BA (Hons) Music Business


Program Description

The ICMP’S BA (Hons) Music Business degree enables you to create a successful business career in the music industry.

Course Overview

On the ICMP’s Music Business degree, we provide you with the tools and opportunities you will need to be at the forefront of the music business, enabling you to create and model your music business career.

The ICMP’s Music Business degree will help you to gain practical, real-world experience by immersing you in a creative and entrepreneurial environment. You will be taught by established music industry professionals and given the opportunity to promote and work in association with, fellow student artists. You will learn management principles and a broad range of business skills, helping you to maximize the creative and commercial potential of the artist–business relationship. Your studies will promote entrepreneurship and creative thinking, helping you to create and launch your own business before leaving the course.

The ICMP has supported and launched the careers of many of the country’s most successful career musicians and artists. By joining the ICMP Music Business degree course, you can help to manage, guide and structure the musical successes of the future.

Key Facts

  • Develops your entrepreneurial, business and networking skills to maximize your creative ability
  • Prepares you for a portfolio career within the music industry and the wider creative sector
  • The personalized learning experience equips you with the knowledge, understanding, and skills for successful employment in the music industry
  • The London location provides opportunities to develop your business ideas at the heart of the global music industry
  • High-quality teaching by industry practitioners
  • You will benefit from unrivaled access to major names from the world of record labels, ‘Artist and Repertoire’ (A&R), publishers and promoters
  • You can build your music business experience through Dyne Road Recordings, a record label run by students, for students at ICMP
  • Extensive music industry links and access enable you to build that all-important network
  • A high level of contact teaching hours is delivered in small groups in world-class facilities
  • A creative and inspiring learning environment


Year 1 - Level 4

In the first year, you will develop a general understanding of the industry, gain in-depth knowledge of the artist development process, and learn the basics of marketing, management, and finance. You will be introduced to potential work placements and internships which are focused on your chosen careers in the industry, and supported in undertaking these. Level 4 is made up of the following modules:

Introduction to the Music Industry

It is essential for any music business entrepreneur to fully understand the various facets of today’s rapidly evolving music industry and their inter-relationship, and this module provides you with a solid grounding in the frameworks of both recorded and live music and publishing. Following a structured learning pathway, you will explore the three main industry sectors, namely recorded music, live music, and publishing. You will also develop an understanding of such key areas as the role of management; the A&R process; marketing and promotions; sales and distribution; the role of collection societies; the live music business and the key players; and sponsorship and branding. The module will also begin to explore the transformation the industry is currently undergoing and highlight future developments and opportunities.

Principles of Artist Development

On this module, you will come to understand the fundamental principles of how the music artist can be developed and explore the artist/manager relationship and the A&R process from creation through to realization. You will examine the human and commercial elements which interconnect through the artist development process; develop an understanding of the creative individual; and learn about artist management more generally. The module will also develop your understanding of entrepreneurship, the creative publishing and the need for innovative approaches to artist development, and provide a comprehensive overview of this vital and constantly evolving foundation of the music business.

Principles of Music Business and Finance

All music business entrepreneurs need to develop a sound knowledge of management and business principles and how these interrelate in different types of organizations. On this module, you will come to understand the impact of the business environment on the behavior of organizations and develop the technical skills needed to interpret financial statements and conduct financial appraisals. Specifically, you will look at different kinds of organizations and their responsibilities; understand the wider business environment and the effects of such things as market forces and competition; and study the financial decision-making process, including financial planning, sources of funding and the interpretation of financial statements.

The Evolving Music Industry

On this module, you will develop an understanding of today’s rapidly evolving music industry, including new business models and changes in practice which have been brought about by the impact of the internet and new technologies. You will examine such things as the trends, the key technologies and the impact of digital on the music industry, performers and consumers; the decline of traditional record label models and the future of the recording industry; direct-to-fan, crowd-funding; streaming; the impact of digital on ticketing; and the future of publishing. In order to fully understand the digital impact, you will also analyze the technology itself and how it is changing and driving consumer habits.

Artist Development and Branding

On this module, you will build on previous knowledge of the artist development process to develop an understanding of how the principles of branding can be effectively implemented in order to position the artist as a brand. You will explore the theory and practice of branding, and examine how broader marketing principles can be applied to music, and consider such key areas as the psychology of branding; the evolution and current practice of advertising agencies; the imperative of outside investment; and brand partnerships and commerce versus credibility in music.

Principles of Music Promotion and Marketing

Developing the skills required to undertake effective market analysis and deploy valuable marketing and promotional strategies is essential to any music business entrepreneur. This module enables you to develop those skills based on sound principles, detailed planning and the evaluation of relevant case studies. Specifically, on this module you will cover such key areas as the theory and practice of music marketing, examining the changes brought about by digital technologies; the media of radio, TV and print; social media and the role of content; building audiences and engagement; and creating an integrated marketing and promotion plan.

Year 2 - Level 5

In the second year, you will deepen your knowledge of the financial, legal and business principles essential to understanding and managing artists in the industry. You will learn how contracts and intellectual property may affect your future businesses and how to manage and generate marketing materials. You will start formulating your business plan for your final year and begin promoting your own brand. Level 5 is made up of the following modules:

The Modern Live Industry

By introducing the roles and relationships that underpin the live music industry, this module enables you to develop an awareness of the legal, contractual and operational obligations of live music promotion. Through this structured learning, you will understand the individual roles of the industry practitioners who organise live music events, and develop the skills and knowledge required for successful planning, budgeting and execution of live promotions, ultimately applying that knowledge and understanding to the planning of a workable and professional tour schedule that meets the detailed requirements of all parties.

Creative Event Management

This module introduces the expanding and diverse range of music-based events, develops an awareness of the impact of technology on ticketing, marketing, and promotion, and enables you to apply this knowledge to the planning and implementing of a live music event that demonstrates an understanding of digital media practice. Technologies of communication and convergence will be examined, including the importance of developing social media communities in the staging of live music events, as will the possibilities of new income streams and the changing patterns of live music consumption. Additionally, the module covers the growth in festival culture and the changing marketplace of the present and the future.

Digital Media in the Creative Industries

This module enables you to examine the impact of technology on the music and creative industries, covering concepts such as e-commerce, social networking and operating in the digital domain, through the use of case studies and reviews of current working practices and their evolution. The module comprehensively covers the digital era and its social, technological and economic implications, and covers such topics as the deployment of digital in the key creative categories, digital business models, the effect of digital on production and creation, social media, and technology and platforms.

Music Contracts and the Law

In order to successfully engage with the world of music business, it is essential to develop a comprehensive understanding of music recording, publishing, agency and artist management contracts. On this module you will be introduced to the concepts of contract law and its application in the music and entertainment industries, examining precedents and landmark cases relevant to the current legal framework. This knowledge will then enable you to contracts for evolving business models, such as sponsorship, merchandising, multiple rights, computer game, ‘apps’ and film and television sync deals.

The Future of Intellectual Property

On this module, you will develop an understanding of copyright and intellectual property (IP) rights essential for a practitioner in the music and entertainment industries. The module aims to develop such understanding and to discuss new opportunities for the commercialization of artistic work and reviews the evolution and current state of statute and case law as it applies to copyright and IP. With this knowledge, you will then explore the issues and challenges surrounding subjects including the protection and commercialization of artistic works, image rights, moral rights, defamation, music sampling, restraint of trade, and the future of copyright and IP law and use.

Year 3 - Level 6

In the third year, you will develop, brand, market and manage your own business. You will complete independent research and create original ideas in order to navigate and start your own career. You will have an assigned supervisor that will help you to organize and advance your business ideas. Level 6 is made up of the following modules:

Management in the Creative Sector

At this level, it is essential that you deepen your understanding of the universal principles of sound management and how they pertain to the wider creative and music sector. This module enables that development, facilitating reflection on personal and professional skills, experiences and aspirations, enabling you to construct a career development action plan, research and critically evaluate the job market, and understand the recruitment, selection and career progression processes of the wider creative industries. The module maps the relationships between music and other creative industries and explores the theories and practices relating to employment in this wider sector through case studies and interaction with business professionals.

Strategic Business Management in the Entertainment Industry

This module enables you to develop the expertise and discipline to design and implement sound and effective strategies for the realization of business goals in the entertainment industry. You will cover the closely inter-related subjects of the global music and entertainment industries (including music, film, theatre, and gaming) and the digitalization of content and industry and individual agendas arising from this transformation. You will also consider trends in entertainment, multinational entertainment organizations, new market entrants, independent entertainment companies, and new markets and business models.

Entrepreneurship and the New Routes to the Market

In year three of the programme, you will examine what it means to be an entrepreneur in today’s music industry, developing a comprehensive understanding of the role of the entrepreneur, how to set up new ventures, and how to identify sources of funding and resourcing. In this module, which builds on an earlier study, you will come to understand key strategies for business, allowing you to gather and evaluate information prior to developing a business plan for a new business initiative in the music and/or entertainment industries. Specifically, this module covers such key subjects as strategic planning, mission and vision, evaluation and control, emerging markets and technologies, ethical issues and corporate responsibility and business plan construction.

Major Project

The major business group project provides an opportunity for students to simulate real-world team environments. The aim of the module is that the group will build on previous experience and critical skills and identify, plan, develop and launch a real business initiative. Crucially, this project will provide you with general information, support, and experience to support your future career either in employment or as a self-employed entrepreneur. The project is a significant piece of group work and will typically consist of the identification, background research, planning, development, branding, marketing and launch of a new business initiative. Throughout, you will be expected to work as part of a small multi-disciplined team to simulate a real-world environment.

Entry Requirements

Applicants will typically have A-levels, BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma or International Baccalaureate equivalent to 260 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma.

In addition, you should hold GCSE Grade C or above in English and Maths, or suitable equivalents, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.

We also welcome applications from mature applicants who may have no formal qualifications but who can nevertheless demonstrate their suitability for study through appropriate skills and experience.

For international student entry requirements, see ‘International Applications’.

All applicants will be invited to audition.

On successfully completing the course, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) Music Business from the University of South Wales.

Featured Tutor - Korda Marshall

After starting his career at RCA Records in 1983, Korda became A&R Director of the label in 1988 and counted Ash, Garbage, Muse, The Blow Monkeys, The Wedding Present, Pop Will eat Itself, Londonbeat and Take That among his signings.

Departing RCA in 1993 he launched Infectious Records, which eventually merged with Australian company Mushroom Records before being acquired by the Warner Music Group in 2003.

Korda became Managing Director of the company’s Atlantic Records label, where he signed The Darkness and James Blunt among others, before taking over at Warner Music in 2004 overseeing the careers of Madonna, Green Day, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and signing artists including Gnarls Barkley, The Foals, The Enemy, Pendulum and Seasick Steve.

This year will be my 29th year in the UK music business. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing artists, to spend eighteen successful years within the corporate environment as well as nearly twelve years building and growing independent music companies. I have played in a band, scouted, signed artists, directed major label A&R departments, produced, executive produced and been a managing director of three large Record labels. I’m currently on the board of the BPI (British Phonographic Institute), the OCC (the Official Chart Company) and a new digital startup called ‘M-Flow’ as well as chairman of my own independent record company ‘Infectious Music’.

Last updated Apr 2019

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About the School

At the ICMP, we have always focused on the needs and potential of individual students, ensuring that the education we provide is tailored and personalised, and giving you the best chance of success in ... Read More

At the ICMP, we have always focused on the needs and potential of individual students, ensuring that the education we provide is tailored and personalised, and giving you the best chance of success in the very competitive and challenging environment of the music industry. Read less