When it comes to the music industry, Vince Wilcox has done a little of everything. Marketing, producing, artist management, entertainment law, singer/songwriter—Wilcox clearly understands the broad scope of the industry.
“Over the past 40 years, I’ve been involved in virtually every aspect of the music business,” Wilcox said. “I started in the warehouse, moved up to sales. I was the vice president of marketing for Benson Records for a number of years, and I went on the road as a songwriter and produced a number of independent projects. Eventually, I came off the road and became the vice president of sales at what became Provident Music Group. I left there to run an artist management company for a few years, then went to law school to become an entertainment lawyer.”
These days, Wilcox still serves as an industry consultant and a practicing attorney, but his main focus is passing down what he’s learned to his students. As the director of Trevecca’s music business program—a role he stepped into early last year—Wilcox brings his real-world experience into the classroom on a daily basis.
This year, Wilcox took his desire to shape future music industry experts one step further with the recent release of his book, How to Make a Living in Music Business.
“I’ve had so many inquiries down through the years about how to make a living in the music business,” Wilcox said. “People would call me or want to set up an appointment with me. I thought if I could write all of this down in a clear, systematic way it would be valuable to the next generation, not only for music business professionals but also for aspiring artists and creatives.”
Dr. Jim Hiatt, associate vice president and dean of the Skinner School of Business and Technology, welcomes Wilcox’s contributions to the program—and looks forward to reading the new book.
“We are thrilled to have Prof. Wilcox leading Trevecca’s Music Business Program,” Hiatt said. “He not only brings current industry experience to the classroom, having managed multiple music business companies, events, and artists, but also special knowledge related to all aspects of contract issues encountered in this field. As an attorney, as well as a music business professional, his understanding of intellectual property rights, especially copyright matters, also greatly enhances the value he brings to our music business students. I am personally looking forward to reading his new book which I believe will make a significant contribution to those needing a practical guide on how to succeed in the music industry.”
Rather than a narrative or memoir, Wilcox took an “integrated approach” in writing and organizing his book. Centered on three modules—Making & Marketing Records, Writing & Publishing Songs and Managing & Booking Artists—Wilcox made sure his book offered practical advice and know-how gleaned over the course of a four-decade career.
“I think the absolute novice to the music business could find a starting point in this book,” he said.
Each of the three modules are divided into sections focused on specific topics—and Wilcox isn’t afraid to dive into the details, which he does in a question-answer format. In How to Make a Living in the Music Business, Wilcox tackles questions from every sector of the industry—from “What are the advantages of a traditional record deal?” to “How can someone learn to write better songs?” and technical questions such as “What kinds of artist management commission structures can be negotiated?”
While writing the book was a two-year labor of love, Wilcox wasn’t content to stop there. He’s finalizing 180 videos that accompany the content and has compiled more than 40 interviews with working music industry professionals. Both the videos and interviews have become integral components of Wilcox’s teaching.
“I’m really excited about our curriculum,” he said. “I’ve been able to engage a lot of my colleagues to help tell the story of their particular part of the industry.”
In many ways, Wilcox sees his book as a reflection of the program he directs. Through his work with both, Wilcox strives to provide readers and students with a deeper understanding of the music industry—and see how the various sectors work together.
“I’ve been involved in sales, marketing, artistry, management, the legal side—I see how all those aspects are integrated so that the whole can become greater than the sum of its parts,” Wilcox said. “Our goal is to help our students understand, to grasp the basic elements of our business so they can see how [all those elements] fit together so they can be successful within a business context and from an entrepreneurial standpoint.”
Trevecca’s music business program is housed within the Skinner School of Business and Technology. The business emphasis combined with Trevecca’s core values as a Christian university gives students a strong foundation for success in the industry, Wilcox says.
“I could not be more excited about our program,” Wilcox said. “We’ve designed an experience that combines Trevecca’s liberal arts, faith-based worldview with a stellar business curriculum. Add to that real-world music industry courses taught by practicing music business professionals right here in Nashville, and it’s clear why our student enrollment continues to grow—in spite of the pandemic.”