Billboard names MEBUS one of nation’s best music business programs

KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 8, 2019

Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business program earns ranking for second straight year

For the second year in a row, Billboard magazine has recognized Kennesaw State University as one of the top music business schools in the country for its Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business (MEBUS) program.

The MEBUS program is listed in Billboard’s 2019 Top Music Business Schools, featured alongside other prominent programs from schools such as Belmont University, Berklee College of Music, New York University, and Syracuse University.

MEBUS is a 24-credit certificate program open to all Kennesaw State undergraduate majors with a desire to work in the entertainment industry. MEBUS Director Keith Perissi said that receiving the honor two years in a row clearly demonstrates the strength of the young program.

“It was definitely an honor and privilege to be included as one of Billboard magazine’s Top Music Business School in 2018 after only eight years of existence,” he said. “The fact that it was not a one-time recognition means that we are achieving national prominence for our University, our students, and our namesake, benefactor, and legendary entertainment attorney, Joel A. Katz.”


Dr. Yamma Brown, CEO of Daughter of Soul Productions, and the daughter of legendary recording artist James Brown, leads a class in the MEBUS program.

Launched in 2010 within the Michael J. Coles College of Business, the MEBUS program teaches students to thrive in the fast-paced world of film, television, and music production, as well as in artist, venue, and live event management. With courses taught by professional actors and Grammy Award-winning recording artists, students exit the program prepared to work real entertainment industry jobs.

Among the elements of the MEBUS program praised by Billboard were its curriculum – including courses in accounting, marketing, management, entrepreneurship, audio and video production – and its frequent partnerships with entertainment industry businesses, including last fall’s FutureX Live conference.

MEBUS partnered with marketing firm Moxie to produce the largest augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality conference in the Southeast. FutureX Live focused on the entertainment industry’s response to new and emerging technologies, and featured guests such as Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios, Dan Rosenfelt, president of Third Rail Studios, and Chaka Zulu, co-founder of Disturbing tha Peace Records and manager to rapper and actor Ludacris. MEBUS students worked with Billboard-charting recording artist Leah Culver during the lead-up to FutureX Live to create a first-of-its-kind augmented reality concert.

MEBUS students not only have the opportunity to interact with working entertainment industry professionals at conferences, but also in the classroom. Two members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, John Driskell Hopkins and Coy Bowles, are artists-in-residence, while Beth Keener, a local actor recently appearing on the Walking Dead, also lectures on the Georgia film and TV industries.

“The MEBUS program is a training ground for bringing entertainment industry experts to campus to teach students on state-of-the-art equipment,” Perissi said, “and gives them the chance to learn from industry professionals on up-to-the-minute industry practices to get them hired.”

MEBUS alumni can be found working for high-profile entertainment businesses such as Live Nation, Turner Sports, State Farm Arena, Sixthman, Red Light Management, Coca-Cola Studios, Moxie, Polay Financial, and even Joel Katz’s law firm Greenberg Traurig.

Patrick Harbin

Photo courtesy of the MEBUS program

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit