UCLA Music School Announces B.A. Music Industry Degree Program

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music launched a new Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) music industry degree this fall, it was announced Tuesday (Oct. 3).

Dubbed as the lone program of its kind in the University of California system, the new degree will prepare graduates for careers in artist and label management, publicity, finance, live-music promotion, digital marketing, music supervision, music publishing and licensing and more. The degree will also offer creative instruction in audio technology, musicianship, songwriting and production. Courses will be taught by new and longtime UCLA faculty as well as working industry professionals.


The B.A. program “builds on the success of the School of Music’s popular undergraduate minor,” according to a press release, which states that more than a quarter of the U.S.’s music industry job postings are in California while seven of the top 10 U.S. cities employing music professionals are located within 50 miles of the school’s Westwood campus. In addition to the fundamentals, the school will focus on such burgeoning topics as new global markets, streaming algorithms, generative artificial intelligence and musical activism.

“Our goal and responsibility is to empower a diverse community of exceptional students as nextgeneration transformational thinkers in the music industry,” said Eileen Strempel, inaugural dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music, in a statement. “The success of our previous programs built our credibility and infrastructure, while providing us the time to assemble a powerful 12-member advisory
board chaired by Warner Records visionary Tom Corson to guide us in building this new major’s curriculum.”

“What sets UCLA’s offering apart from other music industry degree programs is the integration of direct skills engagement such as internships, apprenticeships, and student-led projects with the liberal arts curriculum of a major research institution,” added Robert Fink, founding chair of the school’s music industry degree program. He continued that students will be “challenged to take a critical view of the formative effects music industry and technology has had on musical practices around the world.”

Warner Records co-chairman/COO Tom Corson will serve as the inaugural chair of the dean’s board of advisors at the school.

“UCLA’s School of Music is closely affiliated with our industry and knows it well,” said Corson in a statement. “Every business needs people who have the passion and the training that this program will provide. We need future professionals who’ve seriously considered many aspects of the music industry — cultural impact, creative innovation, and operational reality — and bring a fresh, informed point of view to the business.”

Permanent faculty members at The Herb Alpert School of Music will include Thomas Hodgson, who specializes in data science, algorithmic justice and the global music business; Catherine Provenzano, who focuses on new technologies; and David MacFayden, a Soviet popular music authority who will bring his expertise to bear in instructing students on how to understand new models of music distribution and economic value. Students will also receive instruction from working professionals such as songwriter Amy Kuney (Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, Akon), who also performs as gender-complex artist AMES; and Lauren Spalding, co-founder of Femme House, a nonprofit collective dedicated to forging new opportunities for women, gender-expansive, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creatives.

Since its founding in 2018, The Herb Alpert School of Music has regularly appeared on Billboard‘s Top Music Business Schools list.

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