Hey everyone! My name is Bianca Ortega, and I’m your new community partner for Nashville, TN! I’m originally from Orlando, FL, but I currently live in Nashville, where I’m a junior music business and marketing major at Belmont University! I can’t wait to share all of my experiences and advice I’ve gained in the music industry, but I’d first like to tell you a little bit about my approach to entering the music business in terms of education.
When it came time to choose colleges, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to get some kind of business degree, but I didn’t want to get a generic business degree. I wanted something with a unique twist. I’d been going to shows for several years, and I started to think it might be fun to work in the music industry. During the summer before my junior year, I researched music business schools on the Internet for hours each day. I found schools with music business degrees, but I was discouraged when I kept finding that many of the degree programs were not bachelor’s of business administration degrees but rather music degrees that would require me to play an instrument. One day, I randomly came across Belmont University on Google, and instantly I was intrigued.
Belmont has been a great fit for me for several reasons. First being the fact that Belmont’s music business degree is in fact a business degree. Belmont offers two tracks for their music business degree - business emphasis and production emphasis. The business emphasis, which is the track I’m on, requires several additional business classes, such as music industry contract law, and the production emphasis requires students to take basic audio engineering classes. Both tracks leave time for elective courses like artist management, A&R administration, concert promotion and booking, and music marketing. This degree has worked really well for me, because I am taking all the core business classes, which reassures me that I will be able to find work outside the entertainment industry if needed. Because I transferred in some dual-enrollment hours from high school, I’ve been able to add a dual major in marketing and still be able to graduate a year early. Adding a second major helps give me an edge over the numerous other music business students at Belmont, and in the music industry, it most certainly is beneficial to understand basic marketing and advertising principles. In addition to the music business degree, Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment Business offers degrees in songwriting, audio engineering, and entertainment industry studies, which encompasses the entertainment industry as a whole rather than just the music business.
There are some other unique features to Belmont’s music business program that make it a wonderful choice for a music business degree. All students are required to attend a music business seminar for four semesters. This seminar consists of several student-run music showcases and seminars with industry professionals. Belmont brings in a great variety of professionals for industry panels and discussion, and it’s a great way to hear from industry professionals firsthand. One of my favorite seminars was with Sarah Baer, who works with Warped Tour and Country Throwdown. For me, the opportunity to hear her talk about Warped Tour and ask her questions about it was an invaluable experience.
In addition to the seminar program, Belmont strongly encourages students to intern, and with a location such as Nashville, there are numerous major companies to intern with such as Warner Music Group, Sony BMG, and Universal Music Group. I’ll actually be interning with one of Warner’s labels this Spring. For students like me who want to work outside of the country scene, Belmont offers an awesome program called Belmont East/West. Belmont East is a semester long program where students live in NYC and intern at a company of their choice, and Belmont West is the same program in LA. I’m hoping to spend this Fall in NYC, and I’m so excited for this opportunity because many of the record labels and management companies I’m interested in are based out of NYC.
There are so many ways to get involved in the industry within the city of Nashville. There are countless venues with numerous shows each night, and at Belmont alone, there are hundreds of talented young artists. It’s easy to get experience through booking shows at small venues and even managing one of your classmates who’s an aspiring musician. There are endless opportunities in Nashville to meet and interact with artists, network with professionals, and find your path in the industry.
All in all, Belmont has worked well for my business-oriented interests in the music industry, and while it is one of the more expensive schools to attend, I knew that this was the school I needed to attend if I really wanted to enter the music business. There was never a moment where I considered not getting a college degree, so for those who may not be able to afford a school like Belmont or be able to move away for school, don’t let that discourage you. Pursue a general business degree or look into online programs like Full Sail University, which is a great fast-track entertainment school that is actually based in my hometown of Orlando.