MTSU music business program again praised as one of world's best

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Natasha Branch, a graduate student working toward her Master of Fine Arts degree in recording arts and technology, adjusts a recording in the MIDI Lab in MTSU's Bragg Media Building in this file photo. MTSU's recording industry program has been included in The Hollywood Reporter's "Top 25 Music Schools" list for a second year. (MTSU file photo by Darby Campbell)

MTSU's Department of Recording Industry is once again on an international list of acclaimed music industry schools touted by The Hollywood Reporter that includes Juilliard, Berklee, the Seoul Institute for the Arts and the Conservatoire de Paris.

The department -- plus its music business program -- is No. 17 on the magazine's "Top 25 Music Schools 2015," which is online at and in the Dec. 2 edition of The Hollywood Reporter.

The publication's editors, who compiled the list, focus on academia's attempt to balance "art vs. commerce" by teaching students who want to use their creativity to make a living.


"MTSU isn't ashamed to boast about its focus on the practical side of the music industry with its major in music business in the Department of Recording Industry," the listing reads.

"With faculty members hailing from every corner of the music business, students get the opportunity to hobnob with industry professionals and gain experience in working on and around major record and performance projects happening right on their doorstep in Nashville."


The Hollywood Reporter, which regularly ranks entertainment-industry programs at universities around the world for their educational quality and student job preparedness, lauded MTSU's recording industry program in its "Top 25 Music Schools 2014" list this time last year.

This year's accolade specifically mentions department chair Beverly Keel and once again singles out alumni Gary Overton, former Sony Music Nashville chairman and CEO, and multi-Grammy-winning producer Blake Chancey.

It incorrectly cites multiplatinum-selling songwriter Rick Carnes as current coordinator of the department's commercial songwriting program, however. Grammy-nominated songwriter Odie Blackmon, an MTSU alumnus, has led the program since fall 2014.

Recording industry undergrad majors in the College of Media and Entertainment at MTSU can focus on audio production, commercial songwriting or music business. A Master of Fine Arts degree in recording arts and technologies prepares MTSU graduate students for advanced work in audio production, recording and integrated electronic media.

The recording industry department, which is regularly included in top-program listings around the world, also collaborates with MTSU's School of Music on a "music industry" minor concentration that allows students to minor in music-industry entrepreneurship or recording industry.

Almost 20 MTSU alumni or former students and faculty from around the university have been nominated for Grammy Awards in the last five years, and seven have won Grammys so far. The annual Country Music Association Awards regularly include nominations for MTSU-trained professionals, including several repeat contenders.

The Department of Recording Industry also recently became the first program in the country to exclusively use the PhantomFocus System of studio monitoring equipment. Seven PhantomFocus Systems are now in use in studios in the Bragg Media Building to give undergrad and graduate students more control over their audio mixes.

You can learn more about MTSU's recording industry program, part of the College of Media and Entertainment, at

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Department of Recording Industry, MTSU, MTSU news, Murfreesboro news
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