(Second in a series of blogs answering Frequently Asked Questions about songwriting, music production, arranging, and the business of music.)
As I pointed out in a recent blog, these days every writer is on his or her own. Music is a business, and if you are fortunate enough to get published, or release your own record, or land a song on an artist recording, you best know what to expect from the music business. Is the contract you were offered typical or are you being shortchanged? What are your rights as a songwriter or an artist? How do I get paid? (Because we all want to get paid.)
So, here in this post, I’m recommending a few books that you should consider owning. These are not the sorts of books you read casually. More often than not, they are books you will use from time to time as reference materials on specific business questions, as they might arise.
(These books are terrific references, but they are no replacement for the expertise of a qualified music business attorney.)
If you have a book to recommend on the matter of the music biz, please post it in the comments.
The Brabec brothers (identical twins, btw) are both music industry pros. Their book is used as the textbook in music publishing classes at Belmont University. It’s thorough, easy to read, and kept up-to-date. If you are looking for your first book on the music biz, start with this one.
This Business of Music (by Krasilovsky and Shemel)
This is the Bible of music business books – both Old and New Testaments. It covers everything. It is a quality reference book that is kept up-to-date. I bought my first copy while in college in the 1970s. I bought my current edition just a few years ago. This is not a light bedtime read. It is the book you reference for the answers about standard practices in the music business. It is invaluable for all the boilerplate contracts and legal forms included in its index.
The Craft and Business of Songwriting (by John Braheny)
I almost included this book in my previous post about books on the craft of songwriting, because it splits its time between both the craft and the business of songwriting. It is a great overview for both aspects of the songwriter’s trade.
Copyright Law (by Richard Stim)
The author, Richard Stim, is a practicing copyright attorney. This is the textbook used at Belmont University to teach copyright law. It is surprisingly easy to read as a layman. I have found it to be a very useful reference to answer the copyright questions that arise from time to time.
(If you have a question about songwriting or the music business for my FAQ series, send it to me via the email contact form here at the website, and I’ll do my best to answer it.)