Music Industries - BA (Hons)
This degree will put you at the heart of music in the UK, with coursework designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and experience, not just to work in, but to shape the music industries. Music is one of the UK’s biggest cultural exports. It’s worth an estimated £5.2bn to the UK economy, and sustains almost 191,000 jobs....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
This degree will put you at the heart of music in the UK, with coursework designed to equip you with the skills, knowledge, and experience, not just to work in, but to shape the music industries.
Music is one of the UK’s biggest cultural exports. It’s worth an estimated £5.2bn to the UK economy, and sustains almost 191,000 jobs.
The programme is tailor made for anyone seeking to develop a career in music, or with an interest in music as relating to wider creative and cultural industries.
Studying in our industry-standard media centre in the heart of Birmingham, you’ll develop skills through a combination of hands-on learning, supported by critical investigation into the creative cultures, fans, and practices that make the UK music industries world-leading. You will have the opportunity to apply these skills and knowledge through work placements with key organisations within the UK music industries.
What's covered in this course?
You will develop and work on real-world music industries projects with clients, enabling you to add professional jobs to your portfolio. Our learning and teaching is informed by the changing demands of a vibrant and dynamic music industries, to make sure that you are industry ready.
If you want to take an in-depth look at promotion, music PR and music media, running a record label or producing music videos and websites, then this is the ideal course for you. It will help you to position yourself at the forefront of creating and developing innovative ideas, and exploring niche markets within the music industry.
While studying with us, you’ll have the opportunity to set up a record label, promote artists or organise a music event for a paying audience. You will develop practical business know how, applying your skills to a creative music enterprise project, as well as exploring music entrepreneurship, music online, music promotion and PR, music video, and television and music programming.
In your final year of study you will complete a final major project, drawing together the strands of knowledge, skills, and experience that you gained during your time with us.
Whilst I was studying, I carried out placements in music industry corporations such as Kerrang!, IFPI and BPI. I also set up my own promotions company on the side to gain extra experience before entering into the real world. Work placements and networking is extremely important in this industry and led me to gaining my first full time job in the Content Protection team at BPI right after I finished my studies. I’ve now worked at BPI for two years.
2015 School of Media graduate
Why Choose Us?
- As a BA (Hons) Music Industries student you will benefit from our membership of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership.
- 90% of students are satisfied with the teaching on this course (National Student Survey 2021).
- You will be taught by staff with extensive experience of both industry and education. You will also have access to a well-established research culture based around music industries and popular music. The Popular Music Studies research group within the School of Media promotes new and innovative approaches to the study of popular music that are relevant to academics and practitioners, as well as anyone interested in popular music.
- We provide specialised, sophisticated equipment for every area in our £62 million home, The Parkside Building, including six radio studios, four TV studios, one of the largest free-standing green screens in Europe, editing suites, music production studios, a new media suite, a newsroom and photography studios (including a half and a full infinity cove).
- You will have the opportunity to expand your professional network through a range of relevant field trips and industry conferences. In recent years our students have attended We Are Robots in London, Liverpool Sound City, and Off the Record Manchester.
- You will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience and develop industry contacts and experience through work placements and collaborative projects with our industry partners in Birmingham’s expanding music sector.
- The BA (Hons) Music Industries course is really proud to be a signatory of Keychange, an international gender equality movement advocating for equal representation in the music industries. Our course is committed to 50% women and gender minorities in our student cohort, guest speakers, industry mentors and course content.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS points
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||See level 3 entry under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details|
|Scottish National 5||
|IELTS||6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at either Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) or Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3 up to and including 2016|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,500 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Production costs (optional)
For some production work you way mish to hire venues, equipment or performers which will have associated professional fees.
Personal stationery and study materials (optional)
For this course it would be useful to have an SD card, a USB stick (minimum 16GB) and external hard drive (minimum 40gb), as well as over the ear headphones. Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
2) Through a country representative
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
3) Through UCAS
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement 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:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
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.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
You will get the chance to take part in multiplatform production days, delivering content for our in-house music media outlet, Eastside Sounds. There will also be a compulsory work placement in this module.
The music industries are increasingly driven not just by songs, but by content – videos, images, and other texts which frame the music that we love. This module allows you to start to develop practical skills in content creation –including film editing, photography, PR, and a range of other skills – from our expert colleagues in Birmingham School of Media.
At a moment in time where revenues from traditional areas such as recorded music are falling, this module invites you to think about how the value of music might be reconsidered, and the problems and opportunities that this creates for aspiring music industries professionals.
This module allows you to start collaborating with music industries organisations and communities, exploring issues and challenges they face on a local and global scale.
This module will introduce you to the key sectors and revenue streams of the contemporary music industries. You will learn about how money is generated through music, and use this knowledge to learn-by-doing, establishing your own micro-label, events company, or other music-based project.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):
You will get the chance to take part in multiplatform production days, delivering content for our in-house music media outlet Eastside Sounds. There will also be a compulsory work placement in this module.
This module invites you to think about the relationship between the music industries and a wider system of media production and consumption. You will be required to carry out research into the interrelated nature of music and media, and to consider how your developing media skills can help you to present this information in an engaging and professional manner.
Building upon the skills, knowledge, and experience from Level 4, this module invites you to examine the current state and changing nature of the field of popular music studies. You will learn about a range of critical perspectives and positions on popular music from the standpoint of both popular music culture and music business/ industries.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are operated on a faculty-wide basis. This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Collaborative Practice – this module allows for collaboration with students from other Schools within the Art, Design and Media faculty.
- Work Experience – you may choose to undertake an additional work placement.
- Live Project – you will work to a brief on a real-world or simulated project. A series of live project briefs will be set each year, including an option based on an overseas visit.
The programme structure allows you to choose an option from modules that are offered within the School of Media across other programmes. Some options are closely aligned with your area of study but you may choose to take an option from any in the following list (note that not all options may be offered each year). This option is taken in semester two of year two:
- Creating Compelling Content
- Campaigning and Investigative journalism
- Lifestyle and Branded Media Content
- Bi-Media drama
- Television Studio
- Music, Media and Digitalisation
- Digital Content Distribution
- Advanced Visual Communication
- Music Industry Promotional Practices
- Commercial Production for Radio
- Radio Documentary
- Fashion Photography
- Gender, Sexuality and the Body
- Comedy in the Media and Popular Culture
- Perspectives on Community and Alternative Media
- Race, Ethnicity and the Media
- Media and Materiality
- Fandoms and Subcultures
- Communities of Practice: Culture, Heritage and Space
- Film Cultures
- Media Censorship and Regulation
- Celebrity Culture
- Digital Storytelling
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, theoretically and professionally-informed project, exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. This is your chance to align your practice with your specific career aspirations in the music industries. You will have the option to choose between undertaking an extended piece of academic research or an extended professional project.
This core Level 6 module is delivered in Semester 1, over 10 taught weeks, and comprises parallel specialist media production workshops.
The workshops will include both practical and theoretical elements, and will build on the technical, editorial and critical skills you learnt earlier in the course, taking them to a more professional level. The approach is practice-led, with theoretical knowledge applied. Depending on the specialism, you may further develop skills in operating particular technical equipment and specialist software, as well as developing your editorial ideas, and ability to develop, plan and organise activities. Each workshop will be situated in its media industry context, both nationally and internationally, and will help improve your employability, as potential creative industry workers. You will identify a target audience for your work, and create a cross-media/multi-media product/s in order to help engage your audience.
This research-intensive module provides a space for you to think critically about key issues and cutting-edge developments in the contemporary music industries. Working collaboratively with the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies (BCMCR), BCMCR staff and leading external researchers/academics will present and discuss their current research projects, to help inform your knowledge of issues and debates within the music industries.
This module prepares you for your transition from academia to the professional music industries. Through a series of lectures, workshops and masterclasses you will develop practical employability skills such as CV and professional profile building and interview preparation. You will critically reflect on how the previous three years of skills, knowledge and experience gained on the programme, have developed your professionalism.
This course is focused on music enterprise and entrepreneurship, encouraging you to be creative and innovative.
While developing skills to enable you to work in a number of areas of the music industries, the focus on entrepreneurship reflects the current industries landscape where the music industries is looking towards Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide niche products and services to the wider music industries.
Across each of the undergraduate degree courses there is an equal emphasis on production, theory and professional studies.
Classroom activities and projects
During your studies you will have opportunities to undertake a range of learning activities that include producing music media content and writing reports and essays that are informed by research. These include such activities as setting up a record label, putting on live music events, developing and delivering a music industries conference. Working collaboratively with local and international industry and academic partners. Conducting academic and industry facing research into the contemporary music industries and their cultures.
Birmingham School of Media also has an established and inclusive research culture that promotes dialogue and collaboration between staff and students. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.
Trips and visits
Over the course of your studies you will have the opportunity to attend a range of music industries conferences and events. In recent years music industries students have had the chance to attend Liverpool Sound City – one of the UK’s biggest music industries professional conferences – We Are Robots – a conference and festival based in London’s Brick Lane which discusses and explores the increasing influence of digital technologies on music, and Off the Record – a multi-venue live music event and conference in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Each year we offer the George Jackson Travel Bursary to an outstanding graduate from across our courses that puts forward an interesting proposal to travel. Past winners include Laura Stubbs, a graduate with a passion for Eastern European puppetry, film-making and animation, who visited the Czech Republic to help gain an understanding of the surroundings that have influenced some of the country's greatest animators.
Enhancing your employability skills
DHLE data indicates that the average rate for those studying Music Industries in the Birmingham School of Media in employment or further study was 90% between 2011/12 and 2015/16.
Previous students have gone on to a number of roles within the music industry including work with music collection agencies, industry support bodies, live music promoters, record labels, and within music journalism and music media broadcasting.
Organisations include: NEC group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, Nuclear Blast Records, Punch Records, Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham Symphony Hall, O2 Arena, Birmingham International Jazz festival, Shambala Festival, Supersonic Festival, Swingamajig, British Phonograph Industry, Sony Music, PPL PRS Ltd, Radio 1, Radio 1 Xtra.
As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.
Allied with these course-specific experiences, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:
- Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
- Career planning and decision making
- Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
- Developing portfolios
- Networking with employers
- Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship
Links to Industry
As a BA (Hons) Music Industries student you will benefit from our membership of UK Music’s Music Academic Partnership. As one of only 17 institutions nationally, our MAP status is designed to maximise the employability of students; and future-proof the music industry by ensuring new entrants have the right mix of experience and skills most needed. As a MAP member, our curriculum is shaped and informed by the needs and wants of the industry itself, to ensure that you are developing the right skills, knowledge, and experience for a career in music.Through our membership, you will gain access to masterclasses from leading industry professionals, opportunities to get involved in industry research, networking and information events and input and support into your future career.
Birmingham Music Coalition
We play a key role within the Birmingham Music Coalition (BMC), a music industries lobbying group made up of, and linked to, a number of influential local, regional and national music industries organisations. We also have an industry advisory panel whose membership includes international music industries professionals from Warner Music UK and Kobalt Music Group. They advise and inform us of current music industries developments and practices, to ensure our students are developing the skills, knowledge and experiences that are sought by industry employers.
Placements and work-experience are a core part of BA (Hons) Music Industries, and the ethos of the Birmingham School of Media more broadly. As a student on the course you will be required to source and undertake relevant placements (supported and guided by our tutors and professional networks), and to draw upon these experiences in the work that you are producing within your taught modules.
In recent years our students have secured work placements with a range of key music industries organisations including:
- Sony Music Group
- Universal Music Group
- Warner Music UK
- O2 Academy
- Association of Independent Festivals
As well as innovative and exciting local businesses such as:
- Punch Records
- Supersonic Festival
- Birmingham International Jazz
- Blues Festival
- Birmingham Music Archive
- Home of Metal
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.
Live Music Adviser, PPL PRS Ltd and winner of the UK Music Outstanding Graduate of the Year Award 2019
"Since graduating I’ve continued my freelance writing and have been contributing to Clash and tmrw magazine, where I secured cover interviews/photo shoots with Niall Horan and Little Mix whist working as Music Editor.
I now work at PPL PRS Ltd as a Live Music Adviser, ensuring venues are correctly licensed. This involves collecting royalties for events that they host by conducting research, collecting setlists, and cracking down on secondary ticketing by auditing online. Though I work full-time I still make time to freelance for the PR team at Universal Music and create press releases and biographies for new artists. A recent example is Ramz, whose single topped the Spotify new release charts off the back of the campaign.”
Marketing Manager, Warner Bros Records
"My time on the Music Industries course at Birmingham City University equipped me with the skills needed to get a job at a major record label. A balanced mix of essential theory and tangible practical assignments set me up with the perspective and knowledge sought after by employers within the industry. The staff on the course are seasoned professionals with years of experience, spanning multi-disciplines within the music business. Most notably for me, the practical project in the third year gave me the opportunity to build something that I was able to demonstrate within the interview process for a graduate job, giving me the standout quality needed to succeed in securing the role."
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:
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations
The UK remains one of the world's leading study destinations for international students.
The first-class experience offered by universities are reflected in the world’s largest survey of international students. International students are more likely to recommend the UK than any other leading English-language study destination.
Facilities and Staff
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.
With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
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.
Dr Matt Grimes
Course Director BA (Hons) Music Industries, Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio
Dr Matt Grimes is the course director for the BA (Hons) Music Industries course and a Senior Lecturer in Music Industries and Radio, with over 13 years teaching experience in higher education. In 2020, he received his PhD exploring ageing and identity in British anarcho-punks. Prior to joining the Birmingham School of Media and the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) as an academic, Matt worked within the music industries, for a number of DiY record labels, tour manager, music promoter and within music festival production. Matt also worked extensively in the Midlands, Wales and the South West as a freelance radio trainer/producer. He manages internal and external student employability and industry engagement projects and collaborative provision with franchise colleges and external educational stakeholders.More about Matt
Lecturer in Music Industries
Dr Iain A. Taylor is a Lecturer in Music Industries, and a researcher within the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. As an educator, Iain teaches primarily on the BA (Hons) Music Industries degree, leading modules which explore the cultural and emotive value of music, and how this translates into the business models and intellectual property rights of the music industries.
Prior to entering academia, Iain worked variously in events marketing and PR, music tuition, and as a multi-instrumentalist musician. As a performing artist he has released music on a variety of Scottish independent labels including Glasgow-based indie label Olive Grove Records, Hebridean micro-label Lost Map, and the now defunct Fife-based Fence Records.More about Iain
Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies
Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.More about Dave
Dr Sarah Wood
Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English
Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.
She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.More about Sarah
Ross leads the journalism pathway. He was previously a sports writer, sub-editor, page designer, news reporter, web editor, features writer and editor, before leading Trinity Mirror's digital programme in the Midlands. He also founded and currently runs award-winning hyperlocal website, LichfieldLive, which has been used an example of excellence in the hyperlocal scene.More about Ross