McNally Smith College of Music

Discover your life in music

Earn Your Degree in Music Business
2 and 4-year programs available

Music Business

With special emphasis on entrepreneurship, innovation, modern media economics and strategy, the Music Business program is designed to help you take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that exist in all aspects of music, media and entertainment. Whether you want to work behind the scenes or advance your career as an artist, you’ll learn to leverage your creativity and the latest digital tools to build your enterprise and expand your independent reach.

You’ll master core music business competencies like management, accounting and booking, and you’ll hone vital interpersonal and communication skills through marketing, promotions and media relations coursework. You’ll also explore a wide range of traditional and emerging revenue sources, become versed in legal essentials, and develop the skills in digital production and social media strategy that will give you the knowledge to thrive as an independent artist and entrepreneur.

By combining a solid business foundation with creative problem-solving skills, digital fluency and an understanding of the industry, you’ll be prepared to succeed in a variety of career paths.

Ready For The Real World

As a Music Business major at McNally Smith, you’ll receive a hands-on education that prepares you for the real world. Our campus is a microcosm of the music industry, a collaborative environment where you’ll team up with performers, producers, songwriters and composers to bring real projects to market while studying key issues taken from the day’s latest news and information. You’ll also have the opportunity to make your mark at key conferences and festivals like South by Southwest (SXSW) and Pitchfork, where you’ll have insider access to up-and-coming artists and cutting-edge trends. During your time in the program, you’ll build a portfolio of work that showcases your talent and highlights your abilities. And through our Career Center and job board, you can even arrange an internship in another major music city like New York, Los Angeles or Nashville.

You’ll get a head start on your career by building your professional network while you’re still in school. And with access to guest artists and the thriving Twin Cities music and arts scene, you’ll be connected to the industry before you graduate.

Teaching For Tomorrow

To succeed as a music business professional, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of music, media and commerce. That’s why our Music Business program focuses on developing your creativity while giving you the necessary technology skills to adapt and compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped with the entrepreneurial concepts and business savvy you’ll need to reach your goals and establish your career.

With a comprehensive education that blends creativity, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll be ready to make and sustain a life in music.

Your Career Path

Graduates of the Music Business program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:

  • Public Relations
  • Promotion and Marketing
  • Tour Manager
  • Sales and Distribution Representative
  • Artist Manager
  • Music Journalist
  • Booking/Talent Agent
  • Social Media Marketer

 Studios & Facilities

Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.

Student Life

There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Auditorium hosts student recitals, guest artist concerts and music industry seminars year round. MIDI Lab. Students learn to write and produce music using hardware and software, including Logic Pro. Pro Tools Lab. Students learn editing, mixing and production techniques using the latest software. One of the multipurpose classrooms used for rehearsing bands, teaching music theory and songwriting. The Sound Bite Café features an intimate performance setting for small ensembles, guest artists and workshops. The 48-input SSL Duality console in Studio 1, with a view into the main performance area. Studio 1. 48-input SSL Duality hybrid analog-digital console; Barefoot MicroMain 27 monitors. Studio 4 features a Digidesign ICON D-Command Work surface and 5.1 surround mixing system. Studio 5. Trident 80B analog console; Otari MTR-90 24-track analog recorder; Pro Tools HD2 system. Studio 10 main performance area. Studio 10 features three racks of outboard mic preamplifiers, compressors, equalizers, and limiters.
Many artists have launched their careers at First Avenue, Minnesota’s quintessential music venue. The Theater Ensemble performs rock musical RENT at the History Theatre located on campus. At The Sessions master class, industry pros like Dom Famularo help artists sharpen their business skills. EDM artist/producer Francis Preve demonstrates remix techniques using Ableton Live during a master class. The X-Tet Ensemble studies traditional cajón technique in Lima, Peru during their South American tour. Concertgoers get the full Flaming Lips experience at River’s Edge Music Festival, downtown St. Paul. The NOLA Ensemble performs authentic New Orleans-style jazz at an Open House event. The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble performs onstage in McNally Smith’s Auditorium. Music Business students plan, promote and execute a SXSW day party in Austin, TX. Students pause for a photo-op while guiding campus tours at Open House. Taking a break during the McNally Smith kickball tournament at nearby Harriet Island, St. Paul.

FacultyView All Faculty >>

Scott LeGere

Over the past 15 years, Scott LeGere has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, independent record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he has engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed independent projects, lectured economics classes of 75 students, and foolishly hauled both Yamaha CP-70s and Hammond B3s (concurrently) to gigs.

Inspired to return to composing and playing music in addition to record production, he co-founded NoWare Media in 2010 and since then has helped produce Clio, Emmy, and Cannes Lion award winning commercial spots for Target, General Mills, PepsiCo, Bauer Hockey, BluDot, and others; proving that you can make money in music even if your job requirements might include finding lyrics to rhyme with the word “broccoli.” In addition to his industry endeavors, Scott has taught economics and media strategy at several Minnesota colleges for over a decade.

Craig Rice

Craig Rice is an award-winning producer and director, and is nationally recognized for his distinguished career in the television and film industry. His work has been nominated for four Emmy Awards, an NAACP Award, and several other honors.

Rice recently served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. He recently produced a 90-minute PBS variety show “A The Prairie Home Companion 30th,” and is co-producing and directing a documentary on the life and works of designer/artist Michael Graves.

Rice recently served as director and executive producer for the feature length documentary “Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks” for HBO, which was nominated for three Emmy awards, a NAACP Image Award, and was selected to the Museum of Television and Radio in the year 2000. The documentary won the Tree of Life Award from The Friends of the Motion Picture Academy and has been selected for dozens of festivals.


We offer 2- and 4-year degrees in Music Business, giving you options for a degree that fits with your plans and budget.

$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)

  • Bachelor’s degree: 120 credits
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits

$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>

Financial Aid

On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.

Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.

Gainful Employment Statistics


McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>

New Media Strategy

Students explore strategies for marketing and communication using new and emerging technologies and platforms in digital media. Emphasis is placed on creating an online web presence, identifying and targeting niche markets, social media best practices, trans-media strategy, direct to fan strategies, third party online retail and distribution options, and data analytics. Special emphasis is placed on communication skills.

Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development

Students focus on entrepreneurial dynamics, strategic management and small business development in the music, media and entertainment industries. Critical and lateral thinking are reinforced by case study, group work and business plan development.

Promotion and Publicity

Students learn how to use media outlets to convey messages about new products. Product awareness, use of media, new media avenues and radio promotion are all explored. Students gain an understanding of radio station playlists, add dates and the promotional efforts undertaken by record labels to create a “hit” song. Students will create a publicity and/or promotional campaign for a selected project.