Music Business & Innovation Course - ACM College London

BA (Hons) Music Business and Innovation – ACM London

A three-year study option for aspiring Music and Creative Industry Executives and Entrepreneurs.

The BA (Hons) Music Business & Innovation degree provides its students with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to pursue a life-long, sustainable career within the music and creative industries as managers, industry executives and/or entrepreneurs. Covering a broad range of content, students will learn in the areas of Artist & Repertoire, Income Streams, Commercial Contracts, Artist Management, Marketing, Live Events and  Tour Management.

ACM London Degrees are validated and awarded by Falmouth University, the UK’s ‘highest ranked arts university’ (Guardian University Guide 2017).

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Music Business & Innovation Modules

In the first year of the programme, students will study the following modules:

  • The UK Music Business : ACM-C030
    The UK Music Business provides a comprehensive overview of the UK music industry and its relationship with other major European markets. It explores the interaction between record companies, publishers, managers, agents, writers, artists and merchandising, with particular focus on how they operate in the digital age. Key to this module is sponsorship and product placement, and how artists and managers incorporate these revenue streams into a coherent business strategy. Lectures will include cases studies on the commercial affairs of important artists in the UK and Europe. The outcome of the module will be a demonstrable understanding of the UK/European music industry, and the practical application of this theory within the context of your own work.
  • A&R Principles : ACM-C100
    The A&R Principles module focuses on the development of high-level A&R skills. Your study will comprise guidance on finding new acts, assessing their potential and forming a conceptual link between the musical product, associated branding and the paying audience. Key to this area of the music industry is the instinct to assess the size of a potential market, the commercial viability and longevity of an act, and the potential for brand loyalty; these themes form the core of this module. Y ou will examine the negotiation of early-stage deals and strategies for grassroots approaches to building awareness of an act and creating a ‘buzz’. The module also examines quality control, leadership and people management; you will be encouraged to begin managing in a practical way as early as possible. Additionally, you will undertake critical reflection on your own brand and presentation style.
  • Music Income Streams : ACM-C760
    Essential to the role of a manager or self-managing artist is a clear understanding of where and how an act’s income streams are derived, and how to maximise income while minimising expenses. This forms the core of the Music Income Streams module. Your study will incorporate management ethics and the personal and commercial relationships between acts and managers, and will examine historic disputes between acts and managers as well as systems for resolving disagreement. The module also explores models for long term partnerships, financial modelling, forecasting and cash flow management. This module will equip you with the essential ability to communicate with financial professionals (such as accountants, banks or third-party investors) in an authoritative and knowledgeable manner.
  • The International Music Business : ACM-C020
    In the International Music Business module you will study the rapid online developments in the music industry and their implications for record companies and artists. This module builds on your earlier study of the domestic music industry and will cover the increasing diversity of income streams that has evolved as a result of interactions between new media and formats. Lectures will incorporate case studies of important artists, showing how they use digital formats to their advantage and the ways in which they organise their international commercial affairs. Upon completion of the module, you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of the online developments in the worldwide music industry, and apply this knowledge within the context of your practice. You will be required to develop a strategic approach to the required tasks and take responsibility for your own time management. The module comprises directed and self­directed study; lectures will be supported by tutorials and group sessions.
  • Self-Employment Opportunity: ACM-C300
    This module provides an overview of the responsibilities of any self-employed professional in the music industry. Your study will cover tax and National Insurance contributions for self-employed individuals, company start-ups, partnerships, employing others, time management, setting and achieving goals, and efficient work practices. You will research and identify self-employment opportunities and create a personal business plan to support your individual career aims. You will learn the necessary conventions and forms for creating a credible business case that is intelligible to third parties, such as private investors, banks and other lenders. A key focus of the module is cash flow management, recognising that the income of an artist manager is likely to be sporadic and how to handle this through lean and bountiful times. Additionally, you will examine personal and business investment options, along with tax management and VAT.
  • Commercial Contracts and Terms: ACM-C320
    Commercial Contracts and Terms examines the role of a manager, with specific focus on the current digital age, and the way in which managers negotiate different types of deals, which vary according to the act, territory and organisation. Through this module you will gain an understanding of the terms and variables of these deals, including record, publishing, sync, live show and tour, merchandising and sponsorship. Upon completion of the module you will be sufficiently equipped to speak confidently and knowledgeably with music lawyers and other third parties, and to take an active role in negotiating a deal. You will conduct research on the business structures surrounding established artists, leading to a thorough comprehension of the deals and operations that support the career of an international artist.

In the second year of the programme, students will study the following modules:

  • Artists’ Routes to Audience : ACM-C340
    Artists’ Routes to Audience explores the process of building an audience and the key components involved in a campaign for breaking a new musical act. The module will focus on a range of aspects and approaches, including project management, marketing, social media, problem solving and the importance of leadership. Your study will incorporate case studies of successful campaigns from the last five years, which you will research and analyse in order to comprehend the essential elements of successful marketing and promotion. You will explore methods for converting good ideas into creative and innovative practices for gaining a competitive advantage in an unpredictable marketplace. The module is taught by tutors with first-hand experience of bands that have rocketed into the national consciousness and who will provide professional, practical guidance throughout the module.
  • Tour Management : ACM-C540
    It is not uncommon for a manager to control the planning and execution of a tour in the early stages of a band or artist’s career and, to that end, the Tour Management module will equip you with a thorough understanding of touring logistics. In this module you will study budgets, processes and logistics and examine the roles of various crew members. You will learn which areas of a budget are most susceptible to variation as a result of the creative and practical decisions made by an artist, manager or tour manager. Key themes of the module are innovative thinking on budget management and the optimisation of commercial and creative outcomes. You will discuss the principles of effective promotion, including relationships with booking agents and promoters, and investigate the art of effective set list creation for a range of professional situations, from short support sets and small venue gigs to festival slots and arena headline shows.
  • Recorded Music Production: ACM-C040
    Through Recorded Music Production you will have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of record production. The module will focus on how a song (or collection of songs) evolves from a demo or rehearsal room arrangement to a master recording. Key areas of study include song selection and quality control, pre­production and arrangement, choosing a producer, goal setting, mixing, mastering and the psychology of recording. Your lessons will also explore the strategy of bypassing the demo stage and producing a fully finished master following the initial writing stage. You will examine the production of various recordings and assess how it has affected the record’s commercial success. Successful completion of the module will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge of record production and how to apply this in your chosen career path. As the module is part directed and part self­directed, you will be expected to develop a strategic approach and effective time management to ensure you complete tasks as required. Tutorials and group work will supplement scheduled lectures.
  • Artist Management : ACM-C700
    In this module you will build on your learning of breaking an act and study the challenges involved in maintaining its success. You will learn from managers who have worked with acts over the course of many albums and through changing fashions and perceptions in the music industry, and examine how established artists find ways to continually grow their fan base while maintaining existing audiences. A central part of your study will be the utilisation of traditional marketing tools and social media strategies for raising brand awareness. Knowledge of what has worked in the past and the evolution of current management practices will enable you to make incisive choices in order to maximise the career opportunities available to your artist. Throughout the module, you will examine the key principles of these strategies and how they are implemented, including the process of re-establishing a familiar name with a definitive record, live show or press angle.
  • Live Event Management: ACM-C511
    The aim of this module is to help learners develop in-depth understanding of the economics and logistics of the Live Event Industry, from the local gig to an international arena tour. By the end of the module, learners will have acquired detailed understanding of the political, economic, social and technological developments that impact on the Live Industry, together with knowledge of the opportunities and challenges presented by legislation.
  • Marketing Strategies and Connected Communities: ACM-C509
    This module aims to demonstrate that marketing in the future is unlikely to follow the same formats and conventions as it has done “pre-web 2.0”. Learners will explore and analyse a variety of digital marketing techniques (including the use of social media, viral and experiential marketing) with a view to creating their own campaigns.

In the third and final year of the programme, students will study the following modules:

  • IP Rights and Publishing: ACM-C060
    IP Rights and Publishing takes a detailed look at the publishing industry, one of the major income streams available to songwriters, and will provide you with an understanding of the role of IP rights within this industry. In this module you will study the content and terms of different types of publishing contracts and the importance of copyright law in protecting your intellectual property rights and song rights. Additionally, you will explore scenarios such as songwriting splits, and how to agree on their terms to the mutual satisfaction of all parties. Successful completion of this module will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the publishing industry and related copyright law by applying this knowledge within the context of your own practice.
  • Personal Development in Business : ACM-C740
    This module deals with the personal and interpersonal ‘soft skills’ that are fundamental to success in both a team environment and independent working. These skills are vital for the generation of repeat business, expansion of a client base or artist roster and growing a network of business contacts. You will examine team role approaches and theory that are used in business, such as Belbin team development and psychometric testing, and apply them to music industry models (for example, the members of a band). This module will support your progression towards the Exit Project through developing your objective awareness of your own working style. You will consider and discuss favoured working styles and foster an awareness of differing personality traits and how they affect the performance and outcome of a collaborative project. You will also examine areas pertaining to personal health, happiness and effectiveness, including time management and handling stress and personal workloads. Dynamic leadership, mentoring, conflict resolution and the evaluation of your own working style, experiences and insights are central themes within this module, as is the synthesis of the learning material in a manner that is useful and relevant to your situation.
  • Portfolio : ACM-C665
    The Portfolio module will require you to take concepts you have studied in earlier modules and competently apply them in a practical context. For the project, you will look after a band or solo artist of your choice and organise either a significant studio session (e.g. a complete album) or a string of live dates extending beyond the local area. This could also involve the organisation and execution of a full campaign based around a national tour or a record release, and could include the use of social media in combination with traditional marketing methods. Underpinning the reflective element of this module will be your critical assessment of your project’s performance and the creative and commercial outcomes of the recording or gigs.
  • Exit Project : ACM-C070
    The Exit Project module is your opportunity to research and report on the full spectrum of career opportunities within your specialist area. You will be expected to identify and discuss available career pathways and explain how your craft can be applied within the context of professional opportunities and, if desired, lead to the monetisation of your skills through entrepreneurial practice and artistic excellence. Additionally, your portfolio will comprise additional elements for the facilitation of your career, including: Personal website (supporting your professional work) Various forms of social media (as above) You should utilise a research-based approach to identify career and/or artist opportunities within your specialist field and clearly demonstrate this through referenced sources. You will be expected to support your findings by studying of the work of recognised leaders in this field. The report should examine current working practices used by self-employed music professional, including entrepreneurial endeavours, marketing, self-promotion and managing multiple income streams. You will be required to present a persuasive argument to demonstrate that your goals are realistic and achievable, backed up by credible data and analysis. Where possible, the additional components of your portfolio should align with your report on career opportunities. You will be expected to develop a strategic approach to creating ...

Our Students | James Corbitt


Music Business & Innovation
BA(Hons) Degree, 2016-17

» Campaign Manager
» Artist Manager

“ACM has provided me with a platform to learn about the music industry while allowing me to go out and apply my knowledge in real life situations. Over the past two years I have developed as both an academic student and an industry professional, with support from some great tutors and mentors. I strongly believe that the degree is only a part of what you are working towards at ACM, to make the most out of it I have kept active and taken any opportunity I have found or that ACM’s Industry Link Team has sent my way.”

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Course Details

BA (Hons) Music Business & Innovation

Full Time Study – 3 Years

Degree 360

Course code: W37W
Institution code: A48

Entry Requirements

All candidates will be required to attend an audition / interview.


Minimum age 18

All candidates should hold two A-Levels or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification.

We normally require Grade C GCSE (or an equivalent quali cation) in English. Candidates should be capable of using the English language fluently, and able to structure arguments and present evidence to a standard appropriate to study at Level ‘4’. Where the application materials appear insufficient to form a clear judgement on the candidate’s fluency, additional documentary evidence (e.g. recent essays) may be required. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to have achieved IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent qualification.

We welcome applications from those who might have completed alternative qualifications and/or have prior experience. All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

* New UCAS 2017 tariff system.

Awarding body
Falmouth University

£9,000 per year. Student loans are available.