Bruce Burch is developing a new entertainment management program at Brenau University in Gainesville. Burch, a Georgia songwriter who has penned hits for Reba McIntyre, Barbara Mandrell, George Jones and others, founded similar music business and entertainment business programs at the University of Georgia (2006) and Kennesaw State University (2010).
“At Brenau, we’ll be broadening the program to include music, sports and entertainment, because there has been so much convergence of these fields. All of them require people with social media, accounting and management skills,” he said.
Entertainment is much broader than most people realize. Burch noted that one textbook lists book publishing, music, theater, dance, games, casinos, theme parks and museums as part of the entertainment industry.
The program, which launches in January, will consist of a concentration of four courses offered through the College of Business and Mass Communication. It will be open to Brenau students in business or nonbusiness majors.
“No country in the world does entertainment better than the United States. It’s one of our top exports,” Burch said. “Even people who get into the industry on the creative side need business skills. And for every star, there are hundreds of positions in the technical, production, business and marketing side of the business.”
Burch, who moved to Nashville to write songs after graduating from UGA and later started music publishing companies, wishes he had paid closer attention in his college business classes.
“I had to learn my skills through trial and error, and error and error, but today students can get their skills in college and by interning in the field,” he said.
“Not only will [Burch] be able to deliver course content that will be relevant and practical for those considering a career in the entertainment industry, but also he will able to generate internships and other work opportunities so students can gain much-needed, real-world experience while completing their studies,” said Bill Lightfoot, dean of the College of Business and Mass Communications at Brenau.
Burch pointed out that students have ample opportunities to test their skills with internships in Atlanta and through his contacts in Nashville.
“The Falcons training camp is close by for sports management students, and Atlanta is home to CNN, Turner Broadcasting and other film and music studios for students interested in the entertainment industry,” he said.
The job outlook in Georgia is bright for people in entertainment.
“Thanks to advantageous tax credits for production companies, the number of film, gaming and music companies is growing in Georgia. Companies have come to rely on this state for the trained work force they need,” Burch said.
To learn more about Brenau’s music, sports and entertainment management program, call 770-531-3186 or go to www.brenau.edu.
Other academic programs that prepare students for business or technical careers in music or entertainment include:
The Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program at Kennesaw State University, 770-794-7670, www.ksumebus.com.
The UGA music business certificate program, 706-542-7668, www.terry.uga.edu/musicbusiness.
Georgia Institute of Technology, master’s degree in music technology, 404-385-7642, www.music.gatech.edu.
Georgia State University, bachelor’s degrees in music recording technology or in music management, 404-413-5900, www.music.gsu.edu.