What if you could pursue a degree that will both support your living costs AND finance your music career? Long gone are the days when you could only be a waiter or bartender to fulfill your music ambitions. Time passes, social media grows, and there is no need for you NOT to pursue an academic path out of the fear of missing out on music opportunities. Quite contrarily chances are that you will INCREASE significantly the odds of making it in the music business by following one of the 10 “real” degrees that are easily transferable to a full-time music career.
10. Online/Digital Marketing
Simplistically put, marketing is promoting. Online marketing is promoting, usually with the intent of selling, a certain product or service by making use of digital platforms and devices like PCs, phones, tablets, etc. 99% of today’s businesses acquire their customers online which means now, more than ever, every single company out there needs great marketing specialists. Record labels included. Learn how to market anything and you’ll know how to market your music. Your pockets will thank you too as nobody will be able to fool you into paying them to promote you.
9. Consumer Behavior
You ever wondered how come the young kids were completely hypnotized by the likes of Tekashi69 when he was doing music 2 years ago? How about only certain people buying Crocs shoes religiously while the big majority despises the look and feel of those things? What about only a certain percentage of the population bothering to pay for a movie ticket while many prefer the comfort of their home and the small screen of their laptop? The answer to these questions will easily be provided by someone with a degree in Consumer Behavior. If you apply the general knowledge of the field to a music career, you will be able to identify who is most likely to accept your music and how to engage those fans in further promoting your releases and indirectly building your brand equity.
8. Graphic Design
99% of the images you see around have been created by a graphic designer. From logos, website layouts, album covers, promo banners, real-life advertisements, intros, outros, brochures, flyers, and just about anything in between, are all means of communicating information through visual means. That is in essence the job of a graphic designer. The great news is that being one will save you unbelievable amounts of time and money when you decide to professionally pursue your music career. Just think about it! Retouched photos, single covers, vinyl art, cd packaging, merch design, website presentation, social media banners, all will be second nature to you and you will have a lot more time and resources to invest in the actual music.
7. Sound Engineering
Do we need to say more? Considering that for a professionally mixed and mastered song you have to shell over $500, getting a degree in sound engineering will guaranteedly put money in your pockets. New artists needing professional services are neverending and with some basic advertisement and a decent website, you can very quickly get your first clients and feed yourself while also financing your own music ambitions. A degree in sound engineering comprises the study of the technical equipment to produce and record compositions, curating each instrument separately, editing and mixing the obtained tracks, and enhancing the overall sonic quality to achieve a high-end product ready for public release.
Branding and marketing are intertwined and you will almost never study one without the other. However, the professionals of the world decided to split the two. Branding generally focuses on the identity of the product while marketing is continuously adjusting your selling strategies to maximize the return per investment in said product. So branding is step one, marketing – step two for any business, service, product, musician. Branding is so monumental in the music business that NO artist in this world would have ever made it without proper branding.
For some reason, not many official sources associate psychology with sales and business, when as a matter of fact, it is the FOUNDATION of it all. Respectively, if you are educated in this field, the deep knowledge of the human brain, instincts, emotions, reward systems, automated and triggered responses will give you a tremendous asset in everything you do as a musician. You can very well be a psychotherapist who plays music in his free time and strategically positions himself to expand his fanbase. This is no different than being the president of America and playing golf in your free time. Don’t let society trick you into thinking you can’t do more than one job at the same time.
4. Business Management
This is a tough one but it will expand your knowledge way beyond the usual indie artist’s perspective. When you have a realistic grasp of how business objectives are accomplished and what needs to be done and in what order to achieve X result, every single dollar spent and minute invested will have been with purpose and reason behind it. From overseeing employees, tracking productivity levels, budgeting, and setting deadlines, a degree in business management will put your music career on the fast track. Not to mention that many artists who have made it decide to pursue this degree even in their 40s as it is essential to successful entrepreneurship.
3. Global Sales
If you see yourself marketing your music across the borders of the country you live in, a degree in global sales is perfect for you. The people specialized in this industry are capable of monitoring the entire sales cycle, strategizing the proper territories for global expansion, finding new audiences in other countries, managing and engaging in new partnerships, and maintaining great relationships with customers.
Think about press releases. And blogs pitches. And letters to sponsors. Also long-form content like guest posts and written interviews. Add basic contract forms to it. Yes, all are things you will have to either pay someone else to do it for you or do it yourself. A degree in communications will cover all these aspects and simultaneously help you find a well-paid job to support your music career.
Sister with number 10 and mother of all, a degree in advertising will offer you a multitude of skills for monetizing both your talent and anyone else’s products. This particular field entails detailed knowledge in copywriting, psychology, consumer behavior, marketing research, branding fundamentals, graphic design, data analysis, budgeting, and even business management. It is a wide array of all the other fields summarized into one. Depending on what institution you opt to attend, this just might be the best option for knowing enough of everything else on this list under one single degree.
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