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volume 3
november 2000

Academic characteristics of music business programs

Index of the journal Tracking  





  Results of a survey in U.S. colleges and universities Spring, 1991
by Frederick J. Taylor
  Georgia State University
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  Abstract. The burgeoning worldwide music industry has created a need for qualified personnel with legal, music, business, technical, and communications skills to meet the demands of the job market. In an effort to fulfill these needs, institutions have developed curricula aimed at preparing students for careers in the music industry. This study assessed the primary academic characteristics and standards of music business programs in institutions of higher education, the degree to which certain paradigms are followed, and the extent of minority enrollment in these programs. A survey instrument was mailed to 148 member schools listed with the Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association and to persons responsible for teaching in music business programs. The data appear to indicate that music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities have different organizational structures, program requirements, faculty qualifications, and academic standards. There seems to be little if any uniformity of academic standards in U.S. music business programs.

1 Introduction
  The music business is a $20.5 billion industry. Worldwide sales of recorded music leaped 19.4% in 1988, to $20.3 billion, with the United States accounting for 32% of global revenues. In 1988 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported the best sales ever of records, cassettes, and CDs, at $6.25 billion. Worldwide music sales are expected to be $50 billion by 1994. This demand has created a need for qualified personnel with legal, music, business, technical, and communications skills to meet the demands of the job market.
  In recent years, colleges and universities as well as schools and departments of music have encountered problems of decreasing enrollment in such traditional subject areas as performance, theory and composition, music history, and music education. In an effort to increase enrollment, institutions have developed curricula aimed at preparing students to meet the increasing demand for qualified personnel in the music industry. These non-traditional curricula are referred to as music merchandising, music management, music business technology, jazz and commercial music, music industry, music media or arts management, audio technology, music marketing, sound recording technology, commercial music, and recording arts comprehensive programs.
  Bradley University and the University of Miami became the first four-year institutions to develop programs that prepared students for careers in the music industry. According to the Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association, there are more than 200 colleges and universities that have programs designed to prepare students for careers in the music industry.
  These programs tend to follow several basic models based on the location of the program within academic units, the area of specialization, program requirements, and overall organizational structure. Programs housed in departments and schools of music tend to follow the National Association of Schools of Music guidelines. Independent programs, not housed in music areas, tend to develop individualized models emphasizing music management and recording technology.
  Essentially, this study attempts to identify the primary characteristics of music business programs in institutions of higher education and the degree to which certain paradigms are followed. The purpose of the study is to provide broad descriptive data that will stimulate other, more specific research.
2 Methodology
2.1 Instrument. A questionnaire containing a total of 34 questions of both multiple-choice format and open-ended response format was the instrument utilized for the study. Of the 34 items in the questionnaire, 30 were closed-ended questions and the remainder were open-ended questions requiring qualitative responses. The questionnaire solicited information about the respondents' institutions, the characteristics of their music business programs, qualifications of the faculty, and academic standards. Most questionnaires were completed to the extent that the respondents deemed applicable to their programs.
  Unanswered questions were treated as missing and were excluded from the analysis, unless it could be ascertained from responses to related questions that an applicable response existed. Ambiguous responses were assigned as "Not Applicable" and treated as missing values.
2.2 Sample. The survey instrument was mailed to 148 member schools listed with the Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association and to persons responsible for teaching in music business programs. Of the 148 institutions, 70 responded. The study attempted to answer the following questions:
 
  1. What are the academic characteristics of music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities?
  2. What are the academic standards of music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities?
  3. What is the enrollment of minorities in music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities?
3 Results
3.1 The Institutions. The majority of institutions were four-year baccalaureate colleges and universities with enrollments of 1,000 to 5,000 and with minority enrollments of less than 10% of the student population (see Tables 1, 2, and 3).
 
Table 1: Type of institution
Type of institutions % of Institutions

2-year technical / junior colleges 15.2
4-year liberal arts institutions 26.6
4-year institutions with Master's Programs 39.2
research universities with Ph.D. programs 15.2
others (audiovisual media centers) 3.8

institutions with baccalaureate degrees 65.8
institutions with graduate degrees 54.4

 
Table 2: Total number of students in the institution
Institutions with ... % of Institutions

less than 1,000 students 7.6
1,000 - 5,000 students 45.6
5,000 - 10,000 students 17.6
10,000 - 20,000 students 24.1
20,000 students and above 5.1

 
Table 3: Minority student enrollment in the institution
Institutions with ... % of Institutions

0 - 5% minority enrollment 41.8
6 - 10% minority enrollment 32.8
11 - 15% minority enrollment 9.0
16 - 20% minority enrollment 4.5
21 - 25% minority enrollment 1.5
25% minority enrollment and above 10.4

  The number of full-time music business teaching faculty was five or less in most institutions, and the minimum full-time teaching qualifications was usually a master's degree plus music industry experience (see Tables 4, 5).
 
Table 4: Number of full-time teaching faculty
Full-time music business teaching staff % of Institutions

0 - 5 61.4
6 - 10 18.5
11 - 15 6.2
16 - 20 6.2
20 and above 7.7

 
Table 5: Full-time faculty teaching qualifications
Qualifications % of Institutions

music industry experience 16.9
industry experience / bachelor's 9.3
industry experience / master's 47.7
Ph.D. in appropriate field 21.5
not applicable 4.6

  A doctorate was required by only 21.5% of the respondents. Institutions that required the minimum qualification of a master's degree plus music industry experience for their full-time faculty required scholarly and creative research for tenure. These institutions and those requiring a doctorate comprised 72.4% of the institutions with tenure requirements.
  A minimum qualification for part-time teaching faculty was a bachelor's degree plus music business experience. Approximately 56% of the respondents stated that a requirement of at least a bachelor's degree and music business experience was sufficient for their part-time faculty. Music business experience only was sufficient for specialized arts and media educational centers and for 50% of the technical and junior colleges. Approximately 42.9% of the institutions surveyed did not require their part-time faculty to have knowledge of curriculum development or of preparation of syllabi.
  The SAT was the preferred entrance exam requirement, closely followed by the ACT. Two-year technical and junior colleges used non-standardized tests or had no entrance exam requirement (see Table 6).
 
Table 6: Entrance requirements
Exams % of Institutions

SAT 32.4
ACT 16.2
either SAT or ACT 25.0
either SAT/ACT plus audition 4.4
other 17.6
none 4.4

3.2 Location of Programs and Administrative Structure. The majority of music business programs were located within the larger unit of college of fine and performing arts or the smaller unit of a music school or department (see Tables 7 and 8).
 
Table 7: Location of program
Unit % of Institutions

arts & sciences 15.7
fine & performing arts 42.9
music 15.7
other (specified) 15.7
independent unit 4.3
More than one response 5.7

 
Table 8: Subunit location
Subunit % of Institutions

music 76.3
business 1.6
technical & applied science 1.6
other 7.9
not applicable 6.3
more than one response 6.3

  Directors or chairs of music business programs reported to the dean, school of music administrator, or music department chair (see Table 9).
 
Table 9: Administrative structure
Reports to ... % of Institutions

chair, music department 31.9
chair, business department 0.0
dean or administrative officer 53.7
other 10.1
not applicable 1.4
more than one response 2.9

3.3 Program Requirements. The majority of music business programs (78.5%) required a music placement exam for admission into the program and a minimum of a two-year theory sequence for graduation (see Table 10).
 
Table 10: Music theory sequence
Required for graduation ... % of Institutions

one year of theory required 18.6
two years of theory required 55.7
at least three years required 14.3
a combination of the above 4.3
none 7.1

  Respondents using the quarter system required an average of 23 hours of music theory for graduation, and those on the semester system required an average of 12 hours. In most institutions (50.8%) at least three years of study on a musical instrument, as well as a recital, was required for graduation (see Table 11).
 
Table 11: Vocal or instrumental performance requirement
Required for graduation ... % of Institutions

one year of study required 0.0
two years of study required 26.2
at least three years of study required 50.8
a combination of the above 1.5
none 21.5

  Most music business students (82.9%) were required to participate in a musical performance organization. Internships were a requirement for graduation, and students interned primarily with recording studios and music retail stores (see Tables 12 and 13).
 
Table 12: Internship as a requirement for graduation
Type of institutions Internship required (%)

2-year technical / junior colleges 25.0
4-year liberal arts institutions 61.1
4-year institutions with master's programs 66.7
research universities with Ph.D. programs 50.0
other (audiovisual media centers) 33.3

  (Note: These are not mutually exclusive categories; therefore the percentages do not total to 100)
 
Table 13: Type of internship
Internship with ... % of Institutions

record labels 21.0
music publishers 25.8
music chain retailers 45.2
recording studio 48.4
other 40.3

  (Note: These are not mutually exclusive categories; therefore the percentages do not total to 100)
  The mix of music, liberal arts, business, and communications courses was varied in the music business curriculum (see Table 14).
 
Table 14: Composition of degree programs (expressed in %)
Mix (%) Business Liberal Arts Music Communications

0-4 1.5 0.0 0.0 14.8
5-10 15.4 3.0 3.0 55.7*
11-15 13.8 6.0 1.5 8.2
16-20 20.0 14.9 6.0 0.0
21-25 13.8 11.9 7.5 1.6
26-30 10.8 17.9 13.3 0.0
> 30 12.4 38.8* 59.7* 3.3
not applicable 9.2 6.0 6.0 8.2
one response 3.1 1.5 3.0 8.2

  *i.e., 55.7% of respondents had a 5% - 10% mix of communications courses in their degree programs, 38.8% of respondents had greater than a 30% mix of liberal arts courses in their degree programs, and 59.7% of respondents had greater than a 30% mix of music courses in their degree programs.
3.4 General Program Descriptions. The titles of programs were varied (music industry, merchandising, management, media, etc.), with music business and technology being the most common name (see Table 15).
 
Table 15: Program title
Title % of Institutions

music merchandising 14.5
music management 14.3
music business or technology 34.3
jazz or commercial music 20.3
other (media, arts management, etc.) 34.3

  (Note: These are not mutually exclusive categories; therefore the percentages do not total to 100)
  Undergraduate programs offered specializations or tracks primarily in studio recording technology and music management. Other specializations were jazz and commercial music, media writing and production, instrument sales, and music synthesis (see Table 16).
 
Table 16: Specialization or tracks
Specialization % of Institutions

recording engineering 53.6
jazz and commercial music 33.3
instrumental sales or administration 19.7
music management 68.2
musical theater 24.2
other (marketing, etc.) 33.3

  (Note: These are not mutually exclusive categories; therefore the percentages do not total to 100)
  The four-year Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees represented the majority of the undergraduate offerings. The Bachelor of Music degree was primarily offered by four-year institutions with graduate degree programs (see Table 17).
 
Table 17: Undergraduate degree offerings
Degrees % of Institutions

certificate or diploma 7.2
2-year associate of arts 10.1
4-year B.A. or B.S. 56.5
4-year Bachelor of Music 11.6
4-year B.A./B.S./B.M. 8.8
more than one response 5.8

  Institutions with master's programs offered a greater variety of undergraduate degrees in music business than any other type of institution. Two-year technical and junior colleges offered certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees. The statistics show a limited number of graduate programs in music business, both in variety and in the number of institutions offering such programs (see Table 18).
 
Table 18: Graduate degree offerings
Degrees % of Institutions

graduate course work only 3.0
master's degree 29.9
other (doctorate degree) 1.4
none 62.7
more than one response 3.0

  The majority of four-year research-oriented universities offering master's degrees had music business programs that were accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. The fact that 13.0% were not accredited by any agency and 17.4% of the institutions lack uniform academic standards show the situation that is prevalent in music business programs in higher education (see Table 19).
 
Table 19: Accrediting agencies
Agency % of Institutions

NASM 58.0
NATTS 1.4
AACSB 1.4
none 13.0
other 17.4
more than one 8.8

3.5 Enrollment by Program. The average number of students enrolled in music business programs ranged from 10 to 50. Approximately 84% of the institutions reported that they had fewer than 15% part-time students enrolled in their programs. Approximately 42% of the respondents reported that they had no blacks enrolled in their programs during fall 1987, and 76% of respondents reported that they had fewer than five blacks enrolled in their programs during fall 1988 (see Table 20).
 
Table 20: Minority enrollment by program
Fall 1987 (expressed in %)
Quantity Black Hispanic Am. Indian Asian Other

0 41.7* 70.8 91.6 68.8 95.7
1-4 37.5 16.7 4.2 25.0 4.3
5-10 18.7 8.3 0.0 6.2 0.0
11-15 2.1 4.2 4.2 0.0 0.0

  *i.e., 41.7% of respondents reported no blacks in their programs during Fall 1987.
 
Table 20: Minority enrollment by program (cont.)
Fall 1988 (expressed in %)
Quantity Black Hispanic Am. Indian Asian Other

0 36.0* 66.0 89.6 70.0 97.9
1-4 40.0* 22.0 6.2 18.0 2.1
5-10 18.0 4.0 0.0 6.0 0.0
11-15 6.0 4.0 0.0 4.0 0.0
16+ 0.0 4.0 4.2 2.0 0.0

  *i.e., 76.0% of respondents reported fewer than 5 blacks in their programs during Fall 1988.
  The small number of blacks and other racial minorities enrolled in music business programs is reflective of the low percentages of these racial groups in overall institutional enrollment.
4 Conclusions and recommendations. The data appear to indicate that music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities have different organizational structures, program requirements, faculty qualifications, and academic standards. Based on the data presented, there seems to be little if any uniformity of academic standards or exemplary programs of excellence in U.S. music business programs. Minority enrollment in music business programs is very low. Blacks and Hispanics are virtually non-existent in these programs.
  This study should stimulate further research into recruitment and retention of minorities in music business programs, and into the assessment of the quality of music business programs in U.S. colleges and universities.
  Recommendations for improving the quality of music business and technology programs in U.S. colleges and universities:
 
  • The National Association of Schools of Music should develop a commission on accreditation, composed of music industry educators whose primary goal will be that of developing standards in the music and technology programs at both the bachelor's and master's levels. These standards should include (a) the development of curriculum guidelines to ensure minimal academic standards, (b) the development of evaluative standards able to assess program outcomes, including student performance in courses and internships, alumni feedback, university program reviews, and other indicators, (c) the development of standards to ensure that universities demonstrate a commitment to hiring, retention, promotion, and tenure of minority faculty, (d) the development of recruitment strategies that will attract non-traditional and minority high school students by emphasizing in the literature the contribution of blacks and other minorities to American music, and (e) the development of a core of music industry educators to serve as consultants to educational institutions.
  • It is recommended that a data bank be established by the Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association for the recruitment of faculty who have a background in the music industry, experience in college teaching, and terminal degrees in music, business, or related areas.
  • Music business and technology educational programs in major recording centers and urban areas should serve as exemplary models for potential and newly established programs.
   
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  References
 
  • Recording Industry Association of America (1989), Inside the recording industry. A statistical overview — 1989 update. Washington, DC: Author.
  • White, A. (ed.) (1988), Inside the recording industry. An introduction to America's music business. Washington, DC: Recording Industry Association of America, Inc.
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  This essay was published in: Tracking: Popular Music Studies,
vol. 3, no. 2 (Spring, 1991)
  1997 © IASPM / USA