Music Business Revenue Streams


Authored by John Kellogg


Course Code: OMBUS-505

Accepting applications for the inaugural Sept. 2018 class!

3-Credit, Graduate Level Course

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 Request Info


Lesson 1: The Development of Modern Music Industry Revenue Streams and the Three Big Ps

  • Definitions of Primary and Ancillary Revenue Streams
  • Categories of Primary and Ancillary Revenue Streams
  • The Importance of the Three Big Ps in the Development of Revenue in the Music Industry
  • 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 Agents

  • Introduction to the Live Music Industry
  • The Effect of Sponsorships on the Revenue Streams of the 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: Prepare a Case Study

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

  • The Live Performance Contract
  • Commissions for Personal Managers, Business Managers, Talent Agent, and Attorneys
  • The Role of Sponsorships and Endorsements on Travel, Lodging, per Diems, and Other Expenses Incurred on the Way to Determining the Artist's Bottom Line
  • Merchandize This (and That)!
  • Assignment 3: Case Study Analysis: Rihanna

Lesson 4: Branding: Tour Sponsorship from the Artist's Perspective

  • History of Relationships Between Artists and Tour-Supporting Brands
  • Artists Targeting Their Demographic Market for Creating Tour Sponsorship Revenue
  • The Significance of Tour Sponsorship to an Artist's Overall Revenue-Generating Plan
  • Understanding a Sponsor's Goals for Entering into a Tour Sponsorship with an Artist
  • Assignment 4: Write a Research-Based Essay

Lesson 5: Branding: Merchandising Beyond the Tour

  • The Scope of Celebrity and Artist-Connected Merchandise
  • The Impact of Artist-Name Tribute Bands, Brand Instruments, Apps, and Production Gear
  • The Vertical Integration of an Artist's Brand: The Impact of Artist-Inspired Non-Entertainment Product or Service Companies
  • Assignment 5: Case Study Analysis: The Zac Brown Band

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

  • What Is a Copyright?
  • Generating Revenue from the Exploitation of the Performance Right of a Composition
  • Developing Proceeds from the Mechanical Reproduction Right of a Composition
  • Licensing the Sound Recording's Derivative Right
  • Assignment 6: Case Study Analysis and Essay: Kobalt Music Group

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

  • The Increasing Importance of Creating Income from the Synchronization of Compositions in TV/Film and Commercials
  • The Growing Importance of the Grand Right in Creating Income for Owners of Copyrights in Compositions
  • The Income-Generating Possibilities of Master (Sound) Recordings Being Licensed for Use in Greeting and E-Cards and/or Other Master Uses
  • Assignment 7: Case Study Analysis and Research: X Ambassadors

Lesson 8: Revenue Sources of Digital Streaming and Its Effects on the Asset Value of the Copyright

  • Worldwide Growth in Access to Streaming Services
  • Non-Interactive Streaming Revenue
  • Interactive Streaming Revenue
  • Other Digital Revenue Sources and the Resurgence in Value of Copyright Catalogs
  • Assignment 8: Write a Research-Based Essay

Lesson 9: Revenue Sources for Featured and Non-Featured Recording Artists, Producers/Arrangers/Music Conductors, and Directors

  • Featured Artist and Producer Advances and Royalties 
  • Introduction to the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA): Union Musician and Vocalist Session/Pit/General Business Sources of Revenue and Related Benefits
  • AFM Benefits for the Instrumentalist
  • SAG/AFTRA Protection of Vocalists, Actors, Performers
  • How AFM and SAG/AFTRA Members Are Paid
  • Assignment 9: Case Study Analysis and Research-Based Essay: Crazy Good Studios

Lesson 10: Other Revenue Sources for Musicians

  • Crowdfunding as a Revenue Source for Musical Artists
  • Artist Grants and Residencies
  • Revenue Generated from Teaching the next Generation of Musicians
  • Assignment 10: Write an Essay

Lesson 11: The Wide World of Music Products

  • Overview of the Musical Instrument, Equipment, and Related Products Industry
  • The Retail Market for Musical Instruments
  • The Retail Market for Equipment and Other Musical Products
  • The Effect of Industry Globalization, Technology/Systems, Regulation, and Policy on the Future of the Music Products Market
  • Assignment 11:  Write a Research-Based Essay

Lesson 12: Issues and Concerns Influencing the Sustainability of Certain Music Business Revenue Streams

  • Net Neutrality
  • BMI/ASCAP Consent Decrees
  • Are Streams a Sale or Third-Party Use of a Sound Recording?
  • Pre-1972 Recordings
  • Blockchain Technology and the Potential for Adapting It for Use in the Music Business


Required Textbooks

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

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




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


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