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Online Degrees

Part of Western Governors University

Music at WGU

Are You Looking to Get a Degree in Music?

If you're thinking about a career in the music industry, a music degree isn’t your only educational option. A music degree is a wise choice if performing or teaching music is your career goal. In this type of program, you’ll learn the history, theory, and practice of music which can prepare you for jobs as a music composer, music instructor, music therapist, and more. However, if you want to expand your career options beyond this, while still maintaining a creative focus, it’s worth knowing what other degree options are out there.

While WGU doesn’t currently offer a music degree, music education degree, or courses in music theory, this guide will explore how the knowledge and skills learned in a business management or marketing bachelor’s degree program can be applied to various music industry jobs.

Pathways to a Music Career

While some jobs—such as a music teacher or instructor—will likely require a degree in music, there are other online degree paths that can give you the skills you need for a career in the music industry.

For example, students who choose a marketing or business management program can go on to get jobs as a booking agent, music publicist, or artist manager. In fact, a large number of positions in the music industry require specialized education in areas such as management, advertising, public relations, and accounting. This is why a degree in business management or marketing can be useful.

According to LinkedIn, there are more than 5,000 music-related job titles that require business skills and 4,400 job titles that require skills in marketing. All this to say, if you’re passionate about a career in music, there are a variety of educational paths you can take that will be more tailored to your skills and interests.  

 

Bachelor of Science in Business Management

Thinking about launching your own music career or managing a band or artist? In a business management degree program, you’ll learn things like innovative and strategic thinking, best practices in scheduling and budgeting, as well as concepts in marketing, sales, and finance—all of which can help you start and manage your own music career, or someone else’s.

Some of the specific skills you’ll learn in this type of program include:

  • How to set up an LLC
  • How to record business transactions
  • How to think creatively to solve business problems
  • How to prepare and deliver pitch presentations  

Bachelor of Science in Marketing

A marketing degree is something to consider if you want to learn how to promote yourself as a musician or work within the music industry to promote other artists. In this program, you’ll learn how to come up with marketing strategies and methods to keep customers engaged and interested. You’ll take courses covering everything from content creation and communication to digital marketing and branding.

Whether you want to market your own music career or pursue a marketing job in the music industry, this degree program will teach you: 

  • How to create a marketing plan
  • How to analyze consumer behavior 
  • How to strategize and create marketing content
  • How to utilize project management tools
Woman writing on paper in business setting

$50,070

is the average annual salary for those with a business degree.

Careers Related to Music

If your dream job is teaching kids how to play an instrument, composing music for a symphony, or touring with a jazz band, a music degree will definitely help hone your skills and abilities for these roles. However, there are many other types of jobs available in the music industry to consider too. Based on where you want to go with your career, a degree in marketing or business management could be a better fit and give you a broader skill set to work with.

If you’re ready to explore your music career options, it’s important to understand the range of jobs that are out there and the specific tasks you’ll be doing day-to-day.

What Does a Professional Musician Do?

Professional musicians are skilled artists who can write, record, and perform music. They can play solo, as part of a band, or as part of an orchestra. Most of what a musician does includes things like rehearsing, recording, writing lyrics, or performing for live audiences.

What Does a Music Publicist Do?

Music publicists use their PR skills and media knowledge to help an artist maintain or improve their public image. They help market the artist's work, manage or write press releases and arrange for media interviews. Music publicists typically hold a bachelor's or master's degree in public relations, marketing, communications, or other relevant fields.

What Does a Music Producer Do?

A music producer oversees all aspects of the creation of a song or album. They’re involved in much of the decision-making process—from what songs will go on the album to what instruments will be played. They also help determine where the song or album is recorded.

What Does a Booking Agent Do?

Booking agents secure appearances for bands or musicians. They plan schedules, tour routes, find sponsors, and help secure television and radio appearances. Booking agents also negotiate contracts for their artists and know the art of negotiating to secure the best deal possible. Booking agents typically have a degree in marketing or business.

What Does an Artist Manager Do?

Artist managers take care of the day-to-day management of the musician’s career so they can focus on their music. They book performances, book studio time, explore funding opportunities for the artist, and oversee other people working for the artist, such as accountants or agents.

What Does a Music Teacher Do?

Music teachers typically work in a classroom setting to provide direction on how to play an instrument or sing. Some music teachers are responsible for directing school bands, orchestras, or choirs. If you plan on teaching in a school setting, most public schools will require you to have at least a bachelor’s degree in music education, as well as classroom training or observation hours.

Keep in mind that if you want to teach music in a school setting, you’ll likely need a teaching license. In this case, you may want to consider getting your teaching degree in another field as this can make you more marketable to school districts that don’t have the budget for a full-time music teacher. WGU offers a range of degree options for aspiring teachers including special education, math education, science education, and more. 

6%

is the amount of growth expected in employment for agents and business managers of artists and performers over the next eight years compared to 1% for musicians and performers.

Why choose WGU?

Why should you choose WGU’s online marketing or business management degree program over a degree somewhere else? There are several reasons why we’re a great fit for students:

Affordability.

Tuition is charged per six-month term, not per credit hour—which means you can complete more courses in one term without paying more money. 

Acceleration. 

Competency-based education means you can use your knowledge to your advantage. Move through courses at your own pace, accelerating your program and graduating faster. 

Accessibility. 

We offer scholarships and financial aid to help with our already affordable tuition, making college education accessible for even more students.

Marketability.

The coursework in our online programs is directly applicable to your career and provides you with a portfolio of relevant work before you even graduate, which can make you even more marketable to future employers. 

They're Prepared

95% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs

95% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

They're Top Candidates

96% said they would hire another WGU graduate

96% of employers said they would hire another WGU graduate.

They Wow

98% of employers said WGU graduates meet or exceed expectations

98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.

Source: 2020 Harris Poll survey of 300 employers

Which Degree Should You Choose?

Both a business management and marketing bachelor's degree at WGU can prepare you for a future career in the music industry. Choosing either degree is a great alternative to a music program and can make sure you have training and credentials that will help you succeed.

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,720 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Frequently Asked Questions About an Arts Career

If your goal is to become a music teacher, performer, composer, or music therapist then a music degree is a smart degree choice. But if you want to expand your future career opportunities, a degree in marketing or business management could be a better fit.

The music industry offers a variety of job titles including:

  • Music teacher
  • Artist manager
  • Music producer
  • Booking agent
  • Music publicist
  • Music artist
  • Musical tech specialist

Most people major in music so they can go on to become music teachers, music therapists, or professional musicians.

If you want to learn the history, theory, and practice of music so you can pursue a career as a music composer, music instructor, or music therapist, then yes. However, a marketing or business management degree program may be a better fit based on your interests and skills.