Billboard Magazine Names Occidental College a 2023 ‘Top Music Business School’

Rod Leveque Photo by Marc Campos

Billboard magazine has again ranked Occidental College in its annual list of Top Music Business Schools, praising the College for a music program that will solidly position graduates for careers in an increasingly complex music industry.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Occidental has made Billboard’s list, which includes programs at 41 colleges and universities in North America and Europe.

“Occidental’s music business courses are embedded within its liberal arts curriculum, and many of the students in music department classes major or double-major in other disciplines such as economics, math, politics, chemistry, philosophy and physics,” Billboard said about the program. “The school’s location gives students access to a capital of the music industry, providing immersive education through internships and other opportunities.”

Billboard selects schools for its ranking through executive recommendations, alumni information provided by honorees from multiple power lists, information requested from each school, and a decade of reporting on these programs.

“The colleges and universities here offer impressive opportunities for students seeking an edge in music-industry careers—running campus record labels, devising business plans, volunteering at top festivals, traveling to major music industry events and meeting with leading artists and executives,” the magazine said.

Oxy’s music program has grown significantly over the past decade to become the sixth largest program at the College, with 18 seniors projected to graduate this year and 26 on track for next year.

Oxy alumni include such prominent music industry figures as former Warner Music Group CEO Steve Cooper ’68; Charlie Cohen ’78, president of TV, film & live theater at Warner Music Group; manager Ian Montone ’89 (Jack White, LCD Soundsystem); music attorney John Branca ’72, Billboard’s 2016 Lawyer of the Year; music attorney Richard Leher ’66 (Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam); Welz Kaufmann ’83, president and CEO of Chicago’s Ravinia Festival; and the late Guy Carawan ’49, musical director of Tennessee’s Highlander Folk School, credited with turning “We Shall Overcome” into a civil rights anthem.