Music Business Trends and Strategies


Authored by Mike King


Course Code: OMBUS-240

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


This course provides an in-depth look at the main structures of the music business, the important changes that are guiding its future, and strategies for creating successful business models. Music Business Trends and Strategies will guide you through the critical areas of the music industry, including publishing and licensing, marketing and promotion, distribution best practices, artist management, and live events and touring.

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You will also learn about fan funding and other forms of creative revenue for musicians, current practices for utilizing video, and new business opportunities. You will gain a deeper understanding of the pressing issues that all musicians, music industry entrepreneurs, managers, and other music business professionals face in these main segments of the music industry, and you will learn how to leverage opportunities to innovate in the field.

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

  • Execute on marketing ideas and techniques for building up awareness targeted at your specific community
  • Analyze the impact of technology on record label operations and finances
  • Discuss current and developing approaches to copyright
  • Recognize the structure, the traditional and emerging partners, and the revenue opportunities available from music publishing
  • Identify players, payment, and pricing models associated with traditional music retail and distribution outlets and the nuances and best practices associated with the current models of music consumption
  • Discuss current and developing approaches to artist management
  • Evaluate the impact of technology and world events on the live event and touring business
  • Apply best practices and recognize opportunities available with third-party video services
  • Analyze how musicians are making money, and how to properly prepare and execute on a fan-funded campaign
  • Discuss new and evolving technological developments that are driving the overall music industry
  • Apply innovative approaches to building a music-focused business

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Lesson 1: The Recorded Music Business

  • Record Industry Overview
  • State of the Recorded Music Industry
  • The Causes of the Downturn in the Record Industry
  • Roadmap for Record Labels
  • Major Label Consolidation
  • The Major Label Approach to Working with Artists
  • Major Labels: Pros and Cons
  • Alternative Distribution Options with a Major Label
  • The Indie Label Approach to Working with Artists
  • Indie Labels: Pros and Cons
  • Why Record Labels Still Matter Today
  • Assignment 1: A Label’s Investment in Artists

Lesson 2: Music Copyright

  • Introduction to Copyright
  • The Six Exclusive Copyrights
  • Problems with Traditional Copyright
  • Copyright Infringement Cases
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • Copyright Law Expansion Efforts
  • Creative Commons
  • Fair Use
  • Flexible Attitudes towards Copyright
  • Creativity and Copyright: The Intersection between Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence
  • Hollywood and AI
  • Assignment 2: Copyright in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Lesson 3: Music Publishing and Licensing

  • Music Publishing Overview
  • Major and Independent Music Publishers
  • Typical Publishing Deals
  • Publishing Catalogs as a Long-Term Investment
  • Types of Licenses and Revenue Sources for Publishers
  • Mechanical License
  • Synchronization (Sync) License
  • Print License
  • Performance License
  • The Role of Performing Rights Organizations (PROs)
  • SoundExchange
  • Performance Royalty Edge Cases
  • Music Modernization Act (MMA)
  • Music Licensing Modernization
  • Case Study: The Play’s the Thing – The Grand Right
  • Assignment 3: Broadway and the Grand Right

Lesson 4: Music Marketing

  • Approaches to Music Marketing
  • The Content Phases of the Internet
  • Niche Marketing: Building Awareness
  • Demographics and Psychographics: Finding Community
  • Examples of Psychographic Marketing in Action
  • Alessandro Cortini and Providing Psychographic-Focused Products
  • Jónsi and Alex and Psychographic Collateral Marketing
  • Acquisition and Engagement: Building Community
  • Primer for Artists on Building Up Their Fan Base
  • Website
  • Mailing Lists
  • Social Media
  • Publicity
  • Live Events and Touring
  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  • Creating Memorable Moments in Marketing
  • Assignment 4: Marketing Funnel Reality

Lesson 5: Music Distribution

  • The Evolution from Sales to Streams
  • Online Music Services and Formats
  • Online Music Services Business Models
  • Popular Online Music Services
  • The Subscription Streaming Payments
  • Physical Distribution
  • The Finances of a Physical Distribution Deal
  • Diversification and Specialization in Physical Music Retail
  • Working with Distributors
  • Selling Direct-to-Fan
  • Assignment 5: The Future of Music Consumption

Lesson 6: Artist Management

  • What Does an Artist Manager Do?
  • Why Artists Will Always Need Managers
  • Finding Talent
  • Partnering for Success
  • Building a Team With and For an Artist
  • Protecting the Artist’s Work
  • Contract or No Contract?
  • Deal Points of Management Contracts
  • Trends in Artist Management
  • Assignment 6: Pitching a Prospective Artist Management Client

Lesson 7: Live Events and Touring

  • Live Music
  • Touring
  • Key Live Event Industry Players
  • Tour Personnel
  • Types of Venues
  • The Mechanics of the Deal
  • Growing an Audience through Touring
  • Types of Touring Markets
  • Routing Tours
  • The Importance of Merchandise for Touring Artists
  • Trends with Live Events: Destination Festivals
  • Alternative Venue Spaces
  • Live-Streamed Events
  • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  • VIP and Fan Experiences
  • Healthy Touring
  • Sustainable Touring
  • Assignment 7: Plan a Touring Strategy for a Developing Band

Lesson 8: Video Opportunities and Strategies

  • The Evolution of Video in the Music Industry
  • The Legacy of MTV
  • Present Day Video Opportunities for Musicians
  • Online Video Content and Services
  • YouTube and TikTok
  • Instagram and Triller
  • A Participatory Approach to Creating Video Content
  • Livestreaming
  • Music Video Monetization Services
  • Using Video to Build an Audience and Generate Revenue
  • Visual Storytelling with Esperanza Spalding
  • Video Data Analytics
  • Assignment 8: Research, Analyze, and Critique an Artist’s Use of Video Content

Lesson 9: Artist Revenue Streams

  • Primary and Ancillary Revenue Streams
  • The Future of Music Coalition: Artist Revenue Streams Project
  • Technology’s Impact on Revenue Streams
  • Reducing Risk through Diversification
  • The Artist Revenue Streams Project
  • Population of Study/Who Was Surveyed?
  • How Was the Data Collected?
  • Research Questions/What Was Asked?
  • Project Findings: Genre, Role, and Live Performance
  • The Impact of Technology on Musicians’ Earning Capabilities
  • Assignment 9: Researching Revenue Streams

Lesson 10: Funding Creative Projects

  • The Traditional Approach to Funding
  • Grants
  • Brand Partnerships
  • Fan Funding/Crowdfunding for Musicians
  • Fan Funding Platforms and Services
  • Rachael Yamagata: Fan Funding at Scale
  • QuNeo: Crowdfunding Music Software
  • Subscription-Based Fan Funding
  • Patreon’s Fees and Best Practices
  • Assignment 10: Funding an Artist's Campaign

Lesson 11: Technology and the Business of Music

  • History of Technology in Music
  • Trends in Music Consumption
  • The Content Phases of the Internet: Content Personalization
  • Content Personalization as Music Discovery
  • Machine Learning in Action: Streaming Playlists
  • Trends in Marketing and Fan Engagement: Decision-Making
  • Trends: Using Technology to Personalize Marketing Campaigns
  • Trends: Using Technology to Empower Artist Marketing
  • Trends: Using Technology to Change the Marketing Process
  • Blockchain Technology
  • Assignment 11: The Future of Music Discovery

Lesson 12: Music Entrepreneurship and New Business Opportunities

  • What is Entrepreneurship?
  • Music Entrepreneurship: Getting Started
  • Music Entrepreneurship: Opportunities Then vs. Now
  • Music Entrepreneurship: It Takes Money to Make Money
  • Music Entrepreneurship: The Force of Will
  • Music Entrepreneurship: My Art Is My Business
  • The Lean Startup Approach to Music Business
  • Part 1: Vision and True North
  • Part 2: Validated Learning
  • Part 3: Steer-Test, Measure, Pivot
  • Innovative Companies in the Music Business: Roblox
  • Chartmetric: Building a Business by Bridging Data and Creativity
  • Sweetwater Sound: Continuous Innovation in Customer Service
  • Pioneering Breakthrough Music Ad Tech
  • Assignment 12: Opportunities in the Music Business


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Business 101Music Marketing 101, or equivalent knowledge and experience is recommended.


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


Mike King


Mike King is currently the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Interlochen Center of the Arts. Mike’s career has been devoted to the arts and arts education. His first professional position was at Rykodisc where he oversaw marketing efforts for label artists including Mickey Hart, Andrew Bird, Morphine, Bill Hicks, The Slip, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Frank Zappa. Mike also spent time at Rounder Records and at Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures.

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Mike spent 19 years at Berklee College of Music in Boston, culminating in the roles of Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Berklee and Chief Marketing Officer at Berklee Online. 

Mike is an educator who has taught music business and marketing courses for Berklee Online and Northeastern University, and has authored courses for Berklee Online. His book, Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail, was published by Berklee Press. Mike has also been recognized as the Best Music Business Teacher by the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP).

He has written for Making Music magazine, International Musician, Hypebot, and American Songwriter, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Billboard, The Boston Globe, APM Marketplace, Wired, and The Chicago Tribune. He has also presented at MIDEM, SXSW, NAMM, NARM, and more.

Mike has served on the board of the Boch Center in Boston, and has been an advisor to several companies, including Ledger in Paris, Île-de-France, France. Read Less

Benji Rogers


Benji Rogers is a British-born, New York-based entrepreneur, technologist, musician, and the CEO and co-founder of the Dot Blockchain Music Project. A pioneer of the direct artist-to-fan model of music distribution, Rogers founded PledgeMusic in 2009, which is now one of leading artist-to-fan platforms online with more than 4 million users and over 50,000 artists. In his current role heading Dot Blockchain, Rogers is working to revolutionize the commercialization and movement of music in the digital economy. The project aims to create a decentralized global registry of music rights through a new music format by leveraging blockchain technology and to forge meaningful industry partnerships to overhaul how artists get paid. Straddling the worlds of technology and music, Rogers advises a range of tech and music companies on how to bridge the divide between their industries and is also an instructor at Berklee College of Music on digital trends in the industry. A dedicated patron of arts and creativity in all its forms, Rogers’ work is rooted in a belief in the democratizing power of the Internet.

Jeff Apruzzese


Jeff Apruzzese graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2008 with a degree in Music Business. Jeff is the Media and Operations Manager for the Berklee Popular Music Institute, which provides students with experiential learning in live music and performance. He is also a course instructor for Berklee Online’s Music Business Trends and Strategies course.

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Jeff was the bassist of Passion Pit (signed to Columbia Records) for eight years. During his time in the band, he toured the world extensively, performed at some of the largest festivals (Lollapalooza, Coachella, Summer Sonic, Austin City Limits), and played on some of the most high profile late night shows (Saturday Night Live, David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel). A career highlight for Jeff was selling out the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 13, 2013, during a blizzard. 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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