Two books on the music business you should own


Get savvy about the perils and pitfalls of the music industry with these two respected music biz tomes.

The first rule of making it in the music business is to acknowledge that it’s just that – a business.

If you don’t educate yourself about how it works, and where it can all go wrong, you run the risk of someone else taking the credit (and financial rewards) for your hard work and creativity. These two books have been around for years (and updated several times to take into account the ever-changing digital scene). Get reading!

All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald S Passman

Now in its ninth edition this is often referred to as the “music industry Bible”, and for good reason. It comprehensively covers key issues such as copyright, record deals, publishing and digital streaming. It explains the role of managers, lawyers and agents, how to hire them and what to pay them. Concert, touring and merch agreements are also covered.

Its author is top LA music lawyer Donald S Passman who has represented Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and Quincy Jones and worked on huge deals like REM’s $80 million Warner Bros contract.

All You Need To Know About The Music Business was written first and foremost for the US market but don’t let that put you off. There is a UK version, which gives a comparison of how things are done Stateside and in Blighty.

Music: The Business. The Essential Guide to the Law and the Deals by Ann Harrison 

At BBC Music Introducing Live earlier this month several top industry lawyers recommended this book as a must-read for UK artists. It’s written by the formidable Ann Harrison, a media lawyer who throughout her career has worked on the talent side (i.e. representing artists and not record companies). This means that not only does she understand all the key legal issues, she understands them from the artist’s perspective.

The book covers pretty much everything you need to know: publishing deals, contracts, marketing, sponsorship, streaming and subscriptions.

Music: The Business also explains common legal jargon and contains case studies of some of the music industry’s messiest legal disputes involving Robbie Williams, Ms Dynamite and Elvis Presley.

To learn more about music industry law, read our Music Copyright 101 HERE

Our mission is to empower the singer through their voice, performance, health, understanding of the biz, and mindset so they can go out and create to their heart’s content.