Most jobs in this world require a certain level of knowledge. If you want to build websites, you read, learn, apply. If you want to be a YouTuber, you study, analyze, implement, upgrade. If you want to sell a cool gadget, you get out of your comfort zone, pay for a marketing course, and end up making a nice profit with the likes of Amazon around. Then how come many musicians take for granted what a music career means and never get down and dirty with the true knowledge of it? While these 5 books are not ALL you need to know, they will definitely open your eyes, sharpen your intuition, and give you ideas for how to earn money, how to market yourself, how to sell your product, how to reinvest it in your music career. Have fun and give a listen to our exclusive Spotify Playlist at the end of the article!
5. Madonna: An Intimate Biography; Author: J. Randy Taraborrelli
Before you rush saying this is not a business book, we ask you to hang in there a minute and read the following. Many upcoming artists want the fame, the money, and the superstar status. This is the biography of one of the biggest superstars in the world. If you read this book and STILL want to get to the top, may God be with you (on Amazon HERE.) Chances are if you care about your mental health you will opt for an independent career that provides enough for you to cover your expenses and provide stability for your family. Beyond that… you’re dipping in very dangerous territory. Learn the life of a superstar before deciding to sacrifice everything to chase a very improbable dream. A dream that if realized, is super ephemeral and likely to leave you scarred for decades.
Taraborelli is known for writing major biographies of world phenomena such as Diana Ross, Cher, Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Madonna, the Kennedy family, the Hilton family, and Beyoncé.
4. Social Media Made Me Rich; Author: Matthew Loop
Matthew Loop is the highest-paid social media revenue strategist in North America. This title alone is simply INSANE. He’s friends with plenty of celebrities and shows it off too. He has an unconventional online presence as well. While you can’t find much of his background history, with a few searches you see A LOT of happy clients who make hundreds of thousands, some – millions of dollars per year thanks to him.
So how does Social Media Made Me Rich tie into YOUR music career? Well, do you want to know how to get a press deal? How to get advertised on NBC, CBS, Fox? How to get the most value for your social media ads? Or perhaps how to start a side hustle to sponsor your own music business? How about hiring people from overseas full time for only 500 dollars a month so that they can do your dreaded tasks while you focus on your business? He delivers information that nobody else on the market does (on Amazon HERE.) It truly feels like you’re eavesdropping on the secrets of the one-percenters. Oh, wait! He is indeed very rich himself!
3. Guerrilla Music Marketing BUNDLE: Volumes 1-5; Author: Bob Baker
Bob Baker has been around for a long time. He’s been involved with the music industry since the ’70s! That means the guy has seen entire genres, trends, movements come and go. And the best part is that he himself seamlessly adapted his strategies to the current times. He now gets millions of views on his YouTube affirmation channel. While Bob is focused on the spiritual side of humanity at the moment, the man was and is a beast when it comes to music marketing. Bob has been a panelist at SXSW, the Nashville New Music Conference and he’s had enough press coverage to make any indie artist jealous (The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, The Guardian, CD Baby, Music Connection, VIBE, American Songwriter, Canadian Musician, Electronic Musician, etc.)
With that being said, we absolutely URGE you to buy his 5 book bundle on music marketing (on Amazon HERE.) From how to package your music, how to introduce yourself to your audience, how to find that audience, to how to pick the right brand name and how to market it, if you read ONLY what Bob Baker wrote, you would still be light years ahead of your competition.
2. All You Need to Know About the Music Business; Author: Donald S. Passman
Since many care about titles and qualifications, know that Donald is a graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard Law School and earns his living as one of the, if not the most reputable entertainment lawyer in America. He made the following lists: Top 100 Lawyers in California, the Top 500 Attorneys in America, Billboard’s Power 100, Hollywood Reporter’s Top 100 Entertainment Attorneys, Billboard’s Music’s Most Powerful Attorneys, and Southern California’s Super Lawyers. This is who big names hire.
With a major cosign from Adam Levine, the lead singer of Maroon 5 who says “If you want to be in music, you have to read this book,” and the huge stamp of approval from Billboard, “Don Passman has seen it all — and written the book on it,” Donald S. Passman is giving you idiot-proof advice and legal info relevant to TODAY every single time the book gets republished (on Amazon HERE.) It is a book you want to read IF you’ve got some experience, a budget, and somewhat of a fanbase. It does not cover the groundwork of starting out from zero. Passman breaks down for example how streaming actually benefits artists as opposed to the traditional belief that it messed up the music industry. He also teaches you how to how to put together a team to guide your career, how to profit from plastering your face on posters, T-shirts, merch, and what to pay attention to as a band.
1. The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business; Author: Loren Weisman
Loren Weisman is a music consultant and more recently, business coach. He has been hired as a drummer and music producer for over 700 HUNDRED albums and maintains TV production credits for three major networks within the US. Weisman studied under many professional drummers such as Gary Chaffee, Dave Weigert, Ed Kaspick, Casey Scheuerell, Jim Chapin, and Jim Black. Weisman has worked with, produced, and applied The Freedom Solutions Recording Plan to independent artists such as Jeremih, Das Vibenbass, Erica Vanalee, Stretching Madness, Tamara Lewis, Kore Ionz, Rebekah Ann Curtis. In short, he’s the guy who everyone in the business knows.
Loren Weisman wrote this book after his twenty-five-year experience in the music industry (on Amazon HERE). It is an incredibly long read and jarring at times as you realize the music business goes way, way beyond just writing songs and sharing them online. This is a tough industry with tough people. Loren covered EVERYTHING for the upcoming artist with little to no experience which is why we unanimously selected the book for the top spot. From contracts, bands, solo acts, guns for hire, touring, finding sponsors, social media ethics, branding, to everything you could possibly think of, this should be the book you read repeatedly at least once a year. This is your bible!