module specification

MD4013 - Music The Business (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Music The Business
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
168 hours Guided independent study
60 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Reflective Essay - 500 words
Group Presentation 30%   Group Presentation
Coursework 50%   Case Study
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

In Music the Business you will explore through lecture seminars and guided case studies, the agencies at work in the music industry, examining interdependent structures and economies. By doing so you will gain deeper context into the role that music creators, producers and engineers play in the creation, distribution, and sale of music, fundamentally learning how the “business” of music operates.

The module will develop your key skills in critical thinking, research and understanding by examining concepts including copyright and licensing of music, Intellectual Property (IP), and music publishing.

By exploring digital distribution, synchronisation, performing rights and royalties you will have a better understanding of the potential income streams for your creative work.

This module aims to:
• Develop your knowledge and understanding of music agencies
• Introduce aspects of copyright law in relation to music
• Examine contracts and working practices for producers and engineers
• Expand your critical thinking for example in relation to opportunities for employment and enterprise
• Understand the importance of diversity and inclusion in relation to the music industries
• Develop your writing and researching skills through the preparation of case studies and essays
• Improve your presentation and communication skills

Therefore, by completing this module, you will have gained insight to the current developments of the UK music industry and its economies, with the aim to cultivate your scope for finding placements, revenue, and work within the industry. 

You will be assessed in a combination of personal reflections, case studies and presentations, each fostering academic skills and self-evaluation.


• Music Copyright and Intellectual Property (LO1, 3)
• Performing Rights Organisations and royalties (LO1, 3)
• Music Licensing and Synchronisation (LO1, 3)
• Music Publishing and Record Labels (LO1, 3)
• Diversity and Inclusion in the Music Industries (LO1, 3)
• Job roles and employment opportunities (LO1, 3)
• Portfolio careers (LO1, 3, 4)
• Economies of music (LO1, 3)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Students teaching and learning will consist of weekly classes comprising a combination of lectures, seminars, and workshops totalling 72 hours of contact time. Students will be given the opportunity to engage in seminar discussions surrounding the Music Business and example case studies, developing their understanding alongside their peers.

The learning and teaching in classes will be supported by the University’s VLE and a blended learning approach, sharing class materials, recommended reading, and case studies. Tutorials will also be offered to support students in the preparation of their assessments.

In addition, students will undertake independent study, including researching, assessment planning and preparation of their own case studies.

Students will engage in reflective practice examining their own pathway and potential careers following graduation. Through reflective exercises students will also explore the connections between the practical elements of their work and its contexts to the wider music industries.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

LO1. Demonstrate an understanding of the music industry and its interdependent agencies.
LO2. Write critically about the music industries making use of an analytical research led approach.
LO3. Analyse and evaluate the available opportunities for music producers and creators in the wider music business.
LO4. Demonstrate reflective practice and critical thinking.
LO5. Work and communicates effectively in groups to achieve common goals.

Assessment strategy

Reflective Essay – 20% weighting
The Reflective Essay allows students the opportunity to reflect upon their learning and the feedback received in the first half of the semester, giving context to the subjects they have learned in all modules and their relation to the music industries. The aim being to develop the skills of reflective practice and critical thinking. Word count 500-words

Group Presentation – 30% weighting
In groups, students are required to prepare a presentation on a particular aspect of the music industries, for example Music Publishing or Performing Rights Organisations. In doing so they should evaluate and explain the role of the sector and provide data and analysis of statistics and information relating to its economy and employment.

Case Study – 50% weighting
Individually, students are required to prepare a 2000-word case study exploring a particular area of the music business. In doing so they are required to decide on the case study subject, focussing on just one field, the challenges faced within it and the opportunities and solutions offered. The case study must build on research and demonstrate a critical and analytical approach.



Core Reading:
• Bargfrede, A. (2017) Music law in the digital age: copyright essentials for today’s music business. 2nd edition. Boston, MA: Berklee Press.
• Fitterman Radbill, C. (2017) Introduction to the music industry: an entrepreneurial approach. Second edition. New York, NY ; Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
• Harrison, A. (2021) Music: the business: the essential guide to the law and the deals.
• Passman, D.S., Organ, C. and Glass, R. (2021) All you need to know about the music business.
• Tschmuck, P. (2021) The economics of music. Second edition. Newcastle upon Tyne: Agenda Publishing (The economics of big business).
• Wikström, P. (2020) The music industry: music in the cloud. Third edition. Medford: Polity (Digital media and society series).