Cultivating the next generation of music industry leaders

The Program

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. Their experience culminates in the development of an entrepreneurial capstone project that addresses an opportunity for industry innovation.

“This innovative new collaboration [Stanford/Warner Music Group Leadership Initiative] brings together the extraordinary creativity and entrepreneurial vision of leaders in music, tech, business and education to inspire and educate the music industry’s next generation of leaders.”

– Cameron Strang
CEO and chairman of Warner Bros. Records and Warner/Chappell Music

Meet the Fellows

"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."

Program Details

Each year, a select group of Stanford students in their junior year of study will be admitted by application to the program co-developed with Warner Music Group (WMG). 

Each student will have an area of focus within the music industry. Areas of focus could include Marketing and Creative Services; Product Development and Design; Software Engineering; Data Analysis; and Business and Financial Services

Program Components

The program has three 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.

Summer: Placement with WMG

Participants are given a 10-week paid “in-house” assignment with WMG or one of its program partners. By design, these summer assignments--customized to the interests of each individual Fellow--will be highly challenging and rewarding opportunities across the music industry.

Sample Summer Projects
  • Develop new strategies for driving artist impact and fan engagement on major digital distribution and social media platforms (e.g., Spotify, Beats, Shazam, Instagram, Vine)
  • Work with artists and their management on various aspects of artist development, with an eye toward creating new approaches to improving brand awareness
  • Creating new technology tools and applications that could help improve performance in key areas, including discovery of new talent, analysis of consumer patterns and preferences, connecting fans across social media, and packaging content for digital distribution
  • Work with internal and external investor teams to identify innovative companies at the intersection of music and technology for potential investment and strategic partnership
  • Analyze consumer behavior on YouTube and formulate new ways to increase views, improve retention, and drive engagement

Fall: Capstone Project (ARTSINST 210)

Upon returning to campus from summer assignments, students work on intensive capstone projects designed to address opportunities for innovation within the music industry. Students enroll in a 1 unit workshop course to develop their capstones.

Application timeline for 2018-19 cohort:

  • late Nov 2017-mid Jan 2018: Application Period
  • Feb 2018: Semi-finalist interviews
  • late Feb 2018: Finalist notifications

How to Apply

Students from all majors are invited to apply. Applicants should be current juniors who will be studying on campus during the Autumn 2018 and Winter 2019 quarters.

Required application materials include:

  1. Professional Resume
  2. Transcript
  3. A brief written expression of interest in participating, professional and artistic experience and preparation, the type of work the student is most interested in pursuing during their summer placement at WMG, and ideas regarding possible capstone projects.
  4. Up to three pieces of relevant work that showcase your skills as an entrepreneur and innovator. Work samples can include technical inventions, marketing campaigns, musical or video work, reviews or other journalistic works, case studies, and research projects.
    • Note: Your work samples cannot be solely comprised of musical or video work--if you plan on submitting a recording/video, make sure to include at least one non-musical/video work sample in your portfolio.


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