About this Course
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Approx. 18 hours to complete


Subtitles: English

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 18 hours to complete


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

3 hours to complete

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 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.

9 videos (Total 147 min), 1 quiz
9 videos
Home Recording3m
Interview: Dave Coleman43m
Professional Studio Recording2m
Interview: John McBride55m
A Walk Through Blackbird Studio12m
Studio Jobs & Roles3m
Home vs Studio4m
Evolution of a Song Recording19m
1 practice exercise
Module 1, Part 1 Quiz16m
2 hours to complete

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 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?

9 videos (Total 60 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
9 videos
Interview: Mark Wait9m
A History of Audio Formats6m
Hands On with Audio Formats21m
A Performance & Cylinder Recording: Greg Reish4m
Major Record Labels3m
Independent Record Labels3m
Current State of the Recording Industry4m
Conclusion: What's a Recording Worth?3m
1 reading
Module 1 Recommended Reading10m
1 practice exercise
Module 1, Part 2 Quiz18m
2 hours to complete

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 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?

13 videos (Total 114 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
13 videos
Basic Principles of Copyright1m
Interview: Alison Smith34m
International Royalties1m
Publishing Royalties1m
Sound Recording Rights2m
Music Composition Rights1m
Public Domain1m
Elvis, The Songwriter2m
Interview: Doug Howard53m
Changes on the Horizon: New US Copyright Recommendations2m
Conclusion: What's a Song Worth?4m
1 reading
Module 2: Recommended Reading10m
1 practice exercise
Module 2 Quiz10m
2 hours to complete


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.

8 videos (Total 98 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
8 videos
PR & Publicists2m
Social Media3m
Terrestrial Radio7m
Interview: Tony Richards47m
Streaming & Internet Radio7m
Interview: Ken Paulson25m
Conclusion: Cutting Through the Noise2m
1 reading
Module 3: Recommended Reading10m
1 practice exercise
Module 3 Quiz16m
2 hours to complete

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., 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?

18 videos (Total 100 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
18 videos
Booking Agents3m
Side Musicians1m
Starting Life On the Road2m
Tour Managers1m
Sound Engineers3m
Anthony's Tour of FOH1m
Anthony's Tour of Monitor World1m
Instrument Technicians1m
Stage Production3m
Interview: Anthony Aquilato41m
Concert Promotion & Talent Buyers3m
Interview: Todd Ohlhauser18m
Entrepreneurial Thinking in Live Performance1m
Conclusion: What's a Concert Ticket Worth?7m
1 reading
Module 4: Recommended Reading10m
1 practice exercise
Module 4 Quiz16m
3 hours to complete

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 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.

11 videos (Total 140 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
11 videos
The Entrepreneurial Musician3m
Fan-Funded Recording2m
Criticism of the DIY Approach1m
New Business Models1m
Interview: David Macias43m
360 Deals5m
Sync Licensing2m
Music & Big Data5m
Interview: David Pomeroy1h 8m
Ethics & Controversies3m
1 reading
Module 5: Recommended Reading10m
1 practice exercise
Module 5 Quiz14m
2 hours to complete

Wrapping Up

Wrapping up discussions, quizzes, and final breaking news analysis

1 quiz
27 ReviewsChevron Right

Top reviews from Understanding the Music Business: What is Music Worth?

By GRMar 6th 2016

Really interesting course even for someone who's kids begged me not to sing a lullaby to them.

By GPApr 3rd 2019

It feels like a formal training.I thank the team for a lot of valuable informations



Jen Gunderman

Assistant Professor of Musicology
Blair School of Music

About 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....

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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