What Can You Do With a Degree in Music Production?

If you have a passion for sound or love seeing a great show come together, you might be What Can You Do With a Degree in Music Production? Live Show, Music Business, Productionconsidering a degree in music production.

There are plenty of career opportunities available after you graduate, whether your interest lies with:

Below, we’ll break down what you learn in these types of programs, the positions available and what you can expect with an entry-level job in the music industry.

Live Sound and Show Production

In a live sound and show production program, you can expect to learn how to enhance an artist’s performance and create the atmosphere that draws crowds to shows.

There are hundreds of details that make a production a reality, and industry pros have to work behind the scenes to make sure things come off right. Their duties can include:

  • Evaluating acoustics
  • Setting the audio levels
  • Arranging lighting and timing of effects
  • Routing electronics
  • Setting up video

The people who make these concerts, videos and events memorable have the technical and artistic know-how to bolster a performance through sights and sounds.

Those who graduate from a live sound and show production program may be able to find an entry-level position as a sound engineering technician or audio and visual equipment technician.

Sound engineering technicians are typically employed in film and video or recording industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They run the machines and equipment used to record, synchronize, mix or reproduce music, voices or sound effects. The median salary for the position is about $46,500.

Meanwhile, audio and visual equipment technicians set up and operate the gear for concerts, sporting events and other functions. Working in a variety of fields—from movies to radio and television—they make a median annual salary of $41,250.

Music and Entertainment Business

Those who want to get a degree in music and entertainment business should have an interest in the nuts and bolts side of the industry.

No one starts out as Puffy, but to get a start in the business of music and entertainment, you’ll need training in several behind-the-scenes aspects of the field:

  • Shopping a project
  • Intellectual property rules
  • Contract law
  • Communication and networking
  • Strategic branding

Those with the right education and business skills can find a host of opportunities in music and entertainment.

Related: Top 10 Money Makers in the Music Business

There are jobs in corporate environments or as freelancers, and your training should help you learn how to select artists, market events, brand a company and more.

Audio Production and Engineering

An audio production and engineering program is meant to give you the skills you need to record and mix songs in a studio.

Being a production engineer takes more than having a good ear for a hot track. You’ll need technical abilities in modern recording technology:

  • Session management
  • Mixing
  • Editing
  • Microphone technique
  • MIDI sequencing
  • Song composition
  • Programming

The education in audio production and engineering tracks to some of the same jobs as a live sound and show production program, but the focus is more on the studio than the arena.

Digital music production is changing every year, and getting into a program that is updated with the latest developments is vital to your success.


There are many parts of the music production industry, and hopefully you now have a better sense of the education you receive in related programs and what you’d do as a pro in the field.

Not everyone can be Katy Perry, but there are countless others who help artists produce songs, set up gigs and performances, and make the music that moves the world.

If you have a passion for music and how the industry runs, consider getting a degree, which can put you on the right track to a rewarding career.


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IPR Students Bring Their Passion to the Community

By Aneesa Adams

At IPR, students learn not only about production, engineering and the entertainment business, they’re also learning about the importance of community.  This quarter a group of IPR students decided to share their knowledge of audio production with the surrounding community.

The students pooled their resources to gather different instruments and a computer to bring to The Waite House, a local after-school program for children. With their equipment, the students ran a session on the spot and presented to the kids what they had learned so far at IPR. This showed the children that you don’t need access to a professional studio or even music theory knowledge to start creating your own music.

The presentation was informed and effective, but most importantly, it was a lot of fun! In fact, student Julius Williams has made arrangements with the charity to continue volunteering there after class has ended.

The next step was to bring some of the kids to IPR and showcase our amazing facilities. This part of the presentation was extremely effective because we were able to talk about some of the finer points of audio production while keeping the attention by using the various instruments and microphones in the demonstration. The kids really enjoyed playing the instruments and turning the knobs on the board, but I think ultimately it lit a fire inside them that a career in music is a possibility for them.

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IPR Students Show Up and Show Off at Showcase

Story and photos by IPR student Rosalyn Heinemann

As students in a media arts school where it’s easy to lose track of the time of day and what day of the week it is, it’s not too often we are able to come together, hang out, relax and listen to the projects that our fellow students are working on. The Student Advisory Board (SAB) at IPR recognized this issue and realized that being able to show off work, as well as being able to practice performing and networking with other students, is just as important as spending hours in a studio working on a project.

As a result, the SAB spent weeks organizing and promoting a student showcase called Show Up to Show Off, held in Robinson Hall. The main focus of the showcase was that it was created “by the students, for the students.” Students from every degree program were all invited to participate and show off their music, mixes, photography or sound design and post-production work.

What ensued was two hours of laughter, relaxation and amazing performances by IPR’s students. The energy in the room throughout the night was just as engaging and fun as every artist who went up on stage and performed. The students who participated in the showcase showed off all types of original music including spoken word, electronic dance music (EDM), R&B, trip hop and hip-hop. The talented students on stage that night included De’Arris Judkins, Doug Lindberg, Thad Hill, Justin Andersen, Del Sabatogo, Mike Turner, Rodger Bell and Jonathan Baum. This event would not have been as successful as it was if it hadn’t been for them!

It’s safe to say that this kind of relaxing, hilarious and fun student-organized showcase won’t be the last one! There will be plenty more to come in the future — so stay tuned!

Student Jonathan Baum works as DJ

Students Thad Hill and Doug Linburg perform

Librarian Tina Halfman learns to spin tunes

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Winner of “Rising Rockers” Battle of the Bands to Receive Studio Time at the Institute of Production and Recording


Contact: Naomi McDonald, Dir. of Communications
Email: nmcdonald@globeuniversity.edu
Phone: 651-332-8269
Mobile: 651-785-4171  

One grand prize winner will get eight hours with IPR producer 

MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2014) – The Institute of Production and Recording (IPR), 93X and the Pourhouse invite all local bands to enter the 93X “Rising Rockers” competition. The winning band will receive the opportunity to open for an upcoming 93X show, a $1,000 gift card to the Pourhouse and eight hours of studio time with a producer from IPR.

“The Twin Cities is a great community for up-and-coming musicians,” says Norbert Kreuzer, campus director for IPR. “We are all for supporting local bands and providing them with opportunities to reach new audiences.”

Bands are encouraged to submit a video of their best song to 93X by the Sept. 25, 2014 deadline. Online voting will take place Sept. 29 – Oct. 8, and 16 qualifying bands will be chosen to perform on Oct. 12, Oct. 19, Oct. 26 or Nov. 3 at the Pourhouse. The top band each night will compete in the finals on Nov. 9 for the title of “93X Rising Rockers.”

As part of the grand prize, IPR will provide eight hours of studio time with a producer and state-of-the-art equipment at its recording facilities located on campus in downtown Minneapolis. The college offers degrees in audio production and engineering, live sound and show production, music and entertainment business, sound design for visual media, digital video and media production, and interactive media and graphic design.

Visit www.ipr.edu to learn more.


The Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) is part of a Minnesota-based, family-managed network of career colleges and universities. The schools prepare students for successful careers in a wide range of high-demand professions. Through its We Care mission, the Colleges integrate career-focused education with applied-learning to expose students to real-world working environments. The Colleges offer undergraduate, diploma and graduate degree programs in career fields including business and accounting, health sciences, legal sciences, technology, creative media and applied arts. More than 30 programs are available online. For more information, visit www.ipr.edu.


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Meet Matt Koehne: IPR’s lab master

Like many IPR employees, Lab Manager Matt Koehne is an esteemed studio vet, having worked here for 11 years. In fact, his time at the school goes back to when IPR was just a dream.

“I was interning for Master Mix Studios when the idea was forming,” Matt said. Master Mix was a professional recording studio in Minneapolis’s north loop neighborhood that became the centerpiece for the brand new IPR.

Right as IPR was emerging, new technology industry wide was emerging, too, Matt says. Pro Tools was just beginning to become the industry standard, and studios all over were converting analog to digital tools.

Photo by Jessica Hegland

“There had been Pro Tools before, but that’s when studios started gravitating that way,” Matt said.  And IPR was right at the forefront. Matt and the lab team were busy remodeling the old building into a cutting-edge school, adding new equipment and new technologies.

“It was the work hard, play hard attitude,” Matt said.

IPR began using Pro Tools 5.1 and has since gone through the software’s 11 version updates, even acting as a beta test site for one version. But other than improvements in the technology, Matt says the lab has changed very little — its function is still to help students and faculty with gear, speakers, lab equipment and programs.

“We give tutorials and competency tests to allow access to rooms and studios,” Matt said. “I like to think of the lab office as the heart of IPR because we’re there 24 hours a day. I like to think every student will work with lab office at least a few times while at IPR.”

IPR’s lab staff is usually made up of about nine employees under Matt, who became manager of the lab in 2008. Without Matt’s guidance, Dean of Education Rebecca Buller says, it’s hard to imagine where IPR would be.

“Matt is that quiet, steadfast guy who keeps us together,” she said. “Very few people here care more about students really getting educated than Matt.”

In fact, Matt is happy to lend a hand whenever. “He’s always there when you need him,” said Students Account Representative Jason Koskovich. “He even helped take apart my huge, heavy desk just because I wanted my office set up a bit differently. He helped me hang up all my framed posters — he’s just always helpful.”

As manager, Matt says he relies on his staff to be the experts on site; he’s become more of a facilitator than a hands-on guy. But still, he says he loves his job.

“My favorite part of the job is it’s different every day,” he said. “I could never do a regular desk job — I couldn’t be in a cubicle. And the type of person who comes here is what I gravitate toward as far as being an artistic person … I like to think the people and the community we have here is what keeps me here.  We’re one big family.”

HOBBIES: Hunting, camping year-round, yard work

3 ARTISTS ON HIS IPOD: Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, Wilco

ADVICE FOR STUDENTS: “Don’t be afraid to strive for what you want out of this business, but definitely don’t be afraid to expand on that and try something different. Most people that walk through our doors realize that there’s more than just the one or two things that they thought they would do.”

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IPR Student Run Record Label Grows and Plans to Rebrand as Sudden Media

IPR Student Run RecordsThe Institute of Production and Recording (IPR) has supported non-profit Student Run Records since 2008. This arrangement has benefited both students and the community by connecting them through the professional facilities and instructors at IPR. It has allowed IPR students to gain hands-on experience working with artists, recording and releasing music, completing the same type of projects completed at any record label. Members of SRR would find and discover new talent, sign them to the label, then work to help launch their careers to a new level. Through SRR the community gained an avenue for new artists to be heard and recorded. The non-profit is self-supporting, with IPR donating the use of equipment, students, mentors and other resources.

Continued growth in the programs offered at IPR has led to plans to increase the opportunities offered by the non-profit record label. IPR has recently started offering programs in Live Sound and Show Production, Interactive Media and Graphic Design, and Digital Video and Media Production.

Student Run Records board member, Mitch Hare, says the pending name change to Sudden Media and expansion of their projects would work to broaden the scope to allow more students and programs to be included. Sudden Media would promote multimedia production, facilitating the production of film, graphic design, and live sound shows, as well as record releases. Students would gain experience in production as well as artist management, marketing and promotion.IPR Sudden Media

Sudden Media will not be tied to any singular academic program, allowing all the students at IPR to potentially benefit from participating. The idea is to further strengthen the ties between IPR and the community by broadening the potential services offered in other areas of our creative industry.

IPR offers associate degree programs in Audio Production and Engineering, Live Sound and Show Production, Music and Entertainment Business, Sound Design for Visual Media, Interactive Media and Graphic Design and Digital Video and Media Production.

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Top 10 Money Makers in the Music Business

While album sales certainly aren’t what they used to be, there is still plenty of money to be made in the music business.Money makers, earners, music business, who makes the most, musicians, artists

Earnings for top musicians in the game come from a variety of sources: live performances, endorsements, merchandise, digital sales and other revenue streams.

Billboard put together a list of the musicians who earned the most money in 2013, and it’s a familiar (though varied) list. One thing you’ll notice: the bulk of the money they make comes from doing shows—the big-time, high-production events that draw thousands, generate buzz and further the artist’s profile in the business.

Below, we’ve got the list of the top 10, along with some information and background research on each. (You can find Nos. 11-20 on the Billboard website. Scroll to the bottom for the methodology.)

1. Taylor Swift: $39.7 million

The pop-country songstress came in at No. 1 on the Billboard list, with her substantial total buoyed by digital downloads and touring.

The young singer also has several endorsement deals and a massive social media following (43.7 million Twitter followers as of this writing), and her crossover appeal probably contributes to her stellar ranking.

Swift’s official website does a nice job of marketing her music and products, but it’s her touring that really rakes in the cash: $30 million during a six-month U.S. tour, according to Billboard.

2. Kenny Chesney: $32.9 million

Coming in at No. 2 is another country musician, Kenny Chesney, who has sold more than 30 million albums and notched more than 30 top 10 country singles, according to Radio.com.

His 2013 tour was his 10th straight concert series to top 1 million ticket buyers, leading Billboard to dub Chesney “country’s stadium king.”

His stay toward the top of this list may not last, however, as he has no tour dates currently scheduled.

3. Justin Timberlake: $31.4 million

The first pop star to pop up on the list, Justin Timberlake has gone from boy band leader to music mogul, restaurateur and movie star.

Having returned from a hiatus in 2013, Timberlake generated more than $5 million in royalties from digital sales, Billboard reports, and performed 39 times that year.

His popularity is evident by his television and film appearances, and he has a big tour coming up, kicking things off in Australia and New Zealand.

4. Bon Jovi: $29.4 million

With that kind of coin generated in just one year, it makes sense Bon Jovi (above) has been linked to the purchase of the Buffalo Bills.

On the concert circuit, Bon Jovi has been a steady earner, coming in at the top spot for 2013 in terms of revenue from performances, with 90 shows, 90 sellouts and more than 2.1 million people coming to his shows, Billboard notes.

His net worth is estimated at $82 million, according to Forbes.

5. The Rolling Stones: $26.2 millionMoney makers, earners, music business, who makes the most, musicians, artists

If age has taken its toll on this iconic rock group, it’s not showing up in their pocketbooks.

The Rolling Stones continue to be a force when it comes to concerts, selling out every show in 2013.

But Billboard notes that the Stones added a few tracks to the band’s latest greatest-hits album, which sold almost 300,000 hard copies to go along with 1.5 million song downloads.

Mick, Keith and the boys show no signs of slowing down, either. The Stones have several concerts on tap for this fall.

6. Beyoncé: $24.4 million

Arguably the biggest female pop star today, Beyoncé comes in at No. 6 behind the strength of her impressive stage shows, media persona and electronic music sales.

She is a record-breaker when it comes to digital downloads. MTV detailed the iTunes stats for her 2013 self-titled album, which hit 617,213 downloads, tops for a week’s worth of sales for the U.S. iTunes store at the time.

Still, her tour accounted for a big chunk of her total at nearly $20 million, according to Billboard.

7. Maroon 5: $22.2 million

Behind lead singer Adam Levine, whose presence on “The Voice” bolsters the band’s popularity, Maroon 5 had a strong 2013 for song sales, with hits like “Payphone,” “One More Night” and “Daylight.”

But, like the others on this list, it was revenue from tours that raked in the dollars—about $17.6 million, Billboard reports.

If you want to see what the group’s shows are like, they’re coming to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul in the spring of 2015.

8. Luke Bryan: $22.1 million

Country music is well represented in the top 10, with Luke Bryan landing at eighth.

Bryan, who Billboard called the “fastest-rising country star since Taylor Swift,” does well in terms of album sales (2.7 million) and digital downloads (7.6 million tracks).

He hosted the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards with Blake Shelton and scored Entertainer of the Year honors. Bryan is also a hard-working live performer, whose show in St. Paul in spring was lauded by the Star Tribune for its production values (and the country star’s own dance moves).

9. P!nk: $20 millionMoney makers, earners, music business, who makes the most, musicians, artists

The punk-pop singer notched a record 19 consecutive sellouts during shows in Australia, according to Billboard, helping her reach more than $15 million in concert earnings.

P!nk is known for doing complicated stunts during her performances, including bungee-cord jumping during a show at the Target Center earlier this year.

Her digital sales aren’t too shabby either—most notably the No. 1 hit “Just Give Me a Reason.”

10. Fleetwood Mac: $19.1 million

Another old-school band, Fleetwood Mac, rounds out the top 10.

The classic rock group hit 34 cities during its 2013 tour and raked in $17.4 million for the performances, according to Billboard.

Fleetwood Mac released a new studio album, “Extended Play,” its first in a decade, in 2013, as well.


The methodology for the list, from Billboard:

The data used to compile Money Makers was supplied by Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen BDS and Billboard Boxscore. Artists are ranked by U.S. earnings, calculated from touring, recorded- music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming. Due to a lack of data, revenue from sponsor- ship, merchandising and synchronization isn’t included. For album and track sales, Billboard assumed a royalty rate of 20 percent of retail, minus producers’ fees. Billboard treated all streaming revenue as derived from licensing deals and split that to calculate the artist’s take. Billboard applied statutory mechanical rates for album and track sales and Copyright Royalty Board-determined rates or -approved formulas for streaming. For labels’ direct deals with interactive services, Billboard used a blended rate of $0.00525 for audio and $0.005 for video streams. Billboard subtracted a manager’s fee of 10 percent. For box office, each artist was credited with 34 percent of the gross, typically what’s left after the promoter and manager’s cuts and other costs are subtracted.

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New IPR Swag … for Students, by Students

Soon IPR students will be able to show their school pride in colors other than black, thanks to the students in Scott Nelson’s Marketing and Branding class. Through an applied learning project that spanned the past three quarters, students have researched, designed and are now poised to sell brand new IPR T-shirts, hoodies, hats and sweatpants.

IPR student Kelsey Geiger

“It’s exciting to see new gear,” says Nelson. “And when we can team up (the marketing class) with the Event Production class and the accounting class to handle all the details, that’s the home run.”

Students in Nelson’s class began this project three quarters ago, inspired to pump up IPR’s Music & Entertainment Business program. After extensive market research, they developed the slogan, “IPR Means Business!” They chose the colors that research showed students wanted, they determined where to have the products made, and they calculated all costs involved, Nelson says. Finally, they put together a presentation that they gave to the school’s owners — a pitch that was so good, “you couldn’t figure out how to turn it down,” Nelson says.

IPR student Mike Turner

The next challenge was figuring out how to deal with money that would be coming in. To solve this problem, the class set up a PayPal business account and ordered two PayPal Here credit card readers, which attach to the students’ iPads. Any student in the class, plus Nelson and the student accounts office, can now take a credit card, ring up a purchase, and retrieve the item from a locked cabinet.

Buying IPR merchandise has never been easier — and the best part is students are in charge and learning hands-on the skills they’ll need once they become music and entertainment business professionals.

“My ultimate hope is that the students take over selling the merchandise — completely,” Nelson says, “and it becomes a self-sustaining project.”

IPR student Kevin Neilson

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Rainy, On-Location Learning

IPR students work on new Polaris RZR commercial

Bursts of rain fell all day; mud was flying everywhere. Two IPR students and an instructor huddled in the woods, trying to stay warm. And they loved it — because although this was far from the classroom, students Ian McClintock and Jennilee Park were getting the best lesson they could for a career in Sound Design For Visual Media.

IPR students Ian McClintock and Jennilee Park work with SDVM program chair Jeff DesLauriers on location

Ian and Jennilee had been asked by program chair Jeff DesLauriers to assist with recording audio for a Polaris commercial that he’d been hired to do. The spot promoted Polaris’s new RZR model and featured ultimate fighter Adam MacDonald tearing through mud, woods and fields in super-slow motion. There was a New York film crew, catering, paramedics — everything the classroom can’t prepare you for.

“Working as a team was definitely one of my favorite things about this commercial shoot,” Ian says. “While Jeff was ultimately the boss, the three of us would discuss how to approach different shots and throw out ideas to solve some problems, such as placing one of us where we wouldn’t be in the shot.  Since a lot of our work at school ends up taking place isolated in a studio, working with other sound people in the field was a nice change of pace.”

Plus, students learned set etiquette, DesLauriers says, which “you can’t learn in the classroom — it’s got to be trial by fire.”

In addition, throughout the two-day shoot, the students also learned proper techniques for operating and organizing equipment, as well as how work flows on a production set. And here is the important distinction from the classroom: In real-time, students have to understand the order of work flow and the dynamics of working with multiple teams and players.

“They definitely got a taste of New York film crew,” DesLauriers says. “They’re just go-go-go, fast-paced.”

Smaller lessons, too, come out of applied learning experiences like these that can’t be grasped in a class setting. The respect and care given to the “talent” (meaning the actor), the impressive spread of the catering company, and the ever-presence of the paramedics on set — seeing all of this firsthand means students will know what to expect when they land their first job.

All of these intangible lessons are in part why IPR believes so strongly in an applied learning approach to classes. Whether students are learning by doing in a workforce situation, making connections with global applications, applying their knowledge to a nonprofit service or working on hands-on projects in the classroom, they’re headed toward fabulous careers in industries they love.

“I can now say that I have experience,” Ian says. “The hope is that this will make me more attractive to the places where I want to work.”

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‘Grizzly’ Screenwriter Visits IPR Students

Recently, the DV Student Freelance Group hosted a Q & A with “Grizzly screenwriter Jack Reher. Current and future students of IPR, along with IPR staff and students and alumni from other GEN programs watched the trailer for “Grizzly” and were entertained by Reher’s colorful slant on the LA filmmaking/writing experience.

After connecting with IPR’s Digital Video Program Chair Trey Wodele and Admissions Rep Angela Grimsley, Reher also spent an afternoon on the IPR Campus, touring the facilities and having informal chats with students.

Set for release in the coming year, “Grizzly” is directed by Saw V‘s David Hackl. The film stars James Marsden, Billy Bob Thornton, Piper Perabo, Scott Glenn, Adam Beach, Michaela McManus and Kelly Curran. It is the story of “two estranged brothers who reunite at their childhood home in the Alaskan wild. They set out on a two-day hike and are stalked by an unrelenting grizzly bear.” (IMDB)

Reher is a Minnesota born screenwriter who graduated from Richfield High School and the University of Minnesota before going on to AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles. Reher is currently working on the adaptation of IDW’s comic “The Shunned One.” He also co-authored a book for young people, “Rex’d: Welcome to Scholomance,” which was released just last week. Watch for the film adaptation of “Rex’d” as well.

The DVMP Student Freelance Group hosts a series of production and film related events. Upcoming events include the September 18th screening of local filmmaker Chris Newbury’s documentary, “American Heart,” and a FaceTime chat with LA actor Mackenzie Astin, star of the Minnesota-made film “Iron Will.”

IPR students who are interested in getting involved with the club should contact Trey Wodele.

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