellogg


Course Code: OMBUS-110

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


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.

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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.
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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


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.



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 Classes. 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


John Kellogg

Author & Instructor

John P. Kellogg, Esq., is the former Chair of the Music Business/Management department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, and an entertainment attorney. 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 served as general counsel for the late R&B recording star Gerald Levert and his entertainment venture, Trevel Production Co., Inc. Kellogg is a former President of the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA), a former board member of the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyer's Association (BESLA) and a 2005 inductee into the BESLA Hall of Fame. A songwriter and former vocalist with the group Cameo, he now advocates for the rights of artists through his writings, which include the Second Edition of his best-selling book, Take Care of Your Music Business, Taking the Legal and Business Aspects You Need to Know to 3.0, that reached #1 and #2 on the paperback and general music business category sales chart on He is also the author of several peer-reviewed academic journal articles and both developed and taught the first free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the music business, "Introduction to Music Business," a six-week offering available through He also authored a four-week MOOC, "Foundations of the Music Business," available through Combined, the courses have enrolled tens of thousands of students since their inception and led to him being named a finalist for the Second Annual edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning.

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Kellogg has been profiled in Billboard, Ebony, Black Issues, Black Enterprise and In the Black magazines, and periodicals The Guardian and The Bay State Banner. He is a frequent commentator on entertainment industry issues on Radio, TV and other media outlets and served as a judge on the New England Emmy-award winning TV talent show “Community Auditions.” 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. Read Less

Jim Horan


Jim Horan has over 20 years of experience in the music business as a record company executive, artist manager, consultant, and musician. He began his career at Rounder Records, one of the most revered 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, Steve Martin, John Mellencamp, Rush, Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff, and The Jayhawks. He has managed artists including the GRAMMY-nominated Americana band Della Mae and the acclaimed indie folk artist Marissa Nadler, and he 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 rock band, Georgia Overdrive. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Connecticut.

Brad Auerbach


Bradford C. Auerbach is a senior legal counsel with extensive and unique expertise in intellectual property law and licensing, business development, and marketing on a global level. 

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He has had success in structuring many groundbreaking deals with a diverse range of rights holders, including every record label, NFL, NBA, NHL, HBO, MTV, Live Nation, Marvel Entertainment, International Olympic Committee, English Premier League, Screen Actors Guild, every Hollywood studio, ESPN, Sesame Workshop, Getty Images, among numerous others. Auerbach has deep familiarity with each aspect of the media business, having sat on all sides of the deal-making table, on behalf of artists, labels, promoters, mobile, cable, satellite, internet, hardware, software, distribution, and production companies. He currently represents a select portfolio of clients in their branding and merchandising activities, including George Clinton, Parliament-Funkadelic, Frank Zappa Estate, and Keith Moon Estate.

Auerbach most recently directed all business development for Hewlett Packard Enterprise in the media and entertainment industry. Previously he was engaged as Executive Vice President at Epic Rights, handling merchandising and branding for top tier artists like KISS, John Lennon, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Woodstock, among many others. He was also Managing Director of Rock Paper Photo, the preeminent online gallery of rock ‘n’ roll photography, founded by Guy Oseary (manager of Madonna and U2). 

He has held the positions of General Counsel for Philips Media (a division of Royal Philips Electronics, Netherlands) and Head Counsel, Business Affairs for Astro/MEASAT (Malaysia), the premier direct broadcast satellite operator in South East Asia. 

Auerbach started his entertainment media career at Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and his past clients include Warner Music Group, Playboy, and the Getty Museum. He holds a patent with Qualcomm relating to mobile phone media technology.

Auerbach is a guest lecturer at University of California, San Diego for two senior seminar classes in the School of Global Policy and Strategy relating to media, technology, and the law. He holds a BA from Hamilton College and JD from Boston College.  Read Less

Jason Feinberg


Jason Feinberg is a music fanatic, marketing executive, software engineer, and maniacal vinyl collector. He has spent his career leading music and technology marketing teams big and small. Early days at independent record labels such as Nitro, Concord and Epitaph taught him how to market; executive roles at Pandora (Head of Artist Marketing) and Universal Music Group (SVP, Marketing) taught him how to lead. He currently works as SVP, Marketing at Flymachine, a music-tech startup focused on the evolution of livestreaming.


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