Billboard magazine names Baldwin Wallace a top music business school

University RelationsAcademics, Arts Management & Entrepreneurship, Music Industry

The Billboard distinction puts BW among an elite group of honorees. Both private and public as well as international institutions are featured on the list of Billboard 2023 Top Music Business Schools. And while many of the schools are based in major metropolitan locations like London, New York City, Los Angeles, Nashville and Miami, Billboard's recognition of BW and Northeast Ohio gives credit to the thriving music scene and revered partnerships that put BW students alongside leading professionals in music streaming, artist management, concert venue management, music production and promotion.

Music industry major with Rock Hall, Grammy affiliations

“When we designed this major four years ago, we saw it as a companion program to BW’s already successful arts management & entrepreneurship major that has has 30 years of exponential growth and alumni success,” said Dr. Sean Murphy, music industry area coordinator and assistant professor of arts management and entrepreneurship at BW. “We set out to create an innovative music industry degree program that was real world-focused and would give students the knowledge, skills and professional connections to launch a career in management, marketing, touring, operations or artist representation.”

“Today, we continually set the bar a little higher for ourselves as we challenge ourselves to stay plugged into emerging trends and to utilize the extraordinary resources we have both at BW and across Northeast Ohio. We have program partnerships with Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Tragic Hero Records and indie music venues like Beachland Ballroom & Tavern. BW also is an educational affiliate of the national Grammy Museum,” Murphy went on to say.

“Within the university, students in music industry major benefit from an interdisciplinary focus uniting our distinguished Conservatory of Music and Carmel Boyer School of Business. Our professors are practitioners with decades of experience who are dedicated to mentoring the next generation of industry leaders,” he noted.

Keeping 'young, hip and bright students engaged'

Among new professors is Patrice Cokley, a music business and marketing professional who specializes in brand development and strategy. She is the owner and founder of The Bassline Group, a brand development and management company that represents music creatives, entertainers and digital talent. Among clients, Cokley is widely known for her work with Mathew Knowles (Beyoncé & Solange's dad/former manager).

"As a new resident of Ohio, one thing I noticed immediately was that BW saw a unique opportunity in the area and was savvy enough to offer something that didn't exist," remarked the Detroit native. "Cleveland is a creative hub with a rich music history. It makes perfect sense that BW should align itself with this vibrant arts scene.

"I love teaching and enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences at BW, a school that is innovative and constantly evolving. Most of my work stems from being up-to-date with pop culture and industry trends. Music business changes rapidly — what was trendy and effective just two years ago is irrelevant now. By keeping up with these changes, I'm able to easily bring relevant lessons and case studies to class for us to dive into. This not only brings a fresh perspective, but it also keeps these young, hip and bright students engaged," she added.

Connecting to top venues

Real-world, hands-on learning is integral to the program's success. Three required internships and a senior capstone project immerse students in various segments of music and entertainment. Within the classroom, professors bring in guest speakers and connect students to exceptional learning opportunities.

Last month, some students from Murphy's music industry course were able to go backstage during the set-up of the Greta Van Fleet concert at Rocket Mortgage Field House and speak to some of the people responsible for making the show happen. Among the participants was Ashtynne Langer '26, a music industry major from Erie, Pennsylvania.

"This experience fit into my career plans because it solidified my aspiration to become a tour manager one day. Watching such a large group of people work together to put on a show was truly inspiring. The information I learned through this opportunity is invaluable," believes Langer.

Markko Markko '24, a music industry major, also benefited from BW's expansive professional network. A connection with a BW arts management & entrepreneurship alumna enabled the Avon, Ohio, resident to work for Live Nation Entertainment at Blossom Music Center over the summer. He earned academic credit in addition to gaining hands-on experience.

"To work in an environment that surrounded me with opportunities in my field has helped me to see the many options that are open to me," he noted. "I changed my major two years into my education, so I haven't had a lot of time to think about what I want to do with my career. Now I know I really want to find a career in live music and entertainment."

Accredited music industry major

Baldwin Wallace's music industry major is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. In addition to a four-year sequence leading to a bachelor's degree, there is a "two plus two" program. Transfer students from Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) can participate in a degree partnership with Baldwin Wallace, which streamlines bachelor's degree completion for Tri-C recording arts and technology graduates who transfer to BW.

This post originally appeared on BW News & Events on October 11, 2023 .
Written by Joyce DeGirolamo, Public Information Coordinator.

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