Music Business Revenue Streams


Authored by John Kellogg


Course Code: OMBUS-505

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


While live music continues to provide the bulk of revenue for musical artists, the digital age has brought so many changes in the value of copyrights, and created a landscape where artists need to cultivate ancillary income sources just to survive. In this course, you will evaluate and analyze how revenue is generated in the music business, examining both the history and current status of the various revenue streams and their impact on participants in the industry, from entrepreneurs to musicians to music product retailers. You will also investigate the legal framework impacting the ability of players in the industry to establish viable careers and business, in addition to exploring and imagining new sources of revenue for the music business. 

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

  • Evaluate the role of sponsorship and endorsements in sustaining the careers of artists and related supporting personnel, such as managers, agents, and attorneys
  • Evaluate the sustainability of record labels as viable stakeholders in the digital music business
  • Analyze revenue streams for the live music business, including touring, festivals, and merchandising 
  • Analyze changes in the value of copyrights as a result of the emergence of the digital economy
  • Analyze the creation of new ancillary businesses by musical artists and their impact on the broader music industry
  • Analyze the effects of crowdfunding as a capital resource for artists and related businesses
  • Analyze the sustainability of revenue from the music product field
  • Interpret the role of technology companies in sustaining and expanding the revenue of the recorded music market
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: The Development of Modern Music Industry Revenue Streams and the Three Big P’s

  • Primary and Ancillary Revenue Streams
  • Categories of Primary and Ancillary Revenue Streams and Related Benefits
  • The Importance of the Three Big P’s in the Development of Revenue in the Music Industry
  • Powerful Product
  • Proper Perspective
  • Professional Attitude
  • Assignment 1: Case Study Analysis and Essay: Sammy Davis Jr. vs. Shania Twain

Lesson 2: The Live Music Industry Part One: Live Promoters, Venue Owners, and Talent Agents

  • The Live Music Industry: Primary Breadwinner for Performing Artists
  • The Rise of the Live Concert Promoter
  • The Burgeoning Live Music Festival Scene
  • The Fundamentals of Owning a Successful Live Performance Venue
  • The Role and Revenue Streams of the Talent Agent
  • Assignment 2: The Effects of Unruly Crowds on the Music Festival Scene

Lesson 3: The Live Music Industry Part Two: Live Performer Revenue Streams

  • How Artists “Get Paid, Not Played” for Live Performances
  • Compensation Issues and Getting to the “Net” 
  • The Personal Manager
  • The Business Manager
  • The Talent Agent
  • The Attorney
  • Assignment 3: Case Study Analysis and Essay: Rihanna’s Missing Revenue

Lesson 4: Branding: Coupling Parties of Like Minds, Means, and/or Needs 

  • History of Branding in the Music Industry 
  • Sponsorship
  • Endorsements
  • Brand Partnerships
  • Merchandize This (and That)!
  • Assignment 4: Case Study: Lady Gaga, Brand, and Strategy 

Lesson 5: Merchandising Beyond the Tour: The Expansion of an Artist’s Brand

  • The Scope of Celebrity and Artist-Branded Merchandise
  • Disruption and Innovation: Artists Expanding Their Brand
  • Legacy Brands: The Dead Are Very Much Alive Revenue-wise
  • The Impact of Artist-Named Tribute Bands
  • The Impact of Artist-Branded Instruments
  • Assignment 5: Case Study Research and Analysis: Dolly Parton

Lesson 6: The Importance of Copyrights Creating Revenue and Asset Value (Part One)

  • What Is a Copyright?
  • Copyright Licensing, Ownership, and Revenue Sharing
  • The Pullman Bonds (or 'Bowie Bonds')
  • Copyright Law and the Digital Age
  • Generating Revenue from the Exploitation of the Performance Right of a Composition
  • Generating Revenue from the Exploitation of the Digital Transmission Performance Right of a Sound Recording
  • Developing Proceeds from the Mechanical Reproduction Right of a Composition
  • Licensing the Composition and/or Sound Recording’s Derivative Right
  • Assignment 6: Case Study Analysis and Essay: Hipgnosis Music

Lesson 7: The Importance of Copyrights Creating Revenue and Asset Value (Part Two)

  • Generating Revenue from the Synchronization of Compositions and Use of Master Recordings in TV, Film, Commercials, and Video Games
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Internet Service Providers
  • Music in Video Games
  • The Play’s the Thing: The Grand Right
  • From Paper to the Cloud: A New Day for the Exploitation of the Print Right
  • Assignment 7: Case Study Research and Analysis: Charlie Puth

Lesson 8: Impact of the Growth of Digital Streaming on Artists and Songwriters

  • Worldwide Growth of Digital Streaming Services
  • Interactive (On Demand) Streaming Revenue
  • Non-Interactive Webcasting and Satellite Radio Issues
  • The Increasing Value of Copyrights and Other Music Royalty Revenue Assets
  • Assignment 8: Evaluating the Impact of Streaming on the Value of Recent Copyright Catalog Acquisitions

Lesson 9: Revenue Sources for Featured and Non-Featured Recording Artists and Producers

  • Featured Artist and Producer Advances and Royalties
  • Union Musician and Vocalist Sources of Revenue
  • Introduction to the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
  • AFM Benefits for Members
  • SAG-AFTRA Health and Pension Benefits
  • How AFM and SAG/AFTRA Members Are Paid
  • Assignment 9: Case Study: Crazy Good Studios

Lesson 10: Other Revenue Sources for Musicians: Crowdfunding, Grants/Residencies/Prizes, and Teaching

  • Crowdfunding as a Revenue Source for Musical Artists
  • Grants/Residencies/Prizes: Alternative Funding for Musicians
  • Revenue Generated from Teaching the Next Generation of Musicians
  • Assignment 10: Crowdfunding, the Artist, and Superfans

Lesson 11: The Wide World of Music Products

  • An Overview of the Musical Instrument, Equipment, and Related Products Industry
  • Music Product Manufacturers
  • Music Product Retailers
  • The Future of the Music Products Retail Business
  • Assignment 11: Analyzing the Future of Musical Products

Lesson 12: Issues Facing Certain Music Business Revenue Streams

  • Music Modernization Act: What Now?
  • MMA Highlights
  • Music as an Asset Class
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)


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

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

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Music Business Revenue Streams can be applied towards the completion of these related programs:

Related Degree Majors


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