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Effective: Summer 2014

Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
4 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will describe the development of music distribution from the earliest sound recordings to digital downloads.
  • A successful student will apply their knowledge of publishing rights to examine the validity and/or possibility of breaching through non-compliance standard music industry contracts.
Description -
Study of legal and business aspects of the music industry. Emphasis on publishing, licensing, and promotion. Copyright law, interaction between songwriters and music publishers, record companies, distributors and the rules that govern them. How music is licensed, service marks, trademarks and patents. The role of lawyers, agents, personal managers, producers and promoters. Licensing and copyright of intellectual properties in the growing multimedia industry and the internet. Synchronization of music in film, video and television. Career development and how major/independent labels market and distribute media.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic tenets of business as currently practiced in the U.S.
  2. Discuss the traditional structure of record companies, and the changes taking place due to the advent of digital delivery.
  3. Discuss and define the role of songwriters in the music industry, including the publishing and licensing of songs both in the U.S. and abroad.
  4. Examine the role of Agents and Managers in the music industry.
  5. Examine the role of ethnic musical styles in the music industry by writing reports on record companies that specialize in culturally diverse styles.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus: access to a CD and DVD player; classroom sound system, screen, overhead projection system.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities; Email address; Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. How music generates income in the entertainment industry.
    1. Publishing and Licensing.
      1. Publishing rights in the US.
        1. Copyright ownership.
        2. Arrangements.
        3. Works for hire.
      2. Licensing musical compositions and arrangements.
        1. Who may license.
        2. Fair use.
        3. Licensing organizations: BMI, ASCAP, SESAC.
  2. Representation in the music industry.
    1. Agents and Personal Managers
      1. Regulations in California.
        1. Conflict of interest.
        2. Licensing of agents.
        3. Talent agencies.
      2. Unions and guilds (American Federation of Musicians, Screen Actors Guild, American Guild of Musical Artists)
Methods of Evaluation -
The student will demonstrate proficiency by:
  1. Written examinations on copyright law in the US since the copyright act of 1976 (and subsequent revisions) as it pertains to musical works.
  2. Proposing written hypothetical publishing scenarios and detailing the legal aspects of such.
  3. Writing contracts that license arrangements of a musical work.
  4. Comparing and contrasting agents and personal managers and the regulations that pertain to them in California, the US, and the world in written essays.
Representative Text(s) -
Baskerville, David. Music Business Handbook & Career Guide, 12th edition: Thousand Oaks, California, Sherwood Publishing, 2012.
Krasilovsky, William. This Business Of Music, 10th Edition: New York, Watson-Guptill Publications 2010.
Written materials provided by instructor.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion using the language of the music business.
  2. In-class viewing of video interviews with music business experts.
  3. Listening to audio examples from 1920 - 1970 that demonstrate elements of copyright law.

Lab Content -
  1. Develop a business plan for a record label.
  2. Design a distribution and marketing plan for an online music distributor.
  3. Create a flowchart for a distribution network handling mixed media.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Write a business plan for a small record label.
  2. Write a review of a concert DVD or live concert focusing on business and marketing strategies employed by the promoters.
  3. Draw up a contract for a group performance at a nightclub with attached rider.