Program Highlights

The Bachelor of Music in Music Business is designed to prepare students for career opportunities in the music industry.  Music Business combines a structured core of music and business classes with integrated coursework that blends the two fields.  Student-run ventures and internships provide real-world Performance Learning opportunities, while intersections with Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship facilitate an exploration of self-employment and the arts.


Business and Entrepreneurship

Music Business and Entrepreneurship experiences are headlined by student-run ventures at Millikin.  These include live event audio recording (MARS) and live sound engineering (Big Blue Sound). Millikin Arts Cafe offers an on-campus opportunity to fuse artistry and entrepreneurship as students learn to operate, market, promote, and technically support a live performance venue.  Music industry icon, Martin Atkins, leads Millikin's Music Business program and it's student-run label, First Step Records

Plan of Study

Departmental Course Offerings

Courses change each semester, so this list should not be considered a commitment to these individual topics. However, this does represent a list of many of our current and popular courses. The list is provided so that you can begin to imagine your academic career at Millikin in this major.

Record Label History and Operations

There have been over 5000 record labels; some triumph and create a mythology while some crash and burn. This course seeks to identify the causes of failure and the practices of success in the record business through examination of major and independent record labels.  Topics to include day-to-day label operations, licensing, decision making and prioritization, methods of distribution, and the many and varied positions at a record label and how they have evolved to the current day. 

Music Business Marketing

Why music business marketing? If there’s one thing the music business has consistently delivered it’s interesting ideas, cutting edge tactics, and strategies that filter across and inspire traditional business and marketing. From Radiohead’s innovative pricing structure of pay what you feel to Nipsey Hussle’s $100 mixtape to the inspired immortality sweepstakes, the Grateful Dead and even Nine Inch Nails. It’s a requirement for a band to differentiate itself. Music business is a place where marketing, branding, and innovative concepts are continually being reexamined and new ideas every day create more new ideas at a pace faster than a traditional business. We’ll look at all of these ideas to the nuts and bolts, social media concepts, as well as, new topics and techniques including the budding gift economy, the power of stories and the importance of creating them. As Linda Septian (artist developer) describes, it’s a time of the “contextual branding of thought.”


Event Management

An examination of event planning encompassing the assembling of artists and bills (lineups), timing and calendar blocking, advanced ticketing strategies, and day-of operations and payouts.  Students will engage in exercises that support the creation of intriguing and engaging events.  The course will also examine museums, festivals, and other models.


Touring 101

Students will understand the concepts of event management and touring, as well as, the logistics of geography, demographics and basic routing. They will analyze and evaluate the results of previous touring examples to suggest and apply expertise to basic and advanced touring problems. In applying industry solutions to differing touring conceptual problems they will gain the knowledge base to create touring templates of their own.

Internship Theory and Strategy

The course is in two phases. Phase one is learning about internship strategies, etiquette, and best practices via assigned readings and subsequent exam. Phase two involves planning a series of three internships sourced from the student or from the existing MIS database. Students will interact with internship supervisors in the field as they work to secure/schedule these internships.

First Step Records Internship

Intended to simulate a real-world external internship where intern “floats” around a certain number of tasks, filling in where necessary and synthesizing an awareness of the environment and expectations. Seemingly menial tasks conducted in a think tank environment can lead to further growth in a low-stress way in a high stakes world. 


An opportunity for students to receive academic credit outside the classroom for work related to their field of study. Students must complete three separate one-credit internships in consultation with MIS faculty. A minimum of 40 contact hours is required for each internship to receive one credit. Summer tuition may be applied if internship is completed during the summer term.

First Step Records

Through participation in this student-run venture, students experience Performance Learning opportunities in production, manufacturing, accounting, legal affairs, publishing, marketing/ promotion/sales, graphic arts, artists and repertoire, customer service, supply chain and budget management, and e-commerce relative to managing and operating a record label and publishing entity. Students also explore entrepreneurial opportunities in music business. Prerequisite: MC 2xx First Step Records Internship (1cr). One semester of being an FSR intern also counts as the first of student’s three internships.

Revenue Streams

This course explores, identifies, and contextualizes potential revenue streams within the music business.