Vanderbilt University
Understanding the Music Business: What is Music Worth?
Vanderbilt University

Understanding the Music Business: What is Music Worth?

Taught in English

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24,926 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Jen Gunderman

Instructor: Jen Gunderman


(146 reviews)

18 hours to complete
3 weeks at 6 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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There are 7 modules in this course

Part 1 of this module will cover the basics of audio recording. You’ll learn about the pros and cons of home vs. studio recording, hear perspectives from both home and professional studio owners, and learn about different jobs and roles in recording environments. Finally, you will watch the evolution of the theme song for our course, starting with a rough demo sung into a phone recording app, and following through to the end of the recording session with professional musicians in Nashville.

What's included

9 videos1 quiz1 discussion prompt

Week 2 of the Recording & Record Labels module considers questions about education and the music business (and includes an interview with a music school dean), reviews the history of audio formats with an on-location visit to a popular music archive, and outlines the differences between major and independent record labels. At the end of this module, you will be asked to think about the current state of the recording industry, and consider questions about the value of recorded music in a rapidly shifting environment. What is a recording worth?

What's included

9 videos1 reading1 quiz2 discussion prompts

In this module, learners will wade into the complicated world of music copyright and publishing. Interviews with an executive from a performing rights organization and another music school dean with a background in publishing and intellectual property rights will help to decipher the world of publishing- and sound recording-related royalties and the question of public domain. The question of fair payment to songwriters is one of the most hotly contested issues in the music industry today, and you will think critically about how value is assigned to compositions in different media environments. What is a song worth?

What's included

13 videos1 reading1 quiz2 discussion prompts

The subjects in this segment – PR, publicity, marketing, social media, radio, and streaming services – could all come under the heading “Getting The Word Out”, or “Cutting Through The Noise.” You will learn how innovations in technology are changing the means by which audiences connect with music, and you will consider the ways that innovation causes controversy within the music industry, as old boundaries are challenged. You will hear about jobs and roles related to media and music. Interviews with a radio station owner and a communications school dean will highlight the important issues and shifts happening in this field.

What's included

8 videos1 reading1 quiz2 discussion prompts

Live performance has become a crucial component of many musicians’ careers in an era when many traditional income streams for musicians are shrinking. This module will take a look at the team of people who work with an artist doing strategy and planning (i.e., managers and agents) and people who travel with the artist on the road. You will also consider live music from the point of view of venue owners, concert promoters, and talent buyers, and interviews with a road manager and a club owner will guide your perspective about the current world of live music. What is a concert ticket worth?

What's included

18 videos1 reading1 quiz2 discussion prompts

Upheaval in many sectors of the music industry – much of it brought by the digital revolution – has led innovative people on both the business and artistic sides of the industry to do business in new ways. You will learn about opportunities for entrepreneurialism that come with technological advances; you will think critically about the controversies that arise when traditional businesses must redefine their relationships with artists; and you will hear from a business owner who has succeeded by questioning old boundaries and focusing on artist services. You will wrap up your engagement with the course by considering some larger ethical questions and asking yourself what you can do to support a healthy music ecosystem.

What's included

11 videos1 reading1 quiz4 discussion prompts

Wrapping up discussions, quizzes, and final breaking news analysis

What's included

1 peer review1 discussion prompt


Instructor ratings
4.4 (15 ratings)
Jen Gunderman
Vanderbilt University
1 Course24,926 learners

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