New music business program coming to CSU this fall

Charlotte Lang

While classes for the current semester have faced uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado State University students can look forward to a confirmed new music business program beginning in fall 2020.

Chuck Morris, former CEO of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains and a leading concert promoter in the Colorado music industry, will work as chairman for the new department. 

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Morris said he wants to build the best program of this type in the country.

“It’s such a great thing for people,” Morris said. “Not only people who want to go into the business, but people who like music and want to learn about it. I’ve always wanted to do that. I never had a chance to take any classes on music business. There weren’t any in the old days.”

Morris started working in the music business in 1970 as a promoter for a club in Boulder he opened. There, he began booking bands. 

At the time, there were no schools or programs to help him learn the ropes, Morris said. 

“It can be a great addition as a student in college to learn about if they’re interested in going into it,” Morris said. 

Now, after so many years in the business, Morris said he’s excited to fulfill his dream of giving back.

“This is something I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” Morris said. “Speaking at a bunch of classes and schools over the years has been the biggest kick of my life. I always wanted to give back to students who either wanted to get into or were intrigued by the music industry.”

Morris said he sees his role as being someone who should be able to help students in the class obtain internships and jobs during the summer. He’ll also be looking to help them get jobs when they graduate.

Music is a huge part of the culture and community in Fort Collins, with organizations like the Bohemian Foundation and Music District that can serve as a living laboratory by providing real world experiences for students who want to pursue their passion for music business.” -Beth Walker, dean, CSU College of Business

The program will be open to any undergraduates, regardless of year or major. Currently, the first class will begin in August, with plans to expand to a minor within three years. In five years, there should also be an option to add it as a major.

“I have a feeling, even from day one, we’re going to have a lot of students who want to take that first class,” Morris said, referring to the upcoming introduction to music business class for this fall.

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As part of his goal to create the best music business program in the country, Morris said he plans to invite several friends from the industry to speak as guest lecturers. 

“I have so many friends — artists, managers, agents, entertainment lawyers — that I’m going to bring in as guest lecturers,” Morris said. “This will be really amazing for the class.”

Morris said he’s already confirmed commitment from a variety of people to come in, including some well-known artists. 

Beth Walker, dean for the College of Business, said this program will provide students with the chance to work with a variety of people from the industry.

“Students will have the rare opportunity to interact with the best there is in the music business industry and learn from their years of experience,” Walker said. 

Walker also spoke about the importance of music to the Fort Collins community.

“Music is a huge part of the culture and community in Fort Collins, with organizations like the Bohemian Foundation and Music District that can serve as a living laboratory by providing real-world experiences for students who want to pursue their passion for music business,” Walker said.

Morris also mentioned Fort Collins’ growth as a reason for his decision to bring this program to CSU.

“It’s a town that provides a lot of great things for students,” Morris said. “It’s really become quite a place.” 

Charlotte Lang can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @chartrickwrites.