Music Venue Owners and Managers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

To prepare for this line of work, recommended high school courses include music, business, mathematics, and computer science. Speech and writing classes will help you hone your communication skills. Managing a school club (such as a traveling band or chorus) or other organization will give you an introduction to overseeing budgets and the work of others.

Postsecondary Training

These days, a bachelor's degree is pretty much required to enter the field of music facility management. Although in the past it wasn't necessary, the complexity of running the venue and the competition for jobs has made a college degree nearly mandatory. In fact, in many instances, a master's degree in facility management or business is preferred. Some schools offer degrees in music industry or facility management. However, any degree that emphasizes strong business and finance skills will be useful. Visit the Web site of The College Music Society ( for information on educational paths.

Regardless of your educational background, the strongest selling point you can have in the music business is experience. Previous work at a successful club will help you more than an advanced degree.

Other Education or Training

The International Facility Management Association offers online courses, podcasts, webinars, and classroom courses on topics such as leadership, strategy, business operations, finance, and technology. The International Association of Venue Managers offers continuing education opportunities via its Academy for Venue Safety & Security and online learning center. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

At the moment, certification in facility management is not mandatory, but it is becoming a distinguishing credential among the managers of the largest, most profitable venues. Put simply, a music venue can bring its owners a lot of revenue, and these owners aren't willing to trust the management to individuals who are not qualified to run them. Certification is one way a club owner can ensure that certain industry standards in facility management are met. The International Facility Management Association, probably the industry leader in certification, offers these designations: facility management professional, certified facility manager, and sustainability facility professional. Additionally, the International Association of Venue Managers offers two designations: certified venue executive and certified venue professional. Contact these organizations for more information.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Most music venue owners require that higher-level managers have a minimum of five years of experience in the music or management industry. This may include experience in other manager positions or in related music careers. Many managers end up in their management positions after first working as one of the venue's staff members, such as one of the club's regular musicians or sound managers. Additionally, participating in an internship or co-op at a music venue during college will provide useful experience.

In addition to experience, both owners and managers need to be strong communicators to work well with staff and relate well to the club's patrons. They need to be able to clearly and concisely state their ideas, information about facility operations, and goals about running the venue and always help to promote business.

Venue owners, in particular, need to possess excellent strategic, budgetary, and operational planning skills to keep the club in business and to ensure profits. The owner's decisions affect all operations within the music venue, so the owner needs to be capable of making the right choices and have the ability to juggle many different tasks.

One often overlooked quality that both owners and managers should have is an appreciation for all kinds of music. They should also have the ability to listen to the public and be mindful of current music trends. By paying attention to the venue's demographics and constantly looking for new and emerging bands that fit their usual "crowd," owners and managers can expect to book talent that will sell out shows.