Department of Commercial Music


To prepare students, both 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, as well as 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 of Commercial Music emphasizes preparation for careers in the ever-changing music industry. Coursework focuses on music business, commercial composition and arranging, audio recording technology, as well as instrumental and vocal performance. The department offers a Master of Arts in Music Entrepreneurship at the graduate level, and a Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music at the undergraduate level.

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 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 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 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

Program Director

Henry Alonzo, MBA, Assistant Professor, Program Director