Business and Music

Nov. 14, 2010, 2:28 p.m.

At Stanford, what are all the ways we can learn (about) music? We can have the fun college-music-group-experience with a cadre of a cappella or instrumental enthusiasts. Or a few entrepreneurs might put together a little rock band and make the best of it. Meanwhile, people at CCRMA develop crazy new computer methods. Otherwise, we take instrument, history, theory, and composition lessons in a very classic fashion.

But why not business? The music industry is alive and well, even if they don’t sell CDs anymore. Except Stanford doesn’t pay much attention to that side of the arts in its teaching.

Which is interesting, because a lot of global culture comes out of the mass media, yet Stanford remains on the music-media sidelines. We’ll leave school as decent performers, perhaps simply destined for a local-music hobby of some community choir. But future world leaders of the music industry won’t be Stanford alums in the same way our school has put out robber barons in other industries. Some mad music computer scientists at the Knoll might create some programs that have a big impact akin to FM synthesis, but is all we want to be good for—the next gimmick like autotune?

The GSB is one of the best business schools in the world, so it seems like it would make sense to have some interdisciplinary options between music and business. But the arts have never gotten the same attention at Stanford as those much more lucrative pastimes.

Alas, if only our rival were Berklee, maybe we would diversify our music portfolio a bit more. I love the fact that we have the humanities approach to the arts, with the focus on music as an enrichment to life, rather than as another means to financial success. But it would still be nice to have the option of serious, in-depth training in the technical skills required in the music business (recording, producing, fundraising, promotion, etc, all with a focus on the arts).

In the meantime, have fun with your music group.

Login or create an account

Apply to The Daily’s High School Winter Program

Deadline Extended!