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.
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.
Dawn Bentley combines a diverse musical background, professional practice as a self-employed business consultant, and historical experience working with nonprofits and grass-roots organizations to bring energy to her position within the Music Business Department of McNally Smith. For over 25 years, she has played violin in various ensembles from punk bands to professional orchestras with a dozen assorted recordings in her repertoire. A Master's degree in Nonprofit Management has solidified her working knowledge of the sector after having served as the Secretary and Board Chair for the Diverse Emerging Music Organization (DEMO), as well as Entertainment Coordinator for multiple gala events for Twin Cities nonprofits. Dawn also holds a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration in International Marketing. During the mid-1990's, Dawn scheduled music for a downtown Minneapolis club to boost fading business, attract new, more diverse crowds, and grow weekend audience. As a former co-owner of Snowplow Records, Inc., she was once the primary source of booking five bands signed to the label. Dawn's latest musical ventures include being a full time band member with local indie rockers Atomic Flea and a performer with the seasonal free-form jazz ensemble Semiconductor Orchestra. Along with performance, Ms. Bentley currently books, promotes, and is part of the creative force behind Midwest emerging Kindie rockers The Bazillions and Duke Otherwise. Dawn continues to stay involved in the local music scene while running her own consultancy and teaching at McNally Smith as well as Minnesota State University, Mankato.
- Bachelor of Arts - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
- Master of Nonprofit Management - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
- Master of Business Administration - Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
Bruce Cook has released three self-produced albums, one of medieval renaissance music that was used as a soundtrack for the video game Kronin’s Kronicles. Internet promotion and distribution of original pop and rock has generated tens of thousands of downloads and listens. Bruce has performed in legendary Los Angeles nightspots showcasing original music as a singer/songwriter. He has also worked as an English teacher, and a freelance web designer/consultant specializing in multimedia streaming.
Charles Gehr is an educator for the Minnesota School of Business, a touring musician and studio performer.
Gehr has worked with Ouija Radio, Mark Mallman, Hundred Flowers, The Short Fuses, Mid Carson July, Steve Clarke, JMN Band, Fe Fi FoFum Sextet, Alicia Wiley, Augsburg Concert Band, Bethel Orchestra, Leonard Mattsen Quartet, Money S, Bound, The Evil Eyes, Rebeka Fisher Band, The Resonators, and Subseason.
As a booking agent, he worked directly with artists, management, and talent buyers to coordinate tours and events for internationally recognized artists.
Blake Iverson negotiated his first deal in the fifth grade, when he traded his Garbage Pail Kids collection for some Jerry Rice rookie cards and a cassette copy of Mötley Crüe’s Shout At The Devil. History has judged him the winner.
Blake attended the University of Minnesota where he majored in History and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. He then attended the University of Minnesota Law School where he was a member of the Arts and Entertainment Law Association. In 2008, Blake co-founded the law firm Friedman Iverson, PLLC, where he practices arts, entertainment and business law. He is the 2012-2013 Chair of the Arts and Entertainment Section of the Minnesota Bar Association.
Blake teaches Contracts at McNally Smith. In his spare time, Blake serves on the boards of several non-profits as well as the Minneapolis Arts Commission. His passions include mid-century furniture, pub trivia, and travel.
Lindsay Kimball is an on-air host and assistant program director for 89.3 The Current. She works within the music department to pick music for the station, produces The Current in-studios and remote broadcasts, including shows from Bonnaroo, SXSW and Rock the Garden; and launches initiatives such as Local Current webstream, the live event series The Current Road Trip, and most recently, she’s worked with August Schell Brewing Company to launch a new Current beer called Schell’s The Current.
Before joining The Current, Lindsey was host and music director for KWLC, Luther College, IA. She graduated from Luther College with a B.A. in communications and psychology. She’s been teaching courses about radio at McNally Smith College of Music since 2011.
Department Head, Music Business
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.
Thirty Two years; General Manager and Talent Buyer at a single concert venue (First Avenue Nightclub). Memberships: Presently – Vice President of the Cedar Cultural Center Board of Directors; Consultant/Primary Volunteer for DEMO (Diverse Emerging Music Organization); Membership Committee for the Metro IBA (Independent Business Alliance); and some other organizations, like KFAI Radio, MPIRG Board of Directors (Minnesota Public Interest Research Group; MMA Board of Directors (Minnesota Music Academy); Downtown Warehouse Association Board of Directors, and several other organizations that go back to University of Minnesota days non-arts related (political and social services). After working multiple jobs while at the University of Minnesota I got stuck in a facility called First Avenue for thirty-two years. I worked all aspects of the “venue” music business: operations, primary talent buyer, marketing director, general manager, and “ambassador” to government bodies and social institutions. Having been recently paroled from that facility, I am finding a brand new world in which to relate my work experience to the students at McNally Smith. It’s actually quite liberating for a “music business” veteran.
Assistant Division Chair, Music Business
David Olson has been involved with the Business Department of McNally Smith College since 1996. Prior to joining the staff, he performed as a guitarist/vocalist for a number of commercially successful groups before turning his attention to the recording studio. Dave has worked as a studio guitarist, vocalist, writer and arranger for the stage, radio and television productions, and corporate videos. He has written for, performed and appeared in national and regional radio and television jingles. In addition to teaching at McNally Smith, he still owns and operates his own project studio and particularly enjoys working with singers and songwriters on their demo productions.
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.
Other accomplishments include serving as the Director of Paisley Park Enterprises, Inc., producing several full-length films for Prince including Graffiti Bridge. Craig also managed and worked with a number of international recording artists including Bobby Brown, Taj Mahal, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston and Alexander O’Neal. Rice has also directed dozens of music videos with artists including Prince, Patti LaBelle and Sounds of Blackness.
During his career as a documentary producer and director, he has been involved in documentaries such as Funkytown, Ingrid Chavez: Artist, Bobby: Bobby Brown, Art Pepper: Notes From a Jazz Survivor, Prince, the ABC television special We Teach Our Children and Our Sacred Land with Chris Spotted Eagle for PBS. As a commercial producer and award-winning director, Rice has helmed commercials for clients such as Amoco, Nike, Target, Kraft, the United Way, McDonald’s and the Partnership for Drug Free America.
Rice’s film career began as an assistant director on feature films including Purple Rain and Brother From Another Planet, as a production assistant for ABC Wide World of Sports in New York. Rice holds a Production Degree from the University of Southern California Cinema Department. While a student there, Rice received an Emmy nomination for We Teach Our Children. Rice also attended the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the University of Minnesota with a Film/Photography and Theatre Major.
Susan H. Stephan is an experienced attorney who focuses on legal challenges involving intellectual property, e-commerce and the Internet, business contracts, insurance issues and general corporate legal consulting. She has represented and advised musicians and other artists since 1992. In addition to her law practice, Susan has taught as adjunct law school faculty since 2001. She also is a past Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association's Art & Entertainment Law Section and has been active in the MSBA's Antitrust and Computer & Technology sections, as well as the Cyberspace Law Committee of the American Bar Association. Susan is a 1992 graduate of Hamline University School of Law. She received her M.A. from New York University and her B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.
Ashly Suhreptz was first introduced to the music business by watching her family operate a music venue, Antenna, in Memphis, TN. As a teen, Ashly provided booking, promotion, and accommodation functions for bands in the local D.I.Y. punk rock, hardcore, and electronic scenes of Florida and Tennessee. More recently she has been a consultant for small music business entrepreneurs. Ashly has augmented her experience in music business by obtaining Bachelors in Music Business from the University of Memphis and a Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law.
Steve Wagner has instructed numerous courses in the area of taxation, including courses for the Minnesota Institute of Legal Education, the Minnesota Society of CPA’s, The AICPA, The Minnesota Tax Institute, Seminar Professionals, Inc., Minnesota Bankers Association, Construction Management Association and the Association of General Contractors.Steve was named Super CPA by Minnesota Law & Politics and Twin Cities Business Monthly.
In addition to his 20 year career in accounting and finance, Steve studied Trumpet, Jazz Performance and Music Education at North Texas State University, and has performed internationally with such artists as Burt Bacherach, Doc Severinson, and Johnny Mathis to name a few.
Formal Education: B.S. Business, University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management
Aaron C. Young is a 1997 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities with a Bachelors of Arts in History, a 2001 Juris Doctor graduate of Marquette University Law School, and a 2003 Master of Laws graduate of Southwestern Law School, specializing in Entertainment & Media Law.
While attending law school, Mr. Young was a member of the Marquette Sports Law Review. Mr. Young is also the first Attorney to hold both a Certificate of Sports Law from the National Sports Law Institute and a Master of Laws in Entertainment & Media Law.
Since graduating from law school, Mr. Young has practiced almost exclusively in the fields of Advertising Law, Business Law, Computer Law, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property Law, Media Law and Sports Law. He has counseled, represented, and/or negotiated, on the behalf of clients, with companies such as Activision, Converse, Steve & Barry’s, Finish Line, Zazzle.com, ROSFORTH Productions, Danish Broadcast Corporation, Sub-Pop Records, New Folk Records, Grateful Dead Enterprises, Wireless Ronin Technologies and many others.
As an Entertainment Attorney, Mr. Young’s clients include Professional Athletes, Independent Film Makers, Authors, Graffiti Artists, Recording Artists, Producers, and Musicians. Mr. Young is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at William Mitchell College of Law, teaching Client Representation.
Mr. Young is a member of the State Bar of Minnesota and the State Bar of Wisconsin, a member of American Bar Association’s Entertainment & Sports Law Section, a member of the Sports Law Alumni Association of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University Law School, and a former Pro Bono Mediator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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.
$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
- Diploma: 45 credits
$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info »
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.
McNally Smith College of Music is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). More info »