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Sociology & Music Business

Sociology & Music Business Entertaiment Industry Studies Marketing

'Sociology was a wake up call for me, both professionally and personally, as it helped me to look at society with a fresh perspective. This perspective, along with the thinking, writing, and research skills that I developed in Belmont's Sociology department carried over into the way I approach my job as Director, Radio Marketing and Promotion with Spalding Entertainment.'

Denise Nichols, Belmont University graduate, 2003 - Director of Radio Marketing and Promotion, Spalding Entertainment

Clients: Brooks & Dunn, Terri Clark, Pat Green.

How is Sociology Useful in the Entertainment Field?'

Researching Music. Any time art merges with commerce and the need to attract a consumer comes into play, research will soon follow. This is particularly true of the music that makes it way onto the commercial radio airways. Because of the amount of money at stake in the world of radio advertising, radio station ownership groups hope to attract and keep as many listeners as possible. Thus they continually research the music they play to determine their listening audience's likes and dislikes. As a result, the music industry has access to extensive statistical data on the country radio listening audience. This in turn provides a means of extracting data that is useful to a particular artist and making it available to others in an attempt to propel that artist's career forward.

Researching the Consumer. The idea of particular consumers comes with certain cultural and demographic stereotypes. In the case of country music audiences, the stereotype is that they are rural, lower middle class, white, limited post-secondary education, 35-54, etc. To fully accept this stereotype as truth comes with the risk of excluding other potential audiences. Therefore, consumer research projects are frequently commissioned by industry trade organizations, individual companies, and artists. As with music research (see above), gathering data allows us to identify the consumer and trend their patterns over time and in various markets.

Marketing Music. Once the music industry is armed with the above data, they enhance the ability to target market their product and maximize sales.

What Other Advice Do You Have For MUB/EIS Majors?' I had a wonderful time taking classes in Belmont's Sociology program and highly recommend that MUB and EIS students do the same. The professors provided one-on-one guidance and helped me to develop my own skills and interests.

I got something out of all my Sociology classes, but Music Business and Entertainment Industry Study majors would find the following courses particularly useful: Sociology of Music, Politics of Knowledge, Cultural Theory, Introduction to Sociology, Methods, and the Sociology of Popular Culture.