Cultivating the next generation of music industry leaders

Developed in partnership with Warner Music Group (WMG), the Stanford/WMG Leadership Initiative identifies and develops a new generation of undergraduate Stanford students from across various educational disciplines for leadership roles in the evolving music business.

Each year, a select group of Stanford students learn directly from industry leaders through the combination of coursework and hands-on summer placement with WMG.

"There’s nothing else like it. I’ve had other internships in the music industry—but this is a fellowship. It’s at a completely different level."

"My favorite part has been getting to pitch creative marketing ideas that actually end up getting implemented."

"When I was [at WMG] this summer I was amazed with how much they let me do and how much they let me try. And how much autonomy they gave me to just go for whatever I wanted to do."

"The Stanford/WMG Leadership Initiative is the perfect program for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit."

Fellowship Details

The program has two required components, to take place in the following sequence:

Spring: The Changing World of Popular Music (ARTSINST 150/MUSIC 150P)

This course, co-developed with WMG, features a rotating group of guest artists and executives. This course is a prerequisite for participating in the Summer Placement.

  • Open to all Stanford students! View enrollment details on Explore CoursesWLI Fellows will receive priority enrollment as the course is a prerequisite for participating in the summer placement.

Summer: Placement with WMG

Participants are given a 10-week paid “in-house” assignment with WMG or one of its program partners. The placement begins with a short introduction to the various groups within WMG. Students are then given a customized assignment within a specific WMG unit based on their individual interests. Each assignment provides students with a challenging, project-driven opportunity to explore business and innovation across the music industry.

Each student will have an area of focus within the business of the music industry. Areas of focus include (but are not limited to):

  • Marketing and Creative Services
  • Product Development and Design
  • Software Engineering
  • Data Analysis
  • Business and Financial Services
  • Social Responsibility and Social Impact


Sabrina Wilensky
Manager of Grants and Programs
Office of the Vice President for the Arts

Application timeline for Summer 2019 cohort:

  • Application Opens: Jan 2019
  • Application Deadline: Feb 2019 @ 11:59pm (Pacific)
  • Semi-Finalist Interviews: late Feb 2019
  • Admissions Notifications: early March 2019

How to Apply


  • Current Stanford junior or senior (including co-terms) in good standing
  • Open to all majors
  • For international students: CPT authorization may required in order to participate in the Summer Placement. (Students are hired for the summer directly by WMG.) Contact the Bechtel Center to review any additional paperwork/authorizations that may be required in order to participate in the summer placement.

Required application materials include:

  1. Professional Cover Letter and Resume
  2. Unofficial Transcript
  3. Name/contact info for 1-2 references.
    • Letters of recommendation are not required, though we do request that you provide the contact information for one professor or previous supervisor who has agreed to act as references. We may contact them in certain cases and they should be prepared to write on your behalf should the need arise.

Meet the Summer 2018 Fellows

Past WLI Events

Demo Day 2018

January 12, 2018
Roble Arts Gym @ Roble Gym

Members of the 2017-18 cohort present their capstone projects. Free and open to the public.

Demo Day 2017

April 28, 2017

Members of the 2016-17 cohort present their capstone projects. Free and open to the public.


Pandora Challenge: Music & Social Change (feat. the Tegan and Sara Foundation)

May 19, 2017
Roble Arts Gym @ Roble Gym

Workshop attendees learned how to analyze music streaming data to identify markets, cultivate influencers and advocates, design artist campaign messages and ads on online radio and music streaming services, and design clear goals and calls to action. Working with music industry mentors, attendees create a pitch for a national social impact marketing campaign for the Tegan and Sara Foundation.

The Business of Music: Kaskade in conversation with Cameron Strang

May 29, 2015
CEMEX Auditorium

Grammy-nominee Kaskade, fresh from a record-breaking mainstage set at Coachella, and Cameron Strang, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records and Warner/Chappell Music, discussed the pressures and potentials of the music industry in the 21st Century.