Music Industries - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
September 2016
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Our Music Industries MA is an opportunity for you to become adept at understanding, critiquing and facing the challenges and demands of a constantly changing business.

You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of music as both a commercial and cultural activity, as well as learning how to analyse the contemporary music industry ecology and develop entrepreneurial approaches to music in the digital age.

Last chance to apply

The 2016/17 academic year will see the final intake of new students for this course, so get in quick if you want to apply.

Want to study in 2017/18?

You may want to check out this similar course which will be available to start in 2017/18:

What's covered in the course?

Available on campus (with some online contribution by world-leading experts) or by distance learning, our Music Industries MA will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the music industries ecosystem. You’ll master the theoretical work on popular music culture and the music business, applying these theories to real-world contemporary problems.

You’ll also work in a very practical way, trying out ideas and putting your new knowledge and skills into practice. Your entrepreneurial skills will be enhanced, and you’ll make important professional contacts, building up your relationships within the music business.

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll study at our state-of-the-art Birmingham School of Media, a key centre of excellence in media training, where you’ll have access to cutting-edge facilities and experienced teachers.
  • You’ll become part of the global music industry and technology community of over 4,000 professionals through the Music Tech Fest, run by course director Professor Andrew Dubber. Several MA Music Industries students have showcased their work at the festival in different locations around the world, leading to investment, partnership and strong professional relationships.
  • You’ll be at the forefront of new music industry strategies, learning the new methods in which music is created, distributed and experienced.
  • This course will enhance your employability prospects, with former graduates progressing into roles as producers, music technology entrepreneurs, record label owners, radio music programmers and music industry educators.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

New MA studentships

Apply for September 2016 entry and you could have the cost of your student fees paid for. 

Apply by 22 August

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • SAE Institute

And in jobs such as:

  • Degree Program Coordinator

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

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.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
DL 2 years part time £3,250 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
DL 1 year full time £12,000
DL 2 years part time £6,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Popular Music as Culture
30 credits

This theory module explores the debates within the music and media industries. You’ll pay particular attention to conflicts between the idea of music as culture and music as commerce, and will produce some original research on popular music culture and its social role.

30 credits

You’ll put ideas into practice, developing a strong sense of your professional development needs. By focusing on a spirit of entrepreneurship, we’ll encourage you to take ownership of your own personal professional development. You’ll identify industry challenges and turn them into opportunities, enhancing your independence, confidence and networking capacity.

Popular Music as Commerce
30 credits

The changing nature of the music industries and their implications will be assessed as you 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 the MA by Practice or MA by Dissertation, depending on the focus of your studies. You’ll 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’ll 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’ll develop and consolidate your mastery of key skills, knowledge of and engagement with current opportunities in the field of production or academic enquiry.

If you choose to study the course on-campus, you’ll meet with tutors in small classes and in individual tutorials, as well as work with fellow students in groups on site. You’ll also be taught through personal Skype video tutorials and mentorship with Course Director Andrew Dubber, who works in the music industries internationally.

The coursework is a mix of theory and practice, with hands-on project-based research accompanying academic writing and research through literature. If you apply for the distance learning course, in-class elements will be replaced with a range of rich online materials and personal tuition, as well as live-streamed or pre-recorded lectures.

You’ll conduct a significant amount of research, working through relevant case studies, developing your own music business ideas and putting them into practice.

Later in the course, you’ll 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. Your MA research will contribute new knowledge to the field – both within academia and within the industries themselves.

Further Study

If you’re interested in taking your research interests forward into a PhD, your Course Director will be able to advise you about your particular area of expertise.

Enhancing employability skills

The course is suitable if you want to extend your skills and knowledge of the music industry, either at a major company or within the independent sector. The emphasis on using new media and developing new music industry strategies means that you’ll be well-placed to take up key posts in innovation, or establish your own music businesses.

Orsi Muntyan balanced full-time work with part-time study when she chose to study Music Industries. She rose to the challenge though, and now works at social network, Crowdmix:


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Graduate jobs

Upon graduating, you’ll have an in-depth knowledge of the modern methods and ideas that embody the music industry, making you highly employable to a range of companies and businesses. You could progress into a role as a music researcher or an A&R representative among others, with previous graduates working as degree programme coordinators for companies such as SAE Institute.

One graduate who used her degree to explore new creative avenues was Claire-Gillian Watt. While studying the Music Industries course, Claire created and developed an app, Organic Assembly, designed to allow art organisations to promote events directly to young people.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Our four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

The Parkside Building

The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Staff introduction

Birmingham School of Media’s music industry staff over a wide range of experience. The team is led by Andrew Dubber, Professor of Music Industries Innovation, who is internationally renowned for his analyses of the sector.

You’ll also work with Tim Wall, Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies, and Dr Paul Long, Reader in Media and Cultural History, whose studies of music culture are key to university courses across the world.

Professor Tim Wall

Professor of Radio and Popular Music Studies

Tim Wall leads the research-active academics and knowledge transfer staff within the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR), as well a number of current research projects. He also co-ordinates the Interactive Cultures research group. He has published extensively on radio and popular music culture in international journals and books, and he applies his insights in undergraduate and postgraduate classes, and with doctoral research students.

Tim is Editor of The Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast & Audio Media, and until recently was chair of the Radio Studies Network, the lead organisation for international radio scholars. He has led five major collaborative research projects, was formerly an AHRC Knowledge Transfer Fellow, and has worked with the BBC as well as a range of smaller radio and music businesses.

His two textbooks have become widely used in the subject. He is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College. He is currently leading a research project on social media citizen journalism in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and with Syrian activists, developing work on jazz in Britain, and initiating knowledge exchange projects with arts and creative industry companies.

Professor Paul Long

Director Centre for Media and Cultural Research

Paul is the Professor of Media and Cultural History and lead the MA in Creative Industries and Cultural Policy as well as several innovative PhD projects. He is also Director of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research and a Board member of Vivid Projects and Media Archive for CentralEngland (MACE). He welcomes PhD applications on the conjunction of media, history and the archive, on creative work and also on popular music and memory. Paul's research interests encompass the creativity of the creative industries and the way in which they produce value that is more than simply economic.

In his work on popular music heritage for instance, such knowledge serves music industry, tourism as well as individual and community identities. As a historian he is interested in the way in which media and popular cultural forms are now a key part of how we memorialize and make sense of the past individually and collectively. Of course, popular culture also mediates andconstructs a sense of the past to us and directs us to it - in TV series such as Peaky Blinders for instance or in popular music: ‘ There are places I remember, all my life...’

Dr Annette Naudin

Course Director in MA Media & Creative Enterprise

Course director Annette began her career running her own textile business. She built it up into a company that supplied high-end stores such as Liberty and Harrods, and exported to Japan and the USA. Moving into media and creative work, she’s consulted with Arts Council England and is now a trustee of arts organisations, including Moseley Development Trust, and a mentor with UnLtd supporting social enterprises. Read her wordpress blog as well as her blog on the University’s website.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295