College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Entrepreneurship Center for Music

The Entrepreneurship Center for Music at CU-Boulder (“ECM”) is a national leader in professional development for musicians. As one of the first such programs in the country, the ECM is itself an entrepreneurial endeavor, developing new paradigms for education, leadership, and advocacy in the emerging field of arts entrepreneurship.

Our mission is simple: to equip today’s music students with the skills and tools they need to create sustainable careers in the arts. With the arts business undergoing enormous changes in how content is produced, distributed, and consumed, ECM programming goes beyond the traditional career skills taught at some music schools: at the ECM, students are encouraged to develop entrepreneurial skills to explore the vast opportunities inherent in a changing marketplace, and develop plans to implement career-enhancing ventures across the artistic spectrum.

The ECM’s tagline, “Tools and training for a life in music,” is expressed through courses for credit, workshops throughout the year, special guest residencies, individual mentoring, and partnering with local practitioners and other entrepreneurship units on the CU campus.  The curriculum includes an 18-credit Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship that can be completed concurrently with an undergraduate Major in Music, as well as a number of electives open to all Majors. The Center also presents a weekly seminar series on a wide variety of topics germane to a musician’s professional development and assessment of the many domains that make up the 21st-century arts industry (the "Career Launchpad"), several guest residencies each year, internships with arts organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit sectors, and one-on-one career mentoring.

The ECM also partners with the Deming Center for Entrepreneurship (Leeds School of Business) to present the annual New Venture Challenge, a cross-campus venture plan competition that brings together faculty advisors and industry mentors to partner with students in developing their entrepreneurial ideas. The O’Neal-Taniguchi Prize underwrites the Music Award, the winners of which advance to compete in the campus-wide Finals.

As one of the earliest and most developed music entrepreneurship programs in the country, the ECM is a model for programs of its kind nationwide. Feel free to be in touch to find out more about our programs!

"The ECM is an incredible resource for anyone seriously interested in a career in the arts.  We wish a program as comprehensive had been in existence for us when we were in school! We've never seen a program that addresses such a variety of skills, all of which are necessary after graduation. We will be using this program as an example of what is possible in our future work with students and in our own career." - The Cecelia String Quartet

Updates from the ECM

This year's New Venture Challenge was the toughest competition yet, but Sara Corry (DMA student in Composition) rose to the occasion. Sara's business plan for "NeuroPractice - Practice Made Smart" won the Music Track competition, and then went on to take Third Place in the campus-wide competition. Judges were so impressed with Sara's performance in the Finals that they personally pooled their money to create a cash prize for Third Place after deadlocking on a winner and awarding joint First Place prizes. Congratulations, Sara!

CROWDFUNDING COMES TO CU-BOULDER: The CU-Boulder campus is proud to announce "Boulder Crowdfunding," a portal for students and faculty to crowdfund and promote their entrepreneurial ventures. Another great example of the entrepreneurial ecosystem here at CU!

CERTIFICATE IN MUSIC ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS HERE! The ECM is proud to announce the Certificate in Music Entrepreneurship, an 18-credit undergraduate certificate for Music majors and those interested in an entrepreneurial career in music. The Certificate interfaces with the Business Minor, providing students with a double benefit. For more details on the certificate, visit our “Courses” page or contact our Director!

CONGRATULATIONS TO NATHAN SMITH, NEW VENTURE CHALLENGE MUSIC TRACK WINNER! The NVC Music Track held its Finals competition Wednesday, March 20, and was pleased to adjudicate three great business plans: Back Country Music Festival, Musication, and the winning business plan, PianoPlus. Nathan Smith’s winning entry receives the $3,000 O’Neal-Tanaguchi Prize in Music Entrepreneurship and advances to the campus-wide NVC Finals on April 17.

BLOGGER, COMPOSER, AUTHOR AND CONSULTANT GREG SANDOW IN-RESIDENCE AS THE 2013 ECM SPRING KEYNOTE GUEST: The ECM is thrilled to have internationally acclaimed musician and arts advocate Greg Sandow in-residence this January. Greg will be meeting with students, leading class discussions, and delivering his Keynote Address at 5:00 pm, January 30 in C-199. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn from one of today’s leading advocates for classical music!

NEW VENTURE CHALLENGE IS BACK! Kick off this year’s campus-wide venture plan competition with a fun and informative event at the Wolf Law School Building on Monday, Oct. 29 at 5:15pm. Visit for more information and to register. Also, visit our NVC Open House as part of Entrepreneurship Wednesdays on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 5:00-6:30 pm in IMIG C-113. Learn about the NVC Music Track — with its $3,000 prize! — and speak with past NVC winners Anthony Green and Joey Howe about their experience. Participate in the NVC and bring your entrepreneurial ideas to life!

WELCOME BACK: Help us kick off the semester with a pizza party and Internship Fair on Wednesday, Aug. 29, 5:00 in C-113. Come meet your ECM Team, have a slice of pizza (or two), and learn more about the many exciting opportunities in store for you this coming year!

NEW VENTURE CHALLENGE MUSIC WINNERS ANNOUNCED: The ECM is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 New Venture Challenge Music Prize. This year’s prize goes to Sarah Wood and Joey Howe for their business plan for Ensemble Pearl, a Baroque chamber music ensemble they are building here in the Front Range area. The prize carries with it a $3,000 cash award as well as continued mentoring on their venture, and is the culmination of months of hard work. Sarah and Joey will be going on to the University-wide Finals on April 5 (5:00 p.m. in the Wolf Law Building), so wish them luck as they advance and be sure to congratulate them on their terrific work! Go Sarah and Joey!!

THE CHUCK MORRIS INTERNSHIPS: LONDON & L.A., Summer 2012 The ECM, in conjunction with AEG Live and Kilimanjaro, Ltd, are pleased to announce internship positions in Los Angeles and London for Summer 2012. This is an exceptional opportunity for hard-working students interested in the commercial music business to gain valuable experience with one of the world’s leading concert and events promotion agencies. A stipend is provided for transportation and living expenses. Email Dr. Nytch for additional information and application procedure.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEDNESDAYS ARE CHARGING AHEAD IN 2012! Thanks to everyone for making the Fall line-up of Entrepreneurship Wednesdays such a huge success. Special guests consisting of faculty, experts from the community, and alums gave us the most exciting line-up of workshops ever — and our attendance was so good we’re having to order more pizza! And let’s not forget our awesome special guest, Grammy-winning jazz artist Maria Schneider!  Be on the lookout for the Spring 2012 line-up, which will include workshops on financial planning, fundraising events, touring on a budget, managing a portfolio career, and much more!


Past Updates:

THE NEW VENTURE CHALLENGE IS HERE! Learn how to develop your creative idea into a sustainable entrepreneurial venture. Participate in workshops, receive personalized mentoring, and network with other student entrepreneurs and business leaders from the community. Music participants are eligible for a $3,000 prize, the winner of which will advance to the NVC Finals in April, 2012. For more information on the New Venture Challenge, stop by the ECM Office or visit:

GRAMMY-WINNING JAZZ ARTIST MARIA SCHNEIDER COMING TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEDNESDAYS: Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to hear acclaimed jazz composer Maria Schneider talk about her entrepreneurial career and how she’s on the forefront of a new paradigm for artists promoting their recordings. We’re anticipating a big crowd so we’ll be meeting in the Chamber Hall; get there early to find a good seat!

UPCOMING EVENTS FOR FALL 2011! It’s another action-packed year for the Entrepreneurship Center. This year’s Fall Intensive (Saturday, Oct. 8th) features pianist and music entrepreneur Justin Kolb. We have another great line-up of guests for Entrepreneurship Wednesdays, and the New Venture Challenge will be coming up a little later in the semester as well! Check out our “Workshops and Events” page here or visit us on Facebook page for regular updates on guests and dates. Also, be sure to check out our weekly e-newsletter,Entrepreneurial Upbeat! 

Entrepreneurship: News & Events

Two CU-Boulder MBA students are taking the somewhat daunting idea of learning to play music and offering a solution almost everyone is familiar with: an app.

jeff nytch

The CU-Boulder Entrepreneurship Center for Music looks back at its mission as it looks forward to expansion and more student enrollment.

Entrepreneurial Thought of the Week: The Entrepreneurial Thought of the Week will now be in a separate email, usually sent out later in the week. Stay tuned for the first installment this week as I report back from the annual meeting of the U.S. Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship!

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