If you want to learn more about the music business to help further your career, buying a book couldn’t hurt. Now comes the hard part: which book to buy. Literally hundreds, if not thousands, are out there, online and in bookstores, e-books and in print. It can seem overwhelming. Plus, the music biz is in constant flux in the ever-evolving digital age. If it’s a book from as recent as a couple of years ago it may already be outdated — you want the most recent tome you can find from experts in the field delivering the most up-to-date advice. Here are a few notable books that always seem to land on best-of lists, some written specifically with the unsigned, independent artist in mind, others more about the music business in general. All are worth your time, if only for a flip through to the sections most pertinent to your given situation.
All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Author: Donald Passman
The quintessential guide to the biz, updated with new editions for the changing times on a regular basis. Especially helpful for team building and legal advice when your career goes from DIY to signed artist.
Music Success in Nine Weeks
Author: Ariel Hyatt
Aerial Hyatt runs a music PR company that specializes in online marketing. Her book (e-book and paperback) is geared towards independent artists trying to find their way through the morass of the modern music industry and is especially helpful for online marketing strategies.
How To Make it in the Music Business
Author: Siân Pattenden
Originally released in the early 2000’s, this classic has been fully updated and a digital version became available for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader in May of 2012. It focuses on many different careers in the biz, making it a good read for musicians to gain more insight into what the people they work with actually do, as well as giving expert advice for artists.
Music Is Your Business: The Musician’s FourFront Strategy for Success
Author: Christopher Knab and Bartley F. Day
Knab has worked in many facets of the music business over the years, from radio stations to record labels, and is currently a music consultant. This book is packed with clear and direct info for artists. The fourth edition is being released in 2012.
Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business
Author: Fredric Dannen
This isn’t a how-to, career-building book, it’s a landmark expose on the music business, originally released in 1991, that is a must-read for anyone planning a career in the music industry. It can be a shady, dirty business and Hit Men deftly illustrates the why and how. Industry veteran and expert Mose Avalon calls it “the most eye opening expose on the biz ever written.”
The Art of Music Publishing: An entrepreneurial guide to publishing and copyright for the music, film and media industries
Author: Helen Gammons
Music publishing can be the most lucrative part of the music business for songwriters and also the hardest to understand. This book (also available on Kindle) is a great guide to learning the vagaries of this complex topic.