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

"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."

WLI Demo Day 2018
Friday January 12
4:00-5:30pm @
Roble Arts Gym (Roble Gym, Room 116)
Members of the 2017-18 cohort present their capstone projects. Free and open to the public.

Fellowship Details

This program, co-developed with Warner Music Group (WMG), exposes students to all facets of the music industry through a combination of coursework and student-driven experiential learning.

Each student will have an area of focus within 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

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. 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 opportunities across the music industry.

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.

Meet the Fellows

Application timeline for 2018-19 cohort:

  • November 30-January 31: Application Period
  • February 2018: Finalist interviews
  • late February 2018: Admissions 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 quarter.

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.
  5. 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.

* For students planning on participating in a Bing Overseas program, Stanford in New York, or Stanford in Washington during Autumn 2018: please meet Sabrina Wilensky ( prior to submitting your application to discuss.

Interested in enrolling in "The Changing World of Popular Music" (ARTSINST 150/MUSIC 150P)?

The course is open to all Stanford students. Enrollment details are available on Explore Courses.


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

Past WLI Events


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.