Music Business Degree

Music Business Degree Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Commercial Music Technology: Music Business Concentration

About the Music Business Degree

Find your future where music and business intersect.

Whether you’re a musician with an enterprising spirit or an entrepreneur with a passion for music, a degree in music business can prepare you for success in the U.S. music industry, which annually generates more than $19 billion in revenue.

Built on PennWest California’s innovative B.S. in Commercial Music Technology degree, the interdisciplinary music business concentration merges business and music courses in a program that also draws on fields such as digital media technology, theater, management and marketing.

In addition to formal music training, you’ll gain hands-on skills in recording technology plus expertise in areas such as business law, business management, sales and marketing, and business law.

You’ll graduate career-ready in just four years of on-campus study, or follow the fast-track option directly to PennWest California’s MBA program.

Turn your passion for music into a career.

As a music business major, you’ll develop the knowledge and skills required for high-impact careers in the fast-moving music industry, whether you’ve set your sights on a career as a personal manager, booking agent or concert promoter. Other avenues include music publishing, sales and marketing, or audio production for television, films or videogames.

Music business majors at PennWest California take part in weekly meetings with guest speakers who share their experiences – and offer tips – either live or via Skype from music industry hot-spots across the country. Recent speakers include:

  • Writer and producer Joe West, who has worked with artists such as Keith Urban, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw.
  • Los Angeles producer Bobby Owsinski, author of 20+ books on recording, music production and social media in the music business.
  • Greg Vizza, a specialist in architectural acoustic design for studios, theaters and concert halls.
  • Producer and recording engineer Greg Gordon, who has worked with dozens of punk rock, hip-hop and Motown artists.


Audition Required: A previous musical background is preferred, and an audition is required for admission to PennWest California’s commercial music technology and music business degree programs. But don’t stress – students admitted to PennWest California have one year to prove themselves and prepare for the audition and program candidacy.

Hands-On Skills: PennWest California provides music business majors with plenty of opportunities to apply their skills onstage, behind the scenes or in the studio. On-campus classes immerse you in a supportive learning environment where you can gain experience as a performer or a sound engineer, or try your hand at audio post-production, digital video production, radio and more.

Top Internships: Brush up your resume with help from the Career and Professional Development Center, then visit the Internship Center for tips on gaining valuable real-world experience. Guided by PennWest California faculty, our studentshave found internships in some of the nation’s hottest cities for music, including Nashville, Atlanta, Austin, Pittsburgh and New York City.

Learn more about applying

On-campus instrumental and vocal ensembles for students interested in performing.
Annual earnings potential for successful concert promoters, according to Inside Jobs.
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Degree Benefits

All music business students build a solid foundation in music technology, music and business basics. You’ll customize your program by selecting the instrument and performance ensembles that suit your talents, and choosing a group of business elective courses that focus your studies on sales and marketing, entrepreneurship, or law. Music technology practicums, internships, senior projects and recitals are opportunities to showcase your learning.

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Graduate Outcomes

What are some careers in the music business? A 2018 Forbesfeature lists music industry careers with potential for six-figure earnings, including videogame audio directors, film/TV music supervisors, booking agents, recording engineers and road managers for successful artists. PennWest California’s music business concentration also is geared toward entrepreneurs whose businesses require an insider’s knowledge of the music industry.


B.S., Music Business - Courses and Admission Requirements


Course Credits
General Education Courses 40 or 41
Building a Sense of Community
UNI 100  First-Year Seminar
ENG 101  English Composition I
Public Speaking
CDC 101  Public Speaking
Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy
Any Mathematics and Quantitative Literacy Course
Health and Wellness
Any Health and Wellness Course
Technological Literacy
DMT 180  Foundations of Digital Media
Any Humanities Course
Fine Arts
MUS 100  Intro to Music 
Natural Sciences
CMD 221  Speech Science
Social Sciences
Any Social Sciences Course
Ethics and Multicultural Awareness Emphasis
MUS 300  Jazz: History, Form and Analysis
General Education Options
  • THE 211  Lighting I
  • ENG 217  Scientific and Tech. Writing I
  • Student-Selected General Education Option Course
Core Major Courses 18
MUS 211  Keyboard Class 3
MUS 215  Comprehensive Musicianship 3
MUS 275  Music and Recording Technology 3
MUS 314  The Music Industry: History, Form and Analysis 3
MUS 315  Comprehensive Musicianship II 3
MUS 375  Music and Recording II 3
Performance Ensemble Electives (select from list) 6
MUS 187  Guitar Ensemble 1
MUS 188  String Ensemble 1
MUS 191  Choir 1
MUS 192  California Singers 1
MUS 193  Gospel Choir 1
MUS 196  Jazz Ensemble 1
MUS 197  Pep Band 1
MUS 198  Marching Band 1
MUS 199  Concert Band 1
MUS 307  Special Music Project 1
Applied Instruction Electives (select from list) 8
Brass - MUS 109, 209, 309, 409 1 to 3
Piano - MUS 119, 219, 319, 419 1 to 3
Percussion - MUS 129, 229, 329, 429 1 to 3
Woodwind - MUS 149, 249, 349, 449 1 to 3
Voice - MUS 159, 259, 359, 459 1 to 3
Guitar - MUS 170, 270, 370, 470 1 to 3
String - MUS 179, 279, 379, 479 1 to 3
Special Experience Electives (select from list) 6
MUS 485  Music Tech Practicum 1 to 3
MUS 488  Music Tech Internship 1 to 12
Required Business Courses 12
BUS 100  Introduction to Business 3
BUS 242  Business Law I 3
MGT 300  Principles of Management 3
MKT 300  Principles of Marketing 3
Business Ethics (select one course) 3
BUS 342  Business, Society and Government 3
BUS 343  Corporate Social Responsibility 3
BUS 345*  Business Ethics (required for Law Group, so Law Group students must choose additional ethics course above) 3
Business Elective Groups (choose one group) 12
Law Group  
BUS 345*  Business Ethics (see above) 3
BUS 346  Business Law II 3
MGT 375  Info Tech Ethics 3
MGT 376  Cyber Law 3
Entrepreneurship Group  
MGT 303  Entrepreneurship I 3
MGT 305  Entrepreneurship II 3
FIN 321  Entrepreneurial Finance 3
MKT 361  Entrepreneurial Marketing 3
Sales and Marketing Group  
MKT 320  Selling 3
MKT 321  Sales Management 3
MKT 351  Advertising 3
MKT 311  E-Marketing 3
Free Electives 15
Total 120

Additional requirements, not counted toward the General Education requirements, include:

  • Special Experience Course (1 course required): MUS 488 Music Tech Internship
  • Writing-Intensive Component Courses (2 courses required): MUS 375 Music and Recording Technology II AND any approved advanced writing course
  • Laboratory Course (1 course required): DMT 180 Foundations of Digital Media

Program Notes: All prescribed courses, including general education courses, may not be substituted except at the discretion of the music department. Developmental courses do not count toward the 120 credits necessary for graduation, but are calculated in your overall GPA.

Admission Requirements and Auditions

Students wishing to enroll in the Commercial Music Business program at PennWest California are expected to audition. :

1. Complete an Audition Pre-Registration Form

The Audition Pre-Registration Form is a MS Word Document that must be completed digitally and then saved as a PDF file for submission. Please use the following steps to do this:

  • Open the form and save it to your computer
  • Complete the form and choose to SAVE AS a .PDF file from the format section
  • E-mail the PDF file as an attachment to

 After your form has been processed, the Music Department will contact you via e-mail with your audition date          and time. Auditions are typically held the final weeks of February, March and April; however, exceptions are easily made in order to accommodate all applicants.

2. Attend Scheduled Audition

Once your audition has been scheduled, you will be e-mailed specific information that pertains to your day on the    PennWest California campus. Itinerary information, parking information, a campus map, etc. will all be provided to you in   advance of your audition. Prospective students should plan on attending all of the events outlined in the itinerary.

3. Audition Material

 Before auditioning, prospective students should examine our Commercial Music Technology Audition Procedures  Handbook, which provides a comprehensive outline of all audition requirements.

4. Notification of Acceptance*

The CMB program at PennWest California accepts 20 students per academic year. By scheduling and attending an audition, prospective students are taking an important first step the acceptance process. Students who have been accepted into that year’s 20-student cohort as a result of their audition will be notified approximately two weeks after their audition date. Students who have not been accepted into the 20-student cohort will also be contacted and be given the option of entering the program as a “CMB candidate”. CMB Candidates are enrolled in many of the same            introductory courses that a CMB major is, but are given only one year to improve their musical skills, to acclimate to life as a CMB major and to re-audition in front of the department faculty. After their re-audition, CMB    Candidates are again informed of their acceptance or denial into the program. If a CMB Candidate is promoted to  a CMB major, that student will join the 20-student cohort for the following academic year and continue their studies as normal. If a CMB Candidate is not promoted to a CMB major, that student will be advised by the music department faculty of other majors or degrees of study that would most closely align with their professional goals.

*All acceptance into the CMB program (including CMB Candidates) are contingent upon a prospective student being acceptance by the University at large. If student has not applied for admission to PennWest California, they should do so first.

A Music Business Degree student plays the violin.

Practice Makes Perfect

It takes a musician to truly understand the music business, so students admitted to the program receive formal musical training. Keyboard Class and courses in Comprehensive Musicianship are required, and skilled musicians offer private instruction in voice, guitar, bass guitar, piano, strings, woodwinds and percussion.

A student with a guitar stands in the hallway.

Find Your Niche

Whether you love gospel or rock, a cappellaharmonies or a swinging jazz band, you’ll find like-minded musicians at PennWest California. The six performance ensemble credits required for the music business degree can be the starting point for friendships and professional connections that last a lifetime.