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Berklee College of Music

Introduction to the Music Business

Berklee College of Music via edX


Three things are clear about today’s music industry: The consumption of music is expanding at the greatest rate in history and from the most portals ever imagined, the cost of producing music is decreasing, and the number of artists creating and seeking to expose their work and develop careers through the Internet has increased dramatically. As demand grows and Internet piracy wanes, ad-supported and subscription models will generate unprecedented revenues that will surpass even the best of past earnings. And, many astute “music industry-watchers” predict a steep rise in business activity and trade earnings by the end of the decade.

Whether you’re a music creator, consumer, or facilitator of this process, you’ll want to understand the history, underpinnings, and basics of the music business. This course has been developed to provide students with the latest instruction on the best way for creators, consumers, and facilitators to navigate the resurgence of one of the world’s most exciting industries: the music business. Course author John Kellogg—administrator, educator, entertainment lawyer, performer, and radio and television personality—offers students the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of the developing new music business, for now and into the future.


Lesson 1: Overview of the Music Industry

  • Overview
  • Music Industry History: 1900-1950
  • Music Industry History: 1950-2000
  • Music Industry History: Napster and Beyond
  • Today’s Music Business Structure
  • Quiz
  • Recap

Lesson 2: Recording Agreements

  • Overview
  • Importance of Recording Agreements
  • Contract Provisions
  • Royalties
  • Advances
  • 360 Deals
  • Discussion: 360 Degree Deals
  • Quiz
  • Recap

Lesson 3: Copyright Basics

  • Overview
  • History of Copyright
  • The Importance of Copyright
  • Registration
  • The Bundle of Rights
  • Infringement
  • Fair Use
  • Discussion: Future of the Bundle of Rights
  • Quiz
  • Recap

Lesson 4: Managers, Agents, and Attorneys

  • Overview
  • Types of Managers
  • Commissions
  • Agents
  • Attorneys
  • Term
  • Fiduciary Relationship
  • Business and Road Managers
  • Regulation of Managers
  • Agents
  • Discussion: Role of the Personal Manager
  • Quiz
  • Recap

Lesson 5: Band and Brand Organization and Protection

  • Overview
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • General Partnership
  • Corporation
  • LLC
  • Trademark
  • Band Names
  • Discussion: Which type of Entity?
  • Quiz
  • Recap

Lesson 6: The Live Performance Market

  • Overview
  • It Factor
  • Fan Engaging Show
  • Promotions: Social Media
  • Live Performance Agreement
  • Entourage
  • Local Personnel
  • The Future of Live Music
  • Discussion: Keeping Informed and Getting Active
  • Quiz
  • Recap
  • Course Wrap Up

Taught by

John P. Kellogg


4.3 rating, based on 10 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Introduction to the Music Business

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    You're not going to become a lawyer in six weeks, but this course gives a useful and interesting insight into the business, and highlights all the issues that anyone starting out in the music business, in any capacity, is going to have to deal with. John Kellogg is an engaging and knowledgable instructor.

    The only reason I didn't give five stars is that there were some technical issues with the quizzes, but these were all resolved by the end of the class.
  • Robert Riley

    Robert Riley completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    For anyone who works in the music business -- musician, composer, club owner, studio owner -- this is a course you must have to navigate the tricky legal waters of performance and copyright laws. The professor has lots of practical experience & tips to offer. It won't make you an expert, but it will teach you what questions you need to have answered before signing anything.
  • Victoria Wambui
    i would like to know how to start ths course am stuck on the first page. how do i open the next window
  • Profile image for Sivananda Ramnath
    Sivananda Ramnath

    Sivananda Ramnath completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    I found this to be a very interesting course led by a knowledgeable and articulate instructor. The content is very good, though the questions are a bit too obvious. Better questions will make people think more about the topics presented.
  • Kristina Adams completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Really easy course. No tests, only have weekly quizzes. Doesn't require a lot of time commitment, usually could complete weekly lessons in one sitting.
  • Dantheman

    Dantheman completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

    Great course the instructor knew his stuff backwards having lived through the changes he described. Knowledgeable , personable and amusing. Top course, brilliant teacher.
  • Maria Voumvaki

    Maria Voumvaki completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.

  • Aana

    Aana completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

  • Profile image for Annmargaret Green
    Annmargaret Green

    Annmargaret Green completed this course.

  • Bruno Palmieri

    Bruno Palmieri completed this course.

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