MUSI2086 Music Business
Course Type: disciplinary elective for music majors/minors, free elective for others
Prerequisite: NIL
Instructors: Mr. Jonathan SERBIN, Dr. Rujing Stacy HUANG
Semester: First Semester 2022/23
Venue: CPD-LG1.22 Rehearsal Room
This course provides a detailed overview of the music business, with an emphasis on the Asian markets. It aims to complement students’ scholarly and creative studies of music by equipping them with the knowledge needed to grasp the “business-side” of the music industry. Via a variety of case studies, this course will 1)  discuss critical areas of the music industry (from the basics of music contracts and the economics of deals to issues unique to the Asian market); 2) introduce the major players in the business (record labels, producers, managers, lawyers, etc.); and 3) address new business trends and opportunities (AI, NFTs, Metaverse, and more) that are actively transforming our shared musical future.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • recognize important areas of the music industry and understand how they interrelate;
  • write and speak critically and effectively about a wide array of issues related to the music industry and business practices;
  • gain an overview of the growth of different music genres in Asia and understand the impact of genre on business practices;
  • familiarize themselves with the latest technological developments driving the music business;
  • develop entrepreneurial thinking and have the confidence to better represent their personal interests throughout their music careers.
Attendance and Participation (lectures and tutorials) 20%
Two Group Projects (25% x 2) 50%
Individual Final Research Project 30%

  • Understanding the key players and platforms in the music industry
  • The basics of a music contract
  • Music publishing
  • Getting a record label deal
  • Marketing tracks in the changing music landscape
  • K-Pop and other international trends in the music business
  • Partnership between brands and musicians
  • Music business in the new world (NFTs, AI, Metaverse, and more)
  • The impact of music genres on best business practices
  • Streaming and reality TV shows for music
  • Building a long term music career & reviving artists
  • Passman, Donald S. All You Need to Know About the Music Business (10th Edition). Riverside: Simon & Schuster, 2019.
  • Wixen, Randall D. The Plain & Simple Guide to Music Publishing. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard Corporation, 2014.
  • Selected readings from Mixmag Asia, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Business Insider, and other online resources.
  • Sample music industry contracts: record deals; license deals; sync rights deals; performance contracts.