Music is an art and a business, and University of Georgia graduates are in on both sides.
UGA's music business program was created within the Terry College of Business in 2006. Since then, many students have earned the program certificate and gone on to enter jobs in every part of the music industry.
Students take music classes like history of rock 'n' roll, African American music and music theory. But they also learn business basics through classes like risk management and insurance, survey of accounting and introduction to information systems. After earning 21 class credit hours and gaining field experience, program participants are ready to enter the music business.
Hope Selevan graduated in May 2011 with a degree in business management, a Spanish minor and the music business certificate. She is now the marketing manager at New West Records in Los Angeles.
Selevan said UGA’s music business program provides a small-scale look at the music industry.
“The industry’s the same everywhere you go,” she said. “It’s just how big or how small it is. In Athens, there’s a pretty close-knit group of people. You got to see the whole industry from like, a niche group kind of thing.”
The program prepares students well for the real world, Selevan said.
“They set you up with so much hands-on experience,” she said. “Coming to work at a record label now, I remember sitting in the first meeting, and they were talking about a P&D deal, and you know, one of the guys in the office asked what it was. And I was like, ‘Oh, well, that was actually a test question.’”
John King, another May 2011 graduate, lauded the program’s emphasis on the business side of music.
“It’s like in any profession,” the frontman for the Nashville-based John King Band said. “The more you know about your business, you know, the better off you are. The creative side is extremely important, but at the end of the day, I mean, you’re running a business. So you’ve got to learn to look at it that way at some point. And I think the earlier you do, the better.”
King graduated from UGA with a marketing degree. During his time in the music business program, he interned with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Athens.
“That was a really rewarding experience,” he said. “We had some kids who would stay after school who were interested in learning instruments, and so we kind of started a little band with the kids who’d stay after. It was kind of cool to be able to do that and be giving back. And you know, the kids were great.”
Every student in the music business program is placed into at least one internship. Sometimes, those internships get graduates jobs.
Gillian Williams graduated in December 2012 with a degree in mass media arts. A job awaited her at Red Clay Clearances, a Decatur-based music clearance and licensing firm where she had interned as a music business student.
Williams praised the music business program for the camaraderie it creates.
“Our alumni are great,” she said. “Ever since graduating, I’ve reached out to a bunch of people, and they’ve been so receptive and so happy about me reaching out. We’re always going to help each other because that’s what this industry is. It’s about community and helping one another to get to the next level. Because whoever you help get to the next level will eventually help get you to the next level.”