Spotify’s Brittany Schaffer Appointed Dean of Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business
Belmont University has appointed Brittany Schaffer, Spotify’s head of artist and label partnerships in Nashville, as the new dean of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, effective May 1.
“My career has focused on being a champion for people and ideas and innovations that have brought the music and broader entertainment industry together. At the same time, I have always been passionate about Nashville and its potential to be the creative center of the music business and a big player in the entertainment space at large,” Schaffer tells Billboard. “It’s an opportunity to align all the passions I have and all the work that I’ve done since starting my career into one place. It’s really exciting to be able to think about the legacy that the Curb College can leave on its students and how that influences the future of the music and entertainment space.”
Schaffer is the first female dean of the Nashville-based Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business since it launched in 2003; she fills the role held for seven years by Belmont alumnus and longtime music industry executive Doug Howard, who retired last fall.
Dr. Sarita Stewart, associate professor of creative & entertainment industries, served as the interim dean for this academic year. Stewart will take on a new role as senior associate dean for Curb College, working alongside Schaffer on programming and curriculum.
Schaffer will report to the provost/executive vice president of Academic Excellence and will be responsible for the College’s academic programs and student enrichment initiatives. She will serve approximately 100 faculty and staff and more than 2,700 students in Curb College programs.
Belmont’s music business program will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2023-24 academic year.
“I think it is a moment to celebrate the incredible work Belmont has done to get to this point,” Schaffer says of the milestone. “It is a program that is already recognized as one of the top entertainment and music business programs in the country and we need to celebrate that.”
She continues, “At the same time, I think the music industry and entertainment space are at a really exciting point of innovation. The landscape is changing faster than it probably ever has—the technology and business models that exist when students enter may look different by the time they graduate. It’s an exciting challenge to take on to think about how we prepare students to have a strong foundation in the fundamentals of the business, creativity and storytelling so they are prepared to navigate the changes that come that we can’t even anticipate. Also, right now, everyone wants to talk about Gen Z and those are our students. How do we create an environment where we are learning as much from our students as they are learning from us?”
Schaffer co-leads Spotify’s Nashville music team including overseeing the development and execution of Spotify’s global strategy to expand the country, Christian/Gospel and Americana genres. During Schaffer’s tenure, country music listening on Spotify grew by double digits annually, according to the streamer. She joined Spotify in January 2018, after serving as senior counsel for Nashville-based Loeb & Loeb, LLP.
Schaffer, who has been named to Billboard’s Country Power Players list for the past four years, is a magna cum laude graduate of both Vanderbilt University and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters, as well as the St. Jude Country Cares Advisory Board. Schaffer is a Class of 2022 Leadership Music graduate.
Belmont president Dr. Greg Jones said via a statement, “Belmont’s Curb College has long been recognized for developing artists and executives who bring innovative leadership and creative storytelling to their roles throughout the entertainment industry. We are delighted Brittany Schaffer has accepted the role of dean, and I am confident that she will elevate our programs even further, deepening our connections within music, motion pictures and media while establishing new partnerships in Nashville, across the U.S. and around the globe.”
Belmont Provost Dr. David Gregory added, “Brittany will bring extraordinary passion, faith and experience to her new role as dean of Curb College. Her legal background and familiarity advocating for artists, writers, producers and more within the industry provide a unique perspective on the holistic education our students need to be successful in a variety of entertainment fields. Plus, though her time with Spotify, she has been on the leading edge of where these content rich fields are heading and is well prepared to ensure Curb College stays at the forefront of modern storytelling.”
Belmont alumni have risen to the highest ranks in Nashville’s music industry and include Universal Music Group Nashville president Cindy Mabe (class of 1995), Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO Rusty Gaston (class of 1998) and Warner Chappell Music Nashville president and CEO Ben Vaughn (class of 2000).