Music Business Fundamentals

Study online in our virtual classroom


Are you considering a career in the Music Business?

Perhaps you're an artist looking to learn more about how the industry works? 

Fast Track Your Future In The Music Business!

Our unique and immersive course has been designed to show you exactly how the music business operates today - providing you with the most up to date knowledge and skills you’ll need to fast track your future in the world’s most exciting business.

You’ll be taught by leading music professionals, meet likeminded individuals, examine real world case studies and take part in engaging activities. Most importantly - you’ll learn what the various areas of the music industry are, why they exist, and exactly how they function in the business today.
Once you’ve completed your study with us, you’ll receive a certificate of course completion to add to your CV. We’ll also spend some time with you privately, to discuss your plans for moving forward in the industry.  Whether you’d like help launching your band, securing an internship or job placement, advice on setting up your new music business venture, or something else entirely – we’ll be here to support you.

Enrol today to secure your place on our next Music Business Fundamentals course, and see why our students leave us five star reviews across the board!

Some of the areas we'll cover:

  • The Structure and Revenues of the Music Business

  • Record Labels and A&R

  • Artist Development

  • Distribution

  • Music Marketing

  • Radio Promotion

  • Music Media, Press and PR

  • Brand Development

  • Streaming Services

  • Marketing to Spotify and DSP Playlists

  • Digital Promotion Strategy

  • Music PublishingSync and Licensing

  • Live Music, Merchandise and Tour Management

  • Business and Brand Partnerships

  • Artist Management

  • The Future of The Music Industry and Music Tech

  • Entrepreneurialism, and Funding Sources

  • PLUS: a one-to-one career guidance consultation

Available Course Dates


Online in our virtual classroom:

(Find out more about how our online courses work)

15 - 19 Feb 2021 | Mon - Fri | 10:30-16:30 *

07 Mar - 04 April 2021 | Every Sunday | 10:30-16:30 *

12 - 16 April 2021 | Mon - Fri | 10:30-16:30 *

01 - 29 May 2021 | Every Saturday | 10:30-16:30 *

* UK time

Limited places remaining

If you'd like to discuss payment plan options, email us HERE or call 0207 078 4022 We also accept Paypal Credit.

Hear from one of our recent Music Business Fundamentals students | Gary Wood


Finding SMB was a blessing as I had started to doubt that I would ever find a way in to the music industry. This course was great for someone like me who came in with a huge passion for music and a desire to work in the industry but who has no experience, connections or real understanding of the inner workings. As much as I am sad the course is over, I feel armed with enough practical knowledge to get my career in music off the ground.
As a tutor, Matt is incredibly knowledgable and very concise in the way he delivers the information. He takes time to make sure you have understood the information and follows up each session by emailing you his very detailed notes (which are already proving invaluable). 
I would encourage anyone considering a course at SMB to do it. 


Read the full review here
SMB The School of Music Business - music business courses in London. Music industry short courses taught by music business professionals. Flexible, part time classes including artist management, music marketing, starting a record label, music publishing, music business basics and more.

Meet The Course Leader | Matt Errington

Hi, I’m Matt, the Music Business Fundamentals tutor at SMB: The School of Music Business.  
I began my career as a music journalist, working at national publications such as Time Out, Dazed and Confused and Spin magazine. I later became a successful music business entrepreneur, music marketer and artist manager, running campaigns for a host of successful bands that saw me work alongside the likes of photographer Rankin, sign major international publishing and recording contracts, lead headline tours of the UK, Europe, America and much more. Today I continue to lead campaigns that have secured millions of Spotify plays, international playlist support and streaming chart entries. In 2015, I won the Music Export For Growth award from The BPI and UK Trade and Industry, for my work developing UK artists overseas.  

In 2018 I was appointed Expert Board Member for Jump: The European Music Market Accelerator, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, to help develop innovative new business models within the industry. From now until 2023, we will be supporting some of the most innovative music businesses in the world. You can also find me talking regularly at industry events, including SXSW, Liverpool Sound City, Line 6 What's Next Conferences, MIL - Lisbon International Music Network and many others.  I love passing on my knowledge and experience to help artists and new music business professionals find their feet in the business. 

Winner of 'The BPI's Music Export For Growth Scheme Award' for his work developing artists internationally.

"Matt Errington has been able to give his bands a major boost on an independent budget."

"Errington is on a mission to not just change the perception of the industry but to professionalise those within it."

Expert Board Member of EU's Jump European Music Market Accelerator

There has never been a more exciting time to work in music! Our Music Business Fundamentals Course is an incredible opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills you need to pursue a career in this rapidly evolving, multi-billion pound industry.



Want to talk to a course advisor? Contact us on Live Chat, or call us today: 

Music Business Fundamentals | Syllabus

Module One

Introduction To The Music Industry

  • A brief history of the development of the music industry
  • Where we are today – the most exciting time to work in music!
  • The structure of the industry – understanding how it works
  • An explanation of the roles and functions within:
    • Record labels
    • Music publishers
    • Live music
    • Management
    • Promotion & more
  • An explanation of the flow, and sources of revenue
  • Analysing the current trends in music industry revenue 
Module Three

Distribution and Streaming Services

  • What is music distribution, and how does it work?
  • Distribution for the independent artist
  • An introduction to the Streaming services:
    • Spotify
    • Apple Music
    • Deezer
    • Tidal
    • YouTube Music
  • The official charts, and how they work
  • Streaming marketing principles
  • A guide to 'Spotify for Artists' platform
  • How to secure Spotify playlists
  • Pitching and release week​
  • ‘Release Radar’ and ‘Discover Weekly’
  • Editorial playlists, major playlists & independent playlists
  • Spotify charts: Top 50 & viral charts
Module Five

Music Marketing - Principles & Branding

  • Music marketing and promotion

  • Who does what in the marketing and promotion of an artist
  • Branding 101 – the three considerations
    The fan funnel – the founding principle of successful music marketing and promotion
  • The single release strategy
  • The 'attention economy'
  • The 'expectancy loop'
  • The artist lifecycle, and how we use this to develop and nurture a fan base
  • Target fan analysis - finding the audience
Module Seven

Music Publishing and Sync

  • Publishing – what is it and why is it so important?
  • Who are the people involved in the music publishing sector?
  • The publishing contract
  • The artist as a writer
  • Sync (TV, film, advertising and computer games)
  • A guide to music copyright
  • Mechanicals - we'll examine how writers get paid when their songs are recorded and released commercially
  • Public performance - we'll look how writers receive revenue for the public performance (live, in-store, on tv, on radio etc) of their music
  • Collection agencies – PRS, PPL and MCPS
  • Song writing:
    • Working with writers
    • Writing camps
    • Selling songs
  • Class activity - we'll choose music to fit specific and original briefs from music supervisors 
Module Nine

The Future of The Music Industry

  • Growth of revenue sources
  • The world of streaming and where it may be heading
  • VR – a new way to experience live music
  • AI and it’s use in the music industry

  • Blockchain and digital currency
  • Future avenues of music promotion
Module Two

Record Labels and A&R

  • Record Labels – what do they do?
  • The differences between independent and major labels
  • Income and costs in the record label business
  • Record contracts – signing artists
  • Royalty structures – where does the money go?
  • The record label meeting – a guide
  • A&R in 2021 – the rules of successful scouting
  • The Principles of artist development
  • How to find the ‘next big thing’
  • Class activity - We'll put our A&R skills into practice, and analyse some new music submissions
Module Four

Live Music, Merchandise & Tour Management

  • Live music and its importance in the industry
  • Booking agents and promoters - who they are & what they do
  • Sources of revenue in live music
  • Merchandise and merchandise deals
  • A guide to tour management:
    • What are tour managers and how do they operate?
    • Advancing tours - day sheets and tech plots
    • Logistics
  • Tour budgeting and record label tour support
  • Class activity - Together we'll budget a 20 day international tour, and work to make it profitable! 
Module Six

Digital Marketing Strategy, Social Media & Brand Partnerships

  • The marketing plan and release strategies
  • The time table of activity for successful releases
  • The role of press, radio and television
  • Finding a story; press angles, media hooks, and securing editorial coverage
  • Brand partnerships:
    • Product placement
    • Ambassadorships
    • Touring, live events and experience packages
    • Viral marketing campaigns
    • Product launches and artist sponsored products
  • Recent examples of successful brand and music partnerships, and why they worked so well
  • Class activity - you'll each create a successful promotional plan from a range of marketing objectives and budgets
Module Eight

Artist Management

  • Artist managers – who they are and what they do
  • The key functions of management
  • The unique skills required for management
  • The artist/manager relationship
  • How do managers get paid? The various structures
  • The management contract
  • The new artist manager and where the role is headed
  • Strategising the artist's career
  • Setting objectives
  • Timed targets and action steps 
  • The health and wellbeing of the artist
Module Ten

Entrepreneurialism, Music Industry Bodies and Funding

  • Working in the music industry – where do I fit?
  • The music business entrepreneur:
    • Working in a team
    • Negotiating skills
    • The art of successful networking
    • Budget planning
    • Setting targets and monitoring results
    • Pitching skills and techniques
  • A guide to writing successful business plans
  • Trade bodies and organisations:
    The MU, The BPI, PRS, PPL, MCPS, The MMF, MPA etc.
  • Securing funding for artists and new music businesses

Consultation | Your Future In The Music Business

Students on this course also receive a one-to-one consultation to discuss your plans for moving forward in the industry and how we can help.


FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the course suitable for?

Our Music Business Fundamentals course is open to everyone! All you need is an interest in the music industry to apply. Students must be 18 years old or older, and no previous experience is necessary.

Does the course take place online?

Yes. Until further notice, all of our courses will be taking place online, through our virtual classrooms. These online courses take place live, so you can interact with your tutor and other students in real-time! With high quality video and audio, live notes, quizzes and breakout group sessions - the virtual classroom provides an immersive learning experience, where ever you are in the world!

Will I get a course certificate?

Upon completion, students will receive a Certificate of Completion, signed by the tutor and the school directors, in the post.

Do I need to provide anything?

A pen and notepad is all you require! We also provide comprehensive notes throughout the course. You will need internet access and a web browser (Chrome/Firefox). Prior to the start date of your course you will receive a web link and a password to access the virtual classroom.

I have more questions...

No problem! You can call us on +44 (0) 207 078 4022, or email us at, and we'll be very happy to help.

Which topics are covered during the course?

  • The Structure and Revenues of the Music Business
  • Record Labels and A&R
  • Artist Development
  • Distribution
  • Music Marketing
  • Radio Promotion
  • Music Media, Press and PR
  • Brand Development
  • Streaming Services
  • Marketing to Spotify and DSP Playlists
  • Digital Promotion Strategy
  • Music Publishing, Sync and Licensing
  • Live Music, Merchandise and Tour Management
  • Business and Brand Partnerships
  • Artist Management
  • The Future of The Music Industry and Music Tech
  • Entrepreneurialism, and Funding Sources
  • PLUS: a one-to-one career guidance consultation


Enrol | Secure Your Place Today

Tuition Fees: £995

(Inclusive of VAT)

Enrol online via our secure booking system powered by Paypal.

You will receive a confirmation by email upon booking.
Payment plan options are also available; for details email us here.

SMB The School of Music Business - music business courses in London. Music industry short courses taught by music business professionals. Evening classes including artist management, music PR, music journalism, music marketing, starting a record label and more.

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Copyright © 2016-2021 SMB: The School of Music Business LTD

Registered address | 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX, United Kingdom
Company Number: 10524000 | Registered in England and Wales | VAT ID 328443987 | +44 (0) 207 078 4022

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