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Obtaining a Business Degree to Work in the Entertainment Industry

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

The entertainment industry is a rapidly growing, extremely competitive industry to work in. It contains so many types of jobs, and can prove to be both gratifying and lucrative. I am constantly reading and watching interviews about people in the entertainment industry who have benefited from their business degrees, or who wished they went to school for business. This caught my attention, especially because I myself am working towards a business degree and plan to work in the entertainment industry. I reached out to two current UBWA members, Delaney Hoye and Sofie Clough, to further discuss why so many future entertainment industry workers are pursuing business degrees and the benefits of understanding the business world when working in this artful industry.


To begin, I want to share a little bit about Delaney and Sofie and why they are pursuing business degrees to work in entertainment. Hopefully this can provide some insight on what circumstances indicate a good reason to study business. Delaney is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Media Production. With this degree, she wants to work for a large company such as Disney’s Marvel Studios and work for their marketing and promotional team. Delany has a passion for production and hands-on work, so her goal is to incorporate her editing and production skills into a marketing position. She added that marketing is “such a broad topic and you can utilize it for many different career paths.” This is important to note as it can be difficult to break into this industry. With her business degree, Delaney is able to have a back-up plan and be more flexible with the types of jobs she can work.


Sofie, a marketing major, has a passion for music, which is why she has also taken on a minor in Music, Media, and Enterprise. In a perfect world, Sofie wants to be a tour manager for live shows and travel the world. Her main reason for majoring in business is to have “a broader foundation of knowledge to work off of.” Similarly to Delaney, Sofie understands how competitive this line of work is, and she also doesn’t want to tie herself down to only one possible future. As a marketing major, Sofie is glad to have more career choices ahead of her, but she is still able to work towards her goal by minoring in something more specific to the music industry.


I asked both Delaney and Sofie why they chose a business degree as opposed to one in music or film. They both answered in a similar way. A business degree provides broader opportunities and skills that an arts degree can not promise. Understanding what contracts you are signing, and what deals you are making is an integral part to surviving in the entertainment industry. Sofie explains, “my passion is for the live entertainment piece of the music industry rather than the creation of music and thus I did not feel like understanding the theories and other knowledge behind music would be as beneficial to me as a business degree.” Sofie makes an important distinction between the artist and those who support and work with the artist. Both of these roles are major moving pieces in entertainment, but Sofie explains that those who are working with the artist benefit greatly from a business degree. This includes managers, marketers, producers, etc. These are the people that take the art, give it a platform, and help it be consumed by mass amounts of people.


For the artist, it seems more beneficial to pursue a degree in music theory, or theater/film in order to perfect their craft. However, that doesn’t mean a business background would not help them succeed. Sofie talks about how small creators often have to promote their own work. Understanding advertising and finance can be really helpful to these up-and-coming artists. Delaney agrees that anyone who wants to work in this industry will be better off with knowing the tricks and trades of the business world. She notes, “no matter where you work, business plays a large role.”


The biggest reason why a good business foundation is crucial to the entertainment industry is because both industries are interconnected. Sofie explains that “understanding the current consumer markets is at least 80% of the entertainment industry and therefore having some knowledge of how to interpret and predict these markets will really take you far in this industry.” Understanding what the consumers want is the foundation of entertainment. If you are writing a script for a superhero blockbuster film, you need to think about what the viewers want to see, and write powerful scenes that make people want to come back and watch the film again. As a music producer, you need to look at trends and figure out if a dance pop song is going to hit the charts, or if you should be shifting towards rap in order to grow your listeners.


According to Delaney, “you need to understand what audiences are looking for and how you can offer it to them.” This is the foundation of what we, as business majors, learn in our marketing classes. It is important to be able to hold your own in this stressful industry and figure out what works and what doesn’t. The strategies you can learn in a business program can give a competitive edge to knowing what is going to turn a profit, what is going to garner more views, and what is going to give this project more attention than the competition.


Thank you for reading this post! If you are thinking about pursuing a career in the entertainment industry, I hope you were able to gain some insight into the benefits of studying business. Also, I want to thank Delaney and Sofie for sharing their thoughts on this topic. If you have any further questions or want to discuss more about the benefits of a business degree in the entertainment industry, you can email me at litzler.7@osu.edu.

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