Department of Commercial Music


To prepare students personally and professionally for careers in the music industry, the Department of Commercial Music focuses on development and integration of skills in the areas of music business, composition and arranging, live and studio performance, and audio recording and production. The combination of internship opportunities, an ever-growing network of working APU alumni, and faculty who are experienced professionals offers students access to strategic links within the Los Angeles music industry.

Department Overview

The department offers a Master of Arts in Music Entrepreneurial Studies program, emphasizing preparation for careers in the ever-changing music industry. Coursework focuses on music business, commercial composition and arranging, audio recording technology, and instrumental and vocal performance.

CMUS 500, Foundations of Music Entrepreneurship, 3 Units

This course examines the fundamentals of a startup as it pertains to the music industry. Topics include record label business structures, strategic improvisation and innovation, your fans as your customers, the power of collaboration (DIY vs. DIT?), building a production and promotion team, contracts, taxes, intellectual property law, and leadership styles.

CMUS 501, Commercial Music Strategic Marketing, 3 Units

This course covers music marketing, strategic marketing management, and an examination of the relationship between marketing, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The curriculum also reviews tools and methods used for understanding entertainment market environments, marketing implications of new models of distribution, and delivery to customers.

CMUS 502, Entrepreneurship and Media-Based Streams in Commercial Music, 3 Units

This course analyzes rapid changes in technology, demographics, and music distribution as they challenge musicians and music business organizations to become more entrepreneurial in their planning and practice. This course examines basic principles of entrepreneurship as well as several entrepreneurial models in commercial music streams, with an emphasis on new income streams from the internet and through social networking (content ID and monetization).

CMUS 503, Commercial Music Structure and Global Industry Issues, 3 Units

This seminar course examines how different organizations are structured to exploit and manage entertainment assets, internationally as well as domestically. Topics include management of copyrights, master recordings and artists, and issues regarding problems in international music distribution and protection of intellectual property.

CMUS 504, Finance and Accounting for Music Entrepreneurs, 3 Units

This course draws on many areas, including economics, finance, and accounting concepts, encompassing the details of knowing how to discern different types of royalty statements (national and international) and exploring various kinds of music funding (traditional and nontraditional) such as venture capital and crowdfunding.

CMUS 505, Music and Media, 3 Units

This course is a survey of the creative, business, and technological media systems and entities within the music industry, including entertainment unions, agents, attorneys, concert production, audio engineers, producers, record companies, online distribution, music in film and television, radio promotions and advertising, album and artist registration, IMDb, NARAS, LARAS, CMA, and GMA.

CMUS 600, Comprehensive Artistic Management, 3 Units

This course is an introduction to creative and business management as it pertains to artists in the sound recording industry. Subjects include execution and evaluation of various management strategies, branding, public relations, and various media types.

CMUS 601, Public Policy and Strategic Planning in the Music Industry, 3 Units

This seminar course covers government policies that directly affect the music industry, and also focuses on the strategic planning process of decision making, and allocation of resources to fortify a plan of action. It features an application of principles and techniques that make up the music entertainment sector of the U.S. economy, and uses the business-related tenets of law and economics to generate a modern, consistent, and formal framework for strategic decision making.

CMUS 602, Music Publishing, 3 Units

This course covers performance rights organizations (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC), publishing deals, mechanical licensing, synchronization licensing, music reports, SoundExchange, and Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI).

CMUS 603, Ethics and Faith in Music Industry Management, 3 Units

This course examines the role of faith and ethics within the music industry, exploring Christian beliefs and values that influence business practices. Emphasis is placed on the growth of faith-based entertainment, as well as the historical context of spirituality within the music industry.

CMUS 604, Music Entrepreneurship Project, 2 Units

This capstone project highlights the knowledge gained from the entire program. In conjunction with the professor/instructor, the student chooses an area of research and presentation focused on the student's particular career specialty, such as publishing, music marketing, touring, artist management, and album/single release coordination.

Prerequisite: Completion of 24 units of CMUS courses


Department Chair

David Beatty, M.M., MBA

Assistant Professor

Henry Alonzo, MBA, Director, M.A. in Music Entrepreneurial Studies Program