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MUSIC 192 - Music Business - William Macpherson

Course:Music Business
Professor:William Macpherson
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


William Macpherson

Hello.  Here is a little background on me.  Officially my first name is William but I go by Bill. I was raised by medical missionary parents in Congo, Central Africa. My classmates in the boarding school I attended were from all over the world so I had an unusual and multi cultural upbringing.   Along the way I learned to speak French and two dialects from Congo, Lingala and Kituba. Upon graduation from high school I moved back to my home state of California to attend university. I received my undergraduate degree from The Berklee College of Music (Boston) in Professional Music and then did a Master’s in Jazz Performance at San Diego State University.  I have been a professional musician for over 40 years and have recorded and toured extensively with my band Native Vibe. Native Vibe plays all original African/Latin jazz fusion music. I also play other styles like blues, rock, pop, soul and other styles of World music. Much of what shapes me as a music teacher was learned from playing those styles in all different kinds of bands.  I also learned from the ground up the Music Business.  I have my own record label and publishing company and continue to perform and record in Southern California.

I take the approach in this class of orienting the material to best lay out how to be a successful independent musician/artist.  I'm an independent artist and much of what I have learned I learned the hard way, by doing it, by making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.  Many of you are already doing music and this course can help steer you.  Some of you might want to own your own label or be an artist manager.  This is the right course for you. I also spend quite a bit of time on publishing as those of you that write and compose music need to protect and profit from the music you create and you don;t want to get ripped off or taken advantage of in your music business dealings.

Course Description

Examines the music business industry as it relates to production, recording, manufacturing, publishing, marketing, copyright and performing rights.

What to Expect in this Course

This course has a weekly topics, a weekly handout and weekly related reading assignments from the textbook. 

There will be a midterm and final exam which will be open note and open book. 

We will meet at the designated class times and I will lecture and lead discussion via zoom. 

I request that students turn their video cameras on so we can all see each other and get to know each other and network over the course of the semester. 

There will be 2 collaborative group projects. One due at the midterm.  This project will be to put together a 6-10 tour for a fictional band or artist.  The other project will be due at the final week and will be a presentation on a successful independent artist chosen by the group you are assigned to.

Plan on asking me any pertinent questions as they might relate to your career.  Your questions are a good starting points for discussions.

Types of Assessments

Midterm exam
Final exam
2 small group collaborative projects

Textbook Information

Textbook Title: Required textbook
The Musician's Business and Legal Guide 5th Edition by
Mark Halloran
ISBN 9781138672970
Paper or eBook $47.16

I recommend that you read each handout thoroughly each week.  I recommend you stay one top of the reading assignments from the textbook as well.  The textbook although it is not required is highly recommended as supplemental reading and resources

Other Relevant Course Information

See the course syllabus.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

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Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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Last updated: 10/18/2021 Sub#: 892