Music Business, BA

As a Music Business student, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the professional teams behind your favorite bands, concerts, festivals, albums and mixtapes. You’ll learn how music is monetized, licensed and distributed. You’ll work closely with faculty members who bring experience from the industry into the classroom. They’ve held leadership positions in the field and continue to work in Chicago, one of the country’s epicenters of music innovation.

The city will provide you countless opportunities to intern and work at labels, agencies, studios and promotion companies. Whether you’re an artist or a leader supporting the work of others, you’ll be immersed in music business from day one. You’ll have the opportunity to put your skills to work at Columbia’s on-campus music publishing company, club, and rock and hip-hop record labels, where you’ll get real-life experience in talent scouting, distribution, promotion and marketing.

What to Expect Your First Year

In your first year, you’ll gain foundational knowledge that will be vital to your success in the music industry. You’ll take core business courses in topics such as marketing, management and economics. But these aren’t your average business courses. We tailor them to the arts and media industries, so each example and scenario will make sense for the unique landscape of your chosen career.

You’ll also take a jam-packed survey course called Business of Music. This course will give you the lay of the land: current trends, opportunities, threats and themes emerging in the field. You’re likely to explore how different industries are structured and meet with guest professionals and Columbia alumni to get a sense of what the work looks like day to day.

What to Expect Your Last Year

By your last year at Columbia you’ll put your knowledge to work in a range of practicum courses. During these professional practice courses, you’ll have the opportunity to work at one of our rock or hip-hop record labels scouting and developing real artists. Or, you can focus on digital distribution and promotion. If you take one of these practicums during the spring semester, you’ll have the opportunity to attend and participate in South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

You’ll also likely secure an internship in the field through our highly connected network of alumni and faculty, and Columbia’s Career Center. Our students intern at labels like Atlantic Records, Bad Boy Worldwide and Saddle Creek Records. They join teams at management, booking and licensing companies such as The Billions Corporation, Biz3 and Paradigm Talent Agency, as well as local venues like Lincoln Hall and The Hideout.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

You’ll find Columbia’s community of artists at the center of the city’s thriving music scene. Many Columbia students go on to release popular albums and join touring bands. One of the best parts about going to school here is that you’ll have the opportunity to work with and support the work of up-and-coming artists. We also have partnerships with organizations like Universal Music Group, which brings artists and professionals to campus for master classes.

At Columbia, our campus is Chicago. The city brings hundreds of acts to concerts and festivals year-round. It’s also home to some of the biggest music festivals in the world, like Lollapalooza, Spring Awakening, Riot Fest and Pitchfork, as well as countless small clubs and bars that host open mic nights and underground shows where you can discover your next favorite artist.

What are my internship options?

We encourage students to intern often and to jump at opportunities to work at festivals and events. Our students have interned at labels like Closed Sessions, Atlantic Records, Bad Boy Worldwide and Saddle Creek Records. They have joined teams at management firms and booking agencies like Flowerbooking and Paradigm Talent Agency, full-service companies like Live Nation, and local venues like Thalia Hall and Subterranean.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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