Candidates need to have a 2:1 Bachelor’s degree or higher in a relevant subject area and normally evidence of work in, or a familiarity with, the music industries. We welcome non-traditional applications, particularly from applicants with substantial professional or production experience. Prior experiential learning is an acceptable route to the course.
Our close links with business and the professions mean that our courses are always relevant, up-to-date and meet the exact needs of the current marketplace. Wherever possible, we involve employers in planning the curriculum, while many of our lecturers come from and maintain their links with industry, ensuring they are up to speed with the latest developments. Employability will be an integral outcome of your studies.
Employment Opportunities: This course is suitable for those wishing to extend their skills in the music industries, either in a major company or the independent sector, or alternatively within a community environment. The emphasis on using new media and developing new music industry strategies means that graduates will be well-placed to take up key posts in innovation, or establish their own music businesses. Alternatively you will have established your self as an effective music industries researcher, and you will be able to move on to a PhD or work in teaching music industry courses in colleges and universities.
Further Studies: For anyone interested in taking their research interests forward into an MPhil or PhD speak to the course director about your particular area of expertise.
You will start your studies in this master’s degree in Music Industries with some solid foundations in the theoretical work on the cultural importance of music in people’s lives, the way the music business has been organised, and the key skills of an entrepreneur.
There will certainly be lots of key material to read; after all this is a rich area for academic and industry scholarship and research. At the same time, you will work through case studies drawn from work conducted by members of our Interactive Cultures research team, as well as other key industry challenges. Most importantly, we want you to start to develop your own music business ideas and put them into practice. There is a vibrant music industry and heritage in Birmingham, which is roughly one hour away by train from London; one of the major bases of the international music business. We keep in close contact with our music industry graduates, and there will be opportunities to work with them and other companies from across the world on real projects. Later in the course you will establish your own music enterprises, or develop your skills as a popular music academic. We encourage you to experiment, to try out innovative ideas, and to produce truly original work. Although we often draw upon insights from the past, we are always looking to the future, and we want you to develop projects or dissertations which really make a difference. As part of the process in developing you academic skills, students are encouraged to participate in our popular MA Music Industries blog where the group share their ongoing research and invite discussion and debate of the key areas of study.
If applying for the 'normal', on-campus MA Music Industries, you will meet with your tutors in small classes and in individual tutorials, and work in small groups with other students on hands-on, practical tasks. We invite a wide range of relevant speakers from industry, and we want you to get involved in the interesting research undertaken by members of the Interactive Cultures team, who are part of the school’s Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research.
Studying by Distance Learning
If you apply for the distance-learning course, lectures will be replaced with audio slide shows, recordings of a lecture, or live-streamed lectures which cover the same material. These will often be identical to those delivered to students with attendance. Access to your tutors for tutorials will be via audio-visual communication technologies such as Skype and will be further supported by email.
Popular Music as Culture (30 credits): This theory module explores the debates within the music and media industries that inform our understanding of music as a cultural practice. We play particular attention to conflicts between the idea of music as culture and music as commerce. You will produce some original research on popular music culture and its social role.
Enterprise (30 credits): This production module explores entrepreneurial techniques, processes and practices. You will be putting ideas into practice, develop a strong sense of your professional development needs, be involved in creating networks (in and outside the university) and refine an action orientated approach. By focusing on a spirit of entrepreneurship we will encourage you to take ownership of your own personal professional development. You will identify industry challenges appropriate to your award, and turn them into opportunities for you to enhance your independence, confidence, networking capacity and strategic thinking. This will encourage you to become a self-reflexive creative worker.
Popular Music as Commerce (30 credits): This theory into practice module explores the changing nature of the music industries and the implications of those changes for the commercial activities that are built around musical expression, performance, composition, distribution and promotion. You will investigate practical ideas for music enterprises based upon an understanding of how music creates economic value and the commercial opportunities in developing technology.
Production Lab or Research Methods (30 credits): These modules prepare you for MA by Practice or MA by Dissertation, depending upon the focus of your studies. Both draw upon other taught modules which either mapped out the current state of academic knowledge in the field, or established professional conventions and explored current industry challenges. You will be provided with the opportunity to apply, experiment and innovate in a range of production skills and intellectual ideas appropriate to your award, supported by a systematic exploration of methods for research or production development.
MA by Practice or MA by Dissertation (60 credits): Depending upon the focus of your studies you will complete your award with either an original contribution to scholarship in the MA by Dissertation or originate, execute and deliver an individual and extended practice-based professional project at the forefront of your field. You will develop and consolidate your mastery of key skills, knowledge of and engagement with current opportunities in the field of production or academic enquiry. These modules encourage and test skills of initiative and independent practice and are conducted largely outside of the classroom with support from a tutor.
You will analyse current debates about music culture, examine successful music businesses, develop an enterprise idea of your own and produce a major radio project or dissertation.
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