Study Music Business at Belmont University

Belmont University
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By Kate H Knapp
Last updated on July 28, 2023

There is no better place to study music business than Belmont University, located in the heart of Music City (Nashville, Tennessee).

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With an enviable location near Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, notable alumni, important accreditation, world-class facilities, and a community of music lovers, Belmont University provides a music business education unlike anywhere else in the world. 

It may come as a surprise that you don’t have to be able to sing or play an instrument to get a music business degree. For those who love the industry, but don’t want to be on stage, there are plenty of options. With a music business degree, you can pursue careers as an artist manager, entertainment attorney, publicist, recording executive, and concert promoter, among other creative possibilities. 

“Most of the [Belmont students] who are graduating are working at record and publishing companies,” noted Brittany Schaffer, newly appointed dean of Belmont University’s Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business.

Having recently worked as the Head of Artist and Label Partnerships - Nashville for Spotify, Dean Schaffer is no stranger to the music business. Before Spotify, she was a music and entertainment lawyer for Loeb & Loeb. The one thing she found consistent across both jobs was “a real passion I had for helping young people navigate music in the industry.” 

Schaffer is excited to continue doing just that at Belmont, as well as celebrate the music business program’s 50th anniversary in the 2023-24 academic year. 

“I love the way music helps you connect with people and process experiences,” said Schaffer.

Celebrating 50 Years of Success

Belmont University’s music business program began in 1973, providing students with operational, administrative, creative, and technical skills to succeed in the music industry. The Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business was founded in 2003 and now includes all aspects of the field that students need a foundation in for professional success. Sample courses in the music business program include copyright law, publishing, public relations, artist management, concert promotion, and marketing. 

The university’s administration, faculty, and staff have learned a lot in the last 50 years. Today, the music business curriculum teaches students not only music, but also marketing, ethics, economics, management, finance, analytics, law, accounting, and more. 

“Belmont is really focused on taking care of the whole person while you are here. Recognizing we are not only taking care of your educational health, but also your emotional and spiritual health,” said Dean Schaffer. 

The university’s current goals support Schaffer’s statement, specifically:

  • Providing a personalized, career-oriented, and practical education emphasizing leadership, innovation, private enterprise and entrepreneurship.

  • Equipping students to think critically, communicate effectively, accept responsibility, make successful decisions, and prosper in diverse work environments.

  • Emphasizing quality classroom instruction within the parameters of ethical Christian principles.

Study Music Business Right on Music Row

Belmont’s enviable Nashville location truly sets its music business program apart. 

“No other creative city in the world, I would argue, is like Nashville,” said Dean Schaffer. “There is a community of people who know each other, collaborate with each other, and hang out with each other. There is a sense of camaraderie in Nashville that exists nowhere else.” 

With a reputation for amazing music dating back to the 1800s and live music playing 365 days a year today, Nashville has earned its nickname: Music City. There are more than 180 music venues, from small clubs to large arenas, playing music from almost any genre on any given night. Students can learn more about Nashville’s musical connections at the Music City Walk of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Some of the world’s greatest musical talents have played or recorded here, which is why so many of the best recording studios, record labels, and entertainment companies have set up shop in and around the city. The world’s largest vinyl record plant, United Record Pressing, has been making records here since 1949. 

Belmont University is also adjacent to Music Row, considered the heart of the entertainment industry and home to many notable radio stations and studios where music legends record. The college’s proximity to so many music leaders “allows students to take classes, do internships, and network right on Music Row,” said Dean Schaffer. 

World-Class Facilities, Study Abroad Opportunities, and One-of-a-Kind Classes

In addition to its prime location, Belmont is a top choice for music business because of its impressive facilities. The university opened the R. Milton & Denice Johnson Center in 2015, which features state-of-the-art screening theaters, computer labs, motion picture sound stages, research labs, animation studios, mixing suites, a 950-seat dining hall, and much more. Students also have access to a completely virtual computer lab that only requires an internet connection.

The college boasts three historic recording studios — Ocean Way Nashville, Quonset Hut, and Historic Columbia Studio A — giving students the opportunity to record in the same studios as some of the world’s biggest stars. 

Additionally, the Belmont USA program encourages students to study while taking an internship or an immersive experience in another city through study abroad programs in Los Angeles, New York City, Hollywood, Washington, DC, Oregon, England, Ireland, or even the Bonnaroo Music Festival.

Bonnaroo University is a class that teaches festival culture, sociology of music, and research methods in a typical academic setting. Then, students travel via tour buses to apply what they learn at the four-day festival, as well as network with some of the industry’s giants.

Dean Schaffer believes it is important to have “practical experiences, such as networking and internships, while pursu[ing] an education, without having to forfeit one over the other.”

Rankings, Accreditation, and Alumni

Not only has Belmont University’s Curb College been ranked as a top-15 school for music business by Billboard Magazine, but its bachelor’s of business administration program has been accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. The college is among fewer than 5% of business schools worldwide to have earned this distinction for adhering to high quality standards. 

Another area of pride for the university is its impressive list of alumni, including Brad Paisley, Trisha Yearwood, songwriter and publisher Ashley Gorley, Ben Vaughn of Warner/Chappell, and Cindy Mabe of Universal Music Group. 

“We have been very fortunate to have a lot of successful alumni in the creative side, as well as the business,” said Dean Schaffer. 

Opportunities for International Students at Belmont

“For students who are taking a risk and making a big move, you are at a campus that is not only thinking about the experience we are giving in the classroom, but also the experience you are having as a person. We take that very seriously,” said Dean Schaffer. 

Since Belmont encourages international students to take full advantage of networking opportunities and internships while still in the music business program, it isn’t surprising that the college has an Entertainment Industry Professional Development Team. Students will have access to one-on-one guidance, weekly industry professional-led workshops, networking opportunities, and hundreds of internships each semester. 

International students can meet new people, gain insider’s experience in the industry, and prepare for the professional entertainment world by joining one of the school’s student-run organizations, such as the Korean Music Business Society.

Other Music Programs at Belmont

The Curb College of Music and Entertainment offers a wide variety of undergraduate programs for music careers beyond music business, including:

  • Audio Engineering

  • ​​Emerging Media

  • ​​Creative & Entertainment Industries

  • ​​Film & TV Writing

  • ​​Journalism

  • ​​Media Production

  • ​​Motion Pictures

  • ​​Publishing

  • ​​Songwriting

Beyond the Music Business Program

An impressive 88% of Curb College graduates are employed in a profession that aligns with their short- or long-term career goals. Some top employers for Belmont graduates include Apple, BMI, Paramount Pictures, and United Talent Agency. 

With numbers like these, it is clear why Dean Schaffer feels “it is not about us projecting what we think their career should be, it is about us helping students find what is authentic to them and how they can lean into who they are.”

Are you ready to find out what is authentic to you?

Discover Belmont University