The Master of Music Industry Leadership is an intensive one-year leadership program designed for individuals who want to manage the next generation of music companies, and is divided into three concentrations: music management, leadership, and research and entrepreneurship. Exceptional faculty have real-world teaching, research, and working experience with current music industry issues, allowing them to bring the latest innovative ideas into the MMIL program as they inspire the next generation of industry drivers.

This program provides advanced education in the areas of music management, leadership, research, and entrepreneurship with opportunities for immediate and on-going application to each individual’s unique professional aspiration. At the program’s conclusion, graduates are prepared to assume professional leadership roles that encompass creative, entrepreneurial, and managerial functions that address emerging issues facing the entertainment industry.

The University operates on a semester system, with the following dates:

  • Fall semester: early September to mid-December
  • Spring semester: early January to late April
  • Summer semester: early May to mid-August

Admission to the Master’s program is offered for the Fall semester only. Courses are offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters.

Applications should be submitted online via the graduate application portal by the February 1 priority deadline. Official transcripts, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation (preferably from academic sources) should be submitted directly to the Graduate School of Arts, Media and Design. Applicants requesting financial aid must submit an application by February 1. Students should apply well in advance of the time they plan to start the program to ensure the best chance of gaining admission.

Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. An undergraduate average of B (3.000 GPA) or better is generally expected, although exceptions may be made for students who otherwise demonstrate special aptitude for the field.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must submit proof of English proficiency. Satisfactory proof of proficiency includes one of the following:

  1. A minimum score of 100 (Internet-based) or 250 (computer-based test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
  2. A minimum score of 7.0 on the International English Language testing System (IETLS)
  3. Proof of a minimum of four years of study and an undergraduate B.A. or B.S. degree from an institution where the medium of instruction is English

Some students may need to be evaluated by the English Language Center at Northeastern prior to registration. In addition, they may be required to enroll in an Intensive Language Course before enrolling in a full academic program.

Students from overseas should allow time in the admissions process for visas to be processed and other formalities to be addressed. Admitted international students are required to submit a completed Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF) form for the University to issue visa application (I-20 or DS-2019) forms. This information must be received at least sixteen weeks before the date the student plans to enroll.

For more information about admissions to Northeastern University and the College of Arts, Media and Design, please visit the Undergraduate Admissions website or Graduate Admissions website.

Financial Aid

Full-time students are eligible for consideration for financial aid. University regulations limit this aid program to full-time students, and awards are based on academic merit.

The Master of Science Program focuses on the core scholarly areas of the music industry. Students specialize in one of three concentrations: entrepreneurship, professional, and research. Courses provide a solid foundation in music industry theory and analysis while offering students the opportunity to apply the foundational skills to an area of personal interest. Elective courses emphasize the creation and sustainability of music organizations in a rapidly evolving environment. Using an active learning approach, the program seeks to develop music executives intellectually and ethically, while providing them with a keen appreciation for the complexities of managing in the creative industries. This approach focuses on long-term skills sets that enhance the potential of graduates within a fluid and ever-changing field. The program also emphasizes global leadership qualities that provide a broader vision of the music industry on an international level.

The Master of Music Industry Leadership offers students three curriculum options for degree completion. A minimum of 32 semester hours and nine courses (not including the intensive reporting seminar), with a grade-point average of 3.000 are required for graduation. Each option is designed to highlight a student’s strength and longer-term goals. Consultation with the graduate coordinator prior to degree commencement is required to establish a student’s ideal concentration.

Professional Concentration

The professional concentration is designed for those interested in developing high-level training in music management that eventuates in leading music organizations. Graduate students with several years of work experience are encouraged to apply to this program. Course work in this concentration focuses on empirical examples and applications in real world music business situations.

Program Features/ Completion Time

Full-time students can finish the program in as little as a year. Part-time students, most of whom work in the Boston area, take one or two courses each semester and complete the program in two or three years.

Curriculum

The professional concentration consists of five core courses, four to six music industry electives, and two to four business courses. Students are required to complete Management of Music Organizations, Intellectual Property for Music Management, Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry, Financial Management in the Music Industry, and Music Industry Research Methodology.

Students must also take eleven semester hours of electives from a wide array of courses offered by Music Department ranging from courses on innovation and leadership to global music markets and negotiations. A further six semester hours of courses are earned at the College of Business Administration in a range of subjects including new venture creation, management of small business enterprises, and managing the global enterprise.

A minimum of 32 semester hours and nine courses with a grade-point average of 3.000 is required for graduation.

Electives

Graduate students in the professional concentration must select four electives from an array of courses offered by the College of Business Administration. Note that in any given term only a subset of these electives will be available.

Typical Full-time Schedule for the Professional Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Business) 1-6
Summer 1 Electives (Music) 1-11
Summer 2 Electives (Music) 1-11
Electives (Business) 1-6

Typical Part-time Schedule for the Professional Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Business) 3
Summer 1, 2
or both
Electives (Music) 11
Fall Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Electives (Business) 3
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Business) 3

Research Concentration

This program is designed for those who are interested in careers as entertainment analysts or music industry educators.

Program Features/ Completion Time

All research concentration students complete an original thesis that must be submitted to the Graduate School and www.proquest.com upon completion and acceptance. The thesis examines a critical issue in the music industry, often combining qualitative and quantitative research. The Master’s thesis requires students to develop, design, and complete an original research project done under the supervision of one faculty member and approved by a faculty committee. Because of the time required to plan and complete a thesis, students in this concentration generally take 16 months to finish their degree.

Curriculum

The research concentration curriculum consists of five core courses, four to six Music Industry electives, and between two and four business courses. Students are required to complete Management of Music Organizations, Intellectual Property for Music Management, Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry, Financial Management in the Music Industry, and Music Industry Research Methodology.

Students must also take seven semester hours of electives from a wide array of courses offered by Music Department, ranging from courses on innovation and leadership to global music markets and negotiations. Students must also enroll in a thesis course and take Research Methods and Advanced Music Industry Research Methodology.

A minimum of 32 semester hours and nine courses with a grade-point average of 3.000 is required for graduation.

Typical Full-time Schedule for the Research Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Thesis 8
Summer 1 Electives (Music) 1-11
Thesis Continuation 0
Summer 2 Electives (Music) 1-11
Thesis Continuation 0

Typical Part-time Schedule for the Research Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Music) 1-11
Summer 1, 2
or both
Electives (Music) 1-11
Fall Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Thesis 8
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Thesis Continuation 0

Entrepreneurship Concentration

The entrepreneurship concentration is designed for those interested in developing new ventures in the music industry. Graduate students with several years of work experience or those who are interested in the creation and operation of new music companies are encouraged to apply to this program. Course work in this concentration focuses on global leadership capabilities that emphasize entrepreneurship and business development capabilities. This program acts as a “global meeting place” where executives and students share prescriptive best practices that benefit all.

Program Features/ Completion Time

Full-time students can finish the program in as short a time as a year. Part-time students, most of whom work in the Boston area, take one or two courses each semester and complete the program in two or three years.

Curriculum

The entrepreneurship concentration consists of five core courses, four to six music industry electives, and two to four business courses. Students are required to complete Management of Music Organizations, Intellectual Property for Music Management, Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry, Financial Management in the Music Industry and Music Industry Research Methodology. Students must also take seven semester hours of electives from a wide array of courses offered by Music Department ranging from courses on innovation and leadership to global music markets and negotiations. A further six semester hours of courses are earned at the College of Business Administration on a range of subjects including new venture creation, management of small business enterprises and managing the global enterprise. A capstone project concludes the requirements of this concentration. Students select a capstone project within their area of expertise including developing the market entry strategy of a new music website, identifying channels to market a new musical act, develop a functional business plan for a small music company, etc.

A minimum of 32 semester hours and nine courses with a grade-point average of 3.000 is required for graduation.

Typical Full-time Schedule for the Entrepreneurship Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Business) 1-6
Capstone Project 7
Summer 1 Electives (Music) 1-7
Summer 2 Electives (Music) 1-7
Electives (Business) 1-6

Typical Part-time Schedule for the Entrepreneurship Concentration

Semester Course Name Credits
Fall Management of Music Organizations 3
Music Industry Research Methodology 3
Spring Financial Management in the Music Industry 3
Electives (Music) 1-7
Summer 1, 2
or both
Electives (Music) 17
Fall Intellectual Property For Music Management 3
Electives (Business) 1-6
Spring Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry 3
Capstone Project 7

Core Courses

Management of Music Organizations

This course examines the approaches used to manage and oversee various music organizations, including managing change, decision-making, negotiation and presentation skills, and assessing management style. Successful music industry leaders must be well grounded in traditional management knowledge and practices, yet at the same time appreciate the unique aspects of the creative industries.

Intellectual Property for Music Management

Legal Issues for Music Management focuses on the regulatory frameworks and converging media law. Content includes contracts, licensing, standards, and best practices in intellectual property both at a national and international level.

Marketing Strategies in the Music Industry

Emphasizing the application of strategic planning in marketing to achieve competitive advantage in the music industry, this course examines the role of strategic planning in developing effective marketing programs that enhance the overall performance of a music organization. Specific topics include consumer behavior, market segmentation, targeting, customer equity, brand equity, brand positioning, marketing research, product policy, pricing strategy, distribution channels, marketing communications, global branding, new product development, and social marketing.

Financial Management in the Music Industry

An examination of financial reporting and decision making in the music industry, Financial Management in the Music Industry gives students the opportunity to become proficient in the analysis of financial statements for the purpose of predicting the future performance and growth of a firm.

Music Industry Research Methodology

This course provides an opportunity for students to develop and enhance their research skills. Success as a music industry manager often hinges on the ability to find solutions effectively and efficiently. In addition to covering the creation of various sources of tax authority, the course also introduces students to a variety of research resources and requires students to complete written research reports.

Music Electives

Note that in any given term only a subset of these electives will be available

Strategy and Analysis in the Music Industry

This elective provides a survey of the theory and practice of planning and evaluation as it relates to music organizations. The course includes development of critical issues, goals, strategies, outcomes research planning, and protocol development. Emphasis is placed on realistic business examples and the processes managers use to analyze problems.

Leadership in the Music Industry

This course explores the concepts of leadership and examines leadership experiences and potential as they relate to the field of music and the entertainment industry.

Negotiations in the Music Industry

This course is designed for students who seek to learn how to become effective negotiators in managerial settings. The course is largely experiential, which means that students learn the theory, concepts, and models underlying good practice inductively they learn by doing and then reflecting on their effectiveness. Simulated negotiations span the range of situations managers will encounter.

Advanced Negotiations in the Music Industry

A continuation of Negotiations in Music Industry course, this course will develop negotiation skills through a variety of scenarios. Topics include multi-party and multi-issue negotiations, hard bargaining, interest-base negotiations, arbitration and mediation.
•    Prerequisite: Negotiations in Music Industry

Global Music Management

This course provides an introduction to the financial, legal, cultural and social contexts of conducting business in the global market place. The course provides conceptual tools for analyzing how governments and a variety of social and economic institutions influence competition among firms embedded in different national settings. Issues addressed include: how to meet the business challenges arising from international social and environmental concerns and technical innovation. Strategic options for entering and competing in foreign markets; the growing role of alliances with partners from rapidly developing economies; the importance of locating operations in the most advantageous countries; and the special circumstances of competing in emerging markets are explored.

New Venture Development in the Music Industry

This elective explores the process of opportunity recognition, starting, and scaling an enterprise from an idea and business plan into a company. The essence of entrepreneurship is new combinations — of ideas, resources, partners, and customers in the effort to create new market space. The course will cover (1) opportunity recognition and evaluation: developing a startup idea involving technology, a product, or a service; (2) crafting a promising execution strategy and validating market potential; (3) developing a credible business plan and delivering effective presentations; (4) building a team of employees, partners, and investors; and (5) marketing, sales, and operations.

Popular Music and Media

This course will examine the commercial, critical, and cultural intersections of popular music and media. Issues to be covered include: theories of the mediation of popular music, analysis of mediated forms of popular music (e.g., radio, film, TV, music video; video games), notions of genre and style, criticism and canonization, fiction, and non-fiction music texts.

History of Music Industry

This course aims to contextualize contemporary music industry practices into a wider historical and theoretical framework. Students will trace the origins of modern music industries from medieval Europe to the New World to Vaudeville, Tin Pan Alley to the so-called ‘Rock and Roll era’ of the 1950s. Contextualizing the music industry in this way enables deeper understanding of how traditional business, legal, political, and economic systems directly and indirectly influence creativity and creative practice.

Music, Technology and Popular Culture

This course seeks to establish a sociological/historical framework between popular music, popular culture, technology, and music industry.  Students will analyze selected mediated sounds and images representing different eras within popular music and popular culture to address the role of technology in the production, distribution, and consumption of popular music and popular culture. Students will also explore the historical, legal, political, and technical issues surrounding key popular music and popular culture developments with an aim to anticipate trends in the continuing evolution of technology in the popular music/culture industries.

Advanced Music Industry Research Methodology

This course offers students the opportunity to prepare a professional research paper under the close supervision of a scholar interested in students’ particular research areas.

  • Prerequisite: Music Industry Research Methodology
  • Required of Students completing the Thesis

Capstone Project

The capstone project will demonstrate the competence to identify a problem or create a project germane to the evolving field in music management, and to produce a working product that is executed in a systematic manner using research and management tools. Students may select a project within their area of expertise including, developing the market entry strategy of a new music website, identifying channels to market a new musical act, etc. The capstone project must be approved by the Program Director.

Thesis

The Master’s thesis in music industry involves independent research on an approved topic judged by a faculty committee and under the supervision of one faculty member. The thesis requires students to develop, design, and complete an original research project.

  • Prerequisite: permission of advisor
  • Repeatable without limit

Thesis Continuation

Students who require additional time beyond the one semester allocated may be given the opportunity to complete their thesis during an extended period.