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Kogod School of Business Named Top Music Business School by Billboard

This prestigious ranking comes as Kogod's Business & Entertainment program celebrates 10 years since its founding

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Kogod Billboard Announcement

American University announced today that the Business and Entertainment Program at its Kogod School of Business has been named to Billboard's 2023 Top Music Business Schools List, which recognizes the best entertainment programs across the globe.

The Business and Entertainment (BAE) Program at Kogod was launched in 2013 by entertainment industry veteran John Simson. In addition to a wide variety of classes on business and entertainment, the program prioritizes experiential learning, which involves trips to entertainment hubs such as New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, and SXSW in Austin. As part of these trips, students have the opportunity to gain firsthand insight into their future careers by visiting film studios, record labels, management companies, agencies, promoters, business managers, streaming services, and more. Since its first graduating class in 2015, the BAE Program has graduated more than 200 students who have gone on to work at the highest levels of the entertainment industry around the world. For example, this year, BAE Program graduate Zack Borson, now an agent at Creative Artists Agency, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Music.

The BAE Program was founded by Professor John Simson, who has decades of experience in the music and entertainment industry as a recording artist, manager, and lawyer. A leader in the battle for artists' rights and their ability to be paid for their work online, Simson was the Founder and Executive Director of SoundExchange, which has collected and distributed over $10B in royalties from internet and satellite radio services on behalf of recording artists and record labels. He also received an Emmy nomination for his music supervision of the PBS series, "American Roots Music."

"I am extremely proud of the growth of the Business and Entertainment Program that we've seen over the past decade," said Professor Simson. "This ranking by Billboard is proof of the quality of the education that we offer to our students at Kogod, the value of our amazing graduates, and the impact that they have at their companies."

"The BAE Program is one of the fastest-growing degree programs at Kogod, and in just 10 years it has blossomed into one of the most elite programs of its kind anywhere in the world," said Kogod School of Business Dean David Marchick. “This incredible achievement is made possible by the dedication and expertise of Professor John Simson, other faculty colleagues and the immeasurably talented group of former practitioners and educators that he has brought into this impactful program.”

The BAE Program has an array of seasoned faculty with a wealth of firsthand experience in the entertainment industry. Linda Bloss-Baum, who previously served as senior vice president at SoundExchange, now serves as assistant program director for the BAE program. She has held several senior positions at Time Warner, Inc., Warner Music Group, and NBC Universal/Universal Music Group. Also part of the BAE Program faculty: Stacy Merida, former president and owner of The MERIDA Group, a marketing business consulting firm based in Brentwood, Tennessee. Her clients included SONY Music Entertainment, BET, Integrity Music, and Warner Bros. Records. She previously served as vice president of marketing for SONY Music Entertainment in New York.  The program has drawn on adjunct professors around the country with experience in music, television, film and radio, including Jesse Kirshbaum (Nue Agency), Jonathan McHugh (New Line Cinema and Def Jam Records) and Ryan Lehning (SoundExchange), among others.

Founded in 1894, Billboard is a globally recognized entertainment publication. Its chart rankings, such as the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard 200, are considered the definitive validator of success in the music industry. Billboard’s Top Music Business Schools List is compiled based on industry recommendations, alumni information, and previous news coverage.

Learn more about the Business and Entertainment Program at the Kogod School of Business here.