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Kogod Announces New
BS in Business and Entertainment Degree 

John Simson

Prominent entertainment lawyer and founder of SoundExchange John Simson will serve as program director for the new BS in Business and Entertainment.

Netflix mined its customer data to produce the original series "House of Cards," a Kevin Spacey-driven hit. YouTube is now the second biggest search engine. The iTunes store turned 10, but its longevity is threatened by the growth of streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora. 

Recognizing the fast pace of the entertainment world, the Kogod School of Business is introducing a BS in Business and Entertainment (BAE) degree program, which will enroll new students for Fall 2013. 

"Today's students have grown up with entertainment in every facet of their life," said Jesse Boeding, Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Programs. "The BAE provides a context to learn the functional business application in an industry that they are familiar with." 

The Script 

Unique in the Washington, D.C. area, the BAE degree will give students a strong foundation of academic coursework and offer hands-on experiential learning. The program consists of three components: a business core, an entertainment core, and a specialization track in one of four areas. 

The business core provides basic business knowledge and skills in areas such as accounting, finance, management, marketing, information technology, and strategy. 

The entertainment core focuses on the economic, legal, and business aspects of the industry, preparing students for work in the competitive arena. 

In the entertainment specialization track, students will dive into a particular field of interest. Specialization areas include: 

  • Agency 
  • Audio technology 
  • Music performance 
  • Film 

In consultation with the Program Director, students may also create self-designed specializations. 

The Director 

John Simson, a prominent entertainment lawyer who founded and served as Executive Director of SoundExchange, will serve as program director. 

Simson's career has included stints as a manager (Mary Chapin Carpenter was a former client) and special advisor to Harry Belafonte on music and television projects. He received an Emmy nomination for his music supervision of the PBS series "American Roots Music," is president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Grammy organization, and currently serves on a number of boards. 

Simson was at the forefront of the battle for artist’s rights to be paid in the digital era. 

"Almost every week there is something new…the ecology of change has been dramatic," Simson said. "But while big studios are at risk, there is still a lot of growth in the industry in other forms." 

He has taught at the Kogod School of Business for two years; prior to that he taught at American University’s Washington College of Law for about five. 

The Plot 

Select entertainment core courses include: 

  • The Entertainment Industry: Structure and Business Models
  • Publishing and Copyright 
  • Social Networking, Social Media and Web 2.0 
  • Entertainment law 
  • Protecting the Creative Class in the Face of Technological Innovation 

The BAE program replaces the BS in Business and Music (BAM) degree program. Current Kogod students may transfer into the program in consultation with academic advising. 

Students will see new courses beginning in Fall 2013, including Protecting the Creative Class, which will be taught by a former Time Warner Inc. executive recruited by Simson.