About the Department of Recording Industry

The Department of Recording Industry at MTSU is one of the largest programs of its kind in the world. Boasting world-class faculty, state-of-the-art facilities, renown internship programs and an average enrollment of 1200-1700 students, The Department of Recording Industry's quality is unmatched in recording industry schools worldwide. The program offers a Bachelor of Science degree in one or more of the following concentrations: audio production, music business and commercial songwriting.

The Department of Recording Industry, founded in 1973, is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious music business programs, as evidenced by its consistent ranking on Billboard’s and Hollywood Reporter’s list of top programs globally.

With state-of-the-art facilities, including a new Virtual Reality lab, renowned internship programs, study-abroad opportunities, and an average enrollment of approximately 1,150 students, the program’s quality is unmatched in recording industry schools worldwide. In addition, Forbes magazine ranks MTSU as one of the Top 50 schools in the nation for being a “Best Buy” in higher education.

The department offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Recording Industry, with concentrations in Music Business and Commercial Songwriting, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Audio Production.  We also offer a Master of Fine Arts degree in the Recording Arts and Technologies, which is one of only a few of its kind in the world, and an M.B.A. with a Music Business concentration.

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The department offers the best of both worlds because it has all of the benefits and resources of a major university, yet students receive the attention and support often found at a smaller college. While many of our students didn’t feel truly understood in high school because of their dedication to music, they feel right at home at MTSU, where they are surrounded by a group of kindred spirits with whom they can analyze song lyrics or passionately debate their preferences in recording software.

It is the only recording industry program in the world that resides in a College of Media and Entertainment, which means our students benefit from unprecedented associations with classes, students and faculty from video and film production, digital animation, journalism, photography and other creative communication areas.

Natasha Branch and Matt Foglia working Bonnaroo

Our students also receive first-hand experiences from our partnership with the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, where students receive class credit and work with professional sound engineers to record nearly 20 live performances each year. Our students learn from behind-the-scenes tours of the Grammy Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards and other high-profile music events. They escort artists on red carpets and serve as production assistants on televised music shows.

Dakota Heflin on the red carpet.

Those who have studied at MTSU include country singer Chris Young, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, rapper Lecrae, and Christian artist Brandon Heath, as well as Amy Lee, lead singer of the rock band Evanescence, and R&B artist, Anderson East.  Other former MTSU students include country singers Brett Eldredge, Mitchell Tenpenny, Sam Hunt and Eric Paslay, as well as Grammy-winning songwriters Josh Kear and Luke Laird. Singer-songwriters PJ and Daisha McBride (known as The Rap Girl) also launched their careers here.

Our graduates have worked for Interscope Records, Rolling Stone, AOL, Warner Music Group, Sony Music, MTV, and Universal Music Group. They have worked with Keith Urban, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, Jimmy Kimmel, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Chesney, Michael Jackson, Little Big Town, Michael Buble, John Mayer, Cher, Josh Groban, Celine Dion, and many more. 

Our alumni have written songs for Wiz Khalifa, Usher, Luke Bryan, Chris Brown, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Puth, Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Thomas Rhett, George Strait and Alan Jackson.

According to a Rolling Stone college guide, “Middle Tennessee State University – located in the surprisingly hip Murfreesboro, Tennessee – boasts one of the preeminent music business programs in the country.”

MRAT grad students in Studio B

Our audio production program has been repeatedly nominated for the MIX magazine Technical Excellence and Creativity Award.  Our students have earned the Recording Academy’s Student Music Award and have won numerous national and international recording competitions, including the Audio Engineering Fantastic Scholastic recording competition sponsored by Shure Microphones.  The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) called us “the country’s most comprehensive four-year course in music merchandising.”

The Department of Recording Industry is a member of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) and the Music & Entertainment Industry Educator's Association (MEIEA).

This is a special place that resides at the crossroads of creativity and business, but don’t just take our word for it.  If you would like to schedule a tour of our department, please contact us at 615-898-2578 so you can see for yourself!

Click here for a historic timeline and slide show of the department.

Organizational Membership

The Department of Recording Industry is a member of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) and the Music & Entertainment Industry Educator's Association (MEIEA).

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