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Music Industry Program Featured on Billboard’s Top List

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, Monmouth University’s Music Industry Program was named one of Billboard magazine’s top music business schools for 2022.

According to its website, “Billboard’s top music business schools are chosen based on industry recommendations, alumni information provided by honorees from our multiple power lists, information requested from each school, and nearly a decade of reporting on these programs.”

Joe Rapolla, MBA, Director of the Music Industry Program and Chair of the Music and Theatre Department, further explained why Monmouth received such distinction.

“As director, I have seen colleagues in the music business take notice of our volume of activities and level of outcomes. Between updating the curriculum so that it is in line with contemporary music businesses, to our partnerships with music and technology companies, agencies, and other venues, to our variety of hands-on, co-curricular programs, such as Blue Hawk Records, we’ve created an unavoidable buzz in the industry,” started Rapolla.

Since its inception in 2013, Monmouth’s Blue Hawk Records (BHR), has made significant advancements as a student-run record label. Just recently, BHR released its 20th studio compilation album, Twenty, featuring an ensemble of student musicians and producers.

Abigail Garcia, President of BHR, said that the personal and creative freedoms students are granted here at Monmouth has contributed to the Music Industry program’s continued advancement.

She began, “What makes Monmouth’s music program so special to me is that each student has a voice when it comes to creating the best possible experience for ourselves. Additionally, every student gets plenty of hands-on experience whether they specialize in production, performance, or on the business side of the industry,” continued Garcia.

Rapolla added, “All of this, together with our unique, interdisciplinary, program which combines Music, Business, and Music Business courses into a one-of-a-kind hybrid program, prepares graduates in a way that distinguishes the Monmouth program.”

According to Rapolla, graduates of the Music Industry program go on to work at top companies both domestically and internationally.

“We have graduates working across the industry, some at record labels, like Warner, Sony and Universal, including all of their subsidiary labels. This doesn’t include the major technology companies and variety of marketing, public relations, and content development agencies our students go on to work for.”

Joe Bognanno, Monmouth alum and Director of Music Publishing Licensing and Partnerships at TikTok, expressed his excitement to see the school earn this recognition. He said,“I’m thrilled to see Monmouth University recognized as one of Billboard’s top music business schools for 2022. I believe this is a testament to the quality and diversity of the curriculum, as well as the emphasis placed on creating early networking opportunities for students.”

Bognanno likewise discussed some of his experience as an undergraduate at Monmouth. He said, “During my time at Monmouth, I was exposed to many different areas of the music business and had the opportunity to connect directly with alumni and others who were already working in the industry.”

Rapolla continued, “The breadth of opportunities within the music industry has grown significantly over the past two decades and goes beyond pure music companies. Our program is designed to convey this to students and prepare graduates to pursue and land these opportunities.”

Last month in coordination with the Alumni Advancement and Career Development offices, 15 alumni visited Woods Theatre to speak with current students and other recent graduates about opportunities in the music and entertainment fields, share career strategies, and networking.

“It was a very successful event. Past events have resulted in students landing internships and jobs after graduation with our network of program alumni,” Rapolla expanded. We give students the opportunity to pursue their field of passion while providing them with a rich and relevant experience that has them graduating with training and experience transferable across entertainment industry categories, both entrepreneurial and corporate.”