HNC/HND Music Business

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC and HND in Music Business qualifications have been designed for those interested in pursuing a business career in the music industry. It will develop practical business competences and key music industry management skills through in-depth analysis of current music industry business and managerial related activities.

The HND usually takes two years to complete but learners can finish one year with an HNC. Both prepare learners for employment or freelance work at an introductory level in various musical occupations or for further study in higher education.

The HNC in Music Business (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and competencies in a range of specialised areas within the music business through study and the practical application of this study.

The HND in Music Business (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC by increasing the depth of learning and knowledge, developing proficiency in business acumen relating to the practices of the music industry.

It will develop practical business competencies and key music business skills through study of contemporary music business practice and the application of knowledge gained in a range of projects.

This qualification is available through colleges and some universities.

Subject updates

HN Music, Music Business and Sound Production Webinar

Online webinar sessions help teachers and lecturers develop their understanding of the new Higher National Music, Music Business and Sound Production frameworks to be implemented from session 2018/19.

The following optional guidance can be used to support delivery and assessment as an alternative to the approaches outlined in the Group Award / Unit specification.

Optional assessment guidance 2023-24

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet the learners' needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC and HND in Music Business are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


Progression and employment

What you¿ll learn?

As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • National Certificate in Business, Media, Music or other Business/Music-related area
  • An existing HN Group Award
  • National Qualifications in Higher English (SCQF level 6) or a language based subject such as Economics, History, or Modern Studies
  • Strong interest in music business, the management of music business, and music-related entrepreneurial activity
  • Relevant business and/or music industry experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Mature learners with suitable industry experience may be accepted for entry, provided that the enrolling centre believes that the learner is likely to benefit from undertaking the award.

Progression and employment

The HNC and HND in Music Business is designed to be of value to learners who hope to progress to employment or further study. Learners who achieve an HNC in Music Business can progress to the HND in Music Business, or the first or second year of a relevant university degree, further study, or to employment, eg a musician.

Learners successfully completing an HND in Music Business could progress to the relevant degree programmes.

Relevant degree programmes include:

  • BA Commercial Music
  • BA Music Business
  • BA (Hons) Commercial Music
  • BA (Hons) Music Business
  • MA Music: Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Employment opportunities in a range of sectors of the music industry may include:

  • Record label roles
  • Marketing
  • Promotions
  • Music publishing
  • Rights administration
  • Tour management or crew
  • Music/artist management
  • Live events management
  • Distribution

Centres interested in offering this qualification require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the group award specification (arrangements document).

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Assessments are based on realistic environments, and real life working practices in the music industry will be reflected to encourage the learner to achieve their potential and develop in this field.

The majority of units have assessment support packs available, which stipulate assessment approaches and should be adhered to for the assessment to remain valid.

HNC Music Business

Group award code: GP11 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Music Business at SCQF level 7 consists of 7 mandatory units (64 SCQF credit points) and a number optional units (32 SCQF credit points).

HND Music Business

Group award code: GP14 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Music Business at SCQF level 8 consists of 12 mandatory units (128 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (112 SCQF points).

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.