Making Money Making Music (No Matter Where You Live) [book]

Link From author James W. Dearing, this guide to gigging was written by a musician who not only has extensive gigging experience, but also has taught music business classes and written articles about music for several magazines. Covering much of the same ground as “Playing For Pay” (James Gibson), this book is slightly more advanced and more thorough. Topics include: Selecting a Group, Rehearsing the Act, Market Analysis, Diversifying to Maintain a Steady Cash Flow, Business Leadership, Health Hazards of Performing, and more. The writing is direct, practical, and relevant. Much like a how-to guide, this book confidently leads you through every step of the gigging process. The many short stories are useful and well-placed, providing much insight into the world of gigging. Although the author recommends playing cover material, this book will also help an original act avoid countless problems while maximizing live performance and music related income.

Playing For Pay [book]

Link By author James Gibson, this is a great introduction to the world of gigging. The emphasis here is on playing cover material, but any musician looking to maximize their income from live performances will benefit from the information presented. Topics include: Developing Your Marketing System, Setting Up Your Business, Networking, Money Matters, Publicity and Selling, and more. This book is great for a beginner, but even an experienced professional will find plenty of good ideas to increase gigging income. The focus is not on becoming rich and famous, or even getting a record contract, but on understanding what your client (employer) is looking for and making sure they get it. The writing is easy to understand and even though much of it is common sense, these guidelines are the foundation for maximizing your gigging income. When you’re ready to give up being a “starving musician” who is “paying dues”, let this book be your guide to increased profits and better business relationships.

Confessions of a Record Producer [book]

Link This amazing piece of work was written by Moses Avalon, a recording engineer/producer with extensive major label credits and decades of music industry experience. It’s a compilation of actual scams, shady business practices, and mishaps covering nearly every area of the industry. Other educational topics include: The Musician’s Union, Publicity, Royalties, The Spec Deal, Letters of Direction (LOD’s), Getting Credit Where Credit Is Due, The Mercy Signing, and more. The stories are short and well organized, making them even more potent. Never has a music business book been so educational and so hard to put down. Not only will you understand the rip-offs and how to avoid them, but you will learn to think like the rip-off artists (your best chance of eternally outwitting them). The writing is not mired by negativity, but rather filled with optimism, hope, and a good dose of humor. This is a painless way to learn the hard lessons of the music business and prepare yourself for a long and prosperous music career.

All You Need To Know About the Music Business [book]

Link Written by Donald S. Passman, a two-decade veteran of entertainment law, this book attempts to tell you everything worth knowing about the music business. Obviously it falls short, but it’s a fantastic effort. Topics include: Picking a Personal Manager, Picking a Business Manager, Picking an Attorney, Publishing Companies, Touring, Merchandising, Record Deals, Film Songwriter Deals, and more. For most, this will be more of a reference book than something to read from cover to cover. Although the author is also a musician, the emphasis here is on business and music law, rather than the creative aspects of the music business. Topics are broken down into small pieces and explained the way an attorney would explain the finer points of a contract. If you would really like to understand the inner workings of the music business, read this from cover to cover (recommended in small doses). Those with the patience and dedication to get through this book and learn the material will have a great advantage over a majority of the people in the music business.

Tim Sweeney’s Guide to Releasing Independent Records [book]

Link This is a no-frills crash course in releasing independent records (CD’s). The book is so well-focused and direct that you can breeze through it in no time. It almost seems as if something is missing because there are no music industry stories or quotes from music industry pros. Topics include: Finding a Great Engineer, Planning the Release, Making Your Press Kit, Distribution, Expanding the Promotion, Playing Live, Getting Paid, and more. You’ll find out how major labels operate and learn how to make their strategies and techniques work for your independent release(s). The authors clearly have a vast amount of music industry experience and they don’t mind sharing industry practices and secrets. Best of all, the information is easy to understand and immediately useful – even for someone with little music industry experience.

Start and Run Your Own Record Label [book]

Link Many people dream of having their own record label. This book by Daylle Deanna Schwartz lets you know what you’ll be in for. Topics include: Signing Artists to Your Label, Creating Your Product, How Record Distributors Operate, Getting Product into Stores, Getting Radio Play, and more. The author actually started and ran her own record label for 5 years and she provides much useful information. The writing style is somewhat informal and a bit sloppy at times, but it’s well worth the read. Just when the author starts to seem self-absorbed with her experiences, she cleverly redeems herself with advice and stories from others in the record (CD) industry. To round things out, there’s a chapter on using the internet to promote and market your product. Even if you just plan to release a CD for your band, this book will give you a lot of great ideas and increase your chances for success.

Music Law: How to Run Your Band’s Business [book]

Link Written by attorney, Richard Stim, this book clearly and quickly explains a wide spectrum of legal matters. Topics include: Copyright and Song Ownership, Publishing, Album Artwork, Taxes, Band Partnership, Attorneys, Managers, Sample Clearance and more. Of course, it contains plenty of ready to use “must-have” contracts (hard copies with blanks plus a floppy disk of templates) and legal advice, but it also features some great non-legal advice to help keep your band running smoothly. It turns out that the author is also a musician and has a wealth of information to pass on about recording studios, touring, releasing an independent CD, and many other things that are essential for a band. There are no long-winded stories, just short segments that flow in a logical order. A beginning musician may find this book a bit intimidating at first, but stick with it and soon it will all make sense. No matter what level of experience you have, this book will help you save money and stay on top of band business. More than that, it might even prevent your band from breaking up prematurely.

Music Business Handbook and Career Guide [book]

Link This book by David Baskerville, PhD is an ASCAP award winner and provides a great overview of the music business. It seems to cover every side of the business and may help you find your niche, but don’t expect it to map out your career path. This is a reference book and not so much a “career guide” as it is a list of career possibilities. You won’t find any opinion or filler—just facts and examples in concise, straightforward form. Plenty of charts and definitions are included, as well as advice from a seasoned music business professional. It’s a bit overwhelming as a cover-to-cover read, but taken in small doses it is easy to digest.

Major Label Contract Clause Critique [book]

Link This Web page breaks down the scariest parts of a standard recording contract in a language most people can understand. Its insights are invaluable in decoding the mess that ensues when you sign with a major label. Have fun!

Music Business DIY [free]

Link Hosted by Bemuso, this Web page lists a detailed, step-by-step set of instructions on how to get your business act together, good stuff if you are serious about going the idie route! The depth in which Bemuso goes to on each relevant item is pretty astounding. If you don’t read this page and its contents, you should just quit the music business right now. This site could save you years of research.

Courtney Love Manifesto [free]

Link This is an archive of a major document Courtney Love once hosted on her Web site, detailing typical corruption in an average record deal—that is until she dropped her case and settled out of court! No doubt removing this document from her Web page was part of the settlement. Fortunately, graciously hosts the archive.


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