Understanding the Music Business: What is Music Worth?
list 7 sequences
assignment Level : Introductive
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About the content

This course will examine the music industry in the United States, with the unique perspective gained by Vanderbilt University’s location in Nashville, TN. Nashville is a major center of music in the United States, and the music created here has a global reach, particularly in the country, rock, pop, singer-songwriter, and Americana genres. However, students will learn that the basic principles of recording, marketing, copyright, licensing, and live performance are the same, regardless of musical style or genre. The music business is one of the most rapidly changing industries in the US today. It is also an industry filled with contradiction, and media headlines and anecdotal stories often add to the confusion. Here are just a few statements paraphrased from recent news stories: * The music business has collapsed * Demand for music is expanding at the greatest rate in history * Historic recording studios are closing at an alarming rate * More people are making recordings than ever before * Musicians usually lose money touring * Musicians usually make money touring * Major artist pulls songs off streaming services because they don’t pay fairly * Major artist makes a fortune from streaming services * People won’t buy records anymore * Vinyl record sales are soaring This course will attempt to make sense of these seemingly contradictory trends and data, outline the basic structure and mechanisms of today’s music industry, and encourage students to think critically and entrepreneurially about the future of music. Leaders from various areas of the music business will lend their perspectives through in-depth interviews, and footage from a recording session will give learners a behind the scenes look at how a song goes from the spark of an idea hummed into a cell phone to a finished recording. Participants will grapple with questions about art and commerce which are both timeless and crucially important today, and will emerge from this course with tools allowing them to make more informed decisions as creators, promoters, and consumers of music. Course launches February 19, 2016.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1 - Recording & Record Labels, Part 1
    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 environmen...
  • Week 2 - Recording & Record Labels, Part 2
    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 outli...
  • Week 3 - Copyright & Publishing
    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 ...
  • Week 4 - Media
    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 ...
  • Week 5 - Live Performance
    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.,...
  • Week 6 - New Models, Trends & Strategies
    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 entrepreneurial...
  • Week 7 - Wrapping Up
    Wrapping up discussions, quizzes, and final breaking news analysis
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Instructors

Jen Gunderman
Assistant Professor of Musicology
Blair School of Music

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Content designer

Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tenn., is a private research university and medical center offering a full-range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.
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Coursera

Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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