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All You Need to Know About the Music Business Paperback – December 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 4th edition (December 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141018453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141018454
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Our band is about to get beyond the local scene and start wrestling with the industry for record deals and national tours, so I practically jumped out of my skin when I finally found this book. It completely demystifies the workings of the entire music industry--in a musician-friendly way. A tiny, selfish neuron in me hesitated for a moment about telling the world of this book--but hey, we musicians are all in this together. If everyone negotiating with record companies read and used this book, we'd collectively be better able to get the sort of financial rewards our art deserves.

Just so you know this isn't a load of hype, here are the section and chapter titles.

  • Your Team of Advisors
    • How to Pick a Team; Personal Managers; Business Managers; Attorneys; Agents
  • Record Deals
    • Broad-Strokes Overview of the Record Business; Advances and Recoupments; Real-Life Numbers; Other Major Deal Points; Producer Deals; Advanced Record Deal Points; Advanced Royalty Computations; Loan-out, Independent Production, Label, and Distribution Deals
  • Songwriting and Music Publishing
    • Copyright Basics; Publishing Companies and Major Income Sources; Secondary Publishing Income; Songwriter Deals; Copublishing and Administration Deals; Advanced Copyright Concepts; Even More Advanced Copyright Concepts
  • Group Issues
  • Touring
  • Merchandising
    • Tour Merchandising; Retail Merchandising
  • Motion Picture Music
    • Overview of Motion Picture Music; Performer Deals; Film Songwriting Deals; Composer Agreements; Licensing Existing Recordings and Existing Songs for Motion Pictures; Music Supervisors; Soundtrack Album Deals
Each and every chapter is full of wisdom, humor, and support, written by an actively practicing Harvard Law grad who has also been teaching music law at UCLA (a stone's throw from the heart of darkness) since 1978. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

An entertainment lawyer whose clients include many from the top of the music charts, Passman has written a book that sets out to give musicians, performers, and songwriters the tools to hire advisers, market their careers, protect their creative works, and generally cope with a complex industry in a state of flux. Passman explains boilerplate language, the complexities of royalties and advances, and label and distribution deals; a section on record deals begins with an overview of the business and works through all the steps. The "Adventures in Cyberspace" chapter is a helpful summary of the way CD-ROMs and the Internet are affecting the business. Included here is information on recent legislation and a look at how digitizing music delivery will continue to change things. Packed with illustrations, sample calculations, and definitions, All You Need To Know is humorous and accessible enough for those who just want to understand the business while being detailed and documented enough for those who make a living from it.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Donald S. Passman is a graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard Law School. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four children and practices law with the firm of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Inc. Passman has specialized intensively in the music business for more than thirty years and is frequently cited as one of the most influential people in the entertainment industry. His clients include major entertainers, publishers, record companies, songwriters, industry executives, film companies, managers, producers, and other participants in the music industry.

Customer Reviews

Easy enough to read and follow that you will want to read the whole book.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend this book to any artist, manager, producer and anyone else interested in the music industry.
Rex S. Vance
Passman discusses everything from record royalties to music publishing, managers and attorneys and much more.
Chris Standring

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 96 people found the following review helpful By James J. Sowers on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book as soon as I saw it's release, figuring that Don Passman would have had significant updates regarding digital distribution. Specifically I expected a detailed analysis of iTunes's agreement with artists/labels as it currently sells about 80% of purchased digital downloads (also not a mention of CD Baby). I also expected some analysis of the ins and outs of digital distribution agreements, as there are now many digital music aggregators, such as IODA and DMGI. No such luck. While there are some updates, they were pretty light, and this book is still mired in the mainstream music business. Worse, it apparently assumes the bricks-and-mortar world of music selling will continue to be the norm.

Mr. Passman seems to dismiss the brevity of his coverage by explaining that digital sales still represent less than 10% of the sales market. Even so, look at the trend lines -- digital sales has moved from early adopters to mainstream; CD sales are dropping (and sales no longer tell the big story in music -- file-trading probably rivals CD sales in volume of music distributed). There is a difference between technological innovations and a paradigm shift--most people recognize we are in the latter with respect to music.

The earlier editions were comprehensive at the times of their releases; but this edition is not, in my humble opinion, justified as a new edition. What is particularly disappointing is that the music market has been going through dramatic changes since the release of the previous edition; but you wouldn't know it by this book--which has very little in the way of new content. Alas, there is no mention of Creative Commons licensing -- this is a huge, worldwide phenomenon.
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Ron Simpson on January 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Author Passman has created something of a journalistic feat: his book is an attorney's look at the mechanisms of the music industry-usually not a particularly fascinating subject-yet he's made it great fun to read. An LA-based music attorney since the seventies, Passman is boyishly enthusiastic about his subject, and says the book is an outgrowth of his professional need to explain the basic workings of the industry to his artist clients. Though he says he is not writing technically (as if for fellow attorneys), he has nevertheless included virtually all of the checkpoints, or "deal points," that come up in contract negotiations today. The point of view being marketed here is that it pays to be an informed artist or songwriter, even if you think you don't care that much about the business side. Passman's "blurbs," or endorsements, are almost overkill: the likes of artist Don Henley, producer Quincy Jones, and longtime Warner Communications Chairman Mo Ostin. In the light of all this prestige (even the publisher, Prentice Hall, is an old-guard New York house), I couldn't believe that beneath Joe Smith's back- cover endorsement, Capitol-EMI, of which Smith was chair, was misspelled as "Capital." Minor flaw, all things considered, and happily not a predictor of sloppy work inside. Passman is an excellent choice for either personal learning or university-level classroom study. On first hearing, the title seems a bit arrogant, but Passman just about does cover it all.Read more ›
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By S. Crudup on October 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman is by far the best book to read for insight into the pros and the cons of the music business. Passman's knowledge is superior to any other music book that I have had the pleasure of reading. Many authors have released pertinent information about the realities of the business but Passman's approach is not only insightful but it is relaxing as well. His knowledge coupled with his humor, wit and enthusiasm soothes the anxiety of the reader. Instead of the reader being bombarded with only facts and figures, Donald Passman appears to display a more personal address. In reading All You Need to Know About the Music Business, I felt it was more of a close consultation instead of a structured manuscript. This is why this book is so powerful! It is wonderfully structured to assist the aspiring musician to take control of his or her own career. He reveals the dangers & advantages of advances, royalties, cross-collateralization, publishing, merchandising and touring. Passman gives the reader tips on getting the best record deal possible. He teaches us how to protect our passion, production, music and money! I highly recommend that all aspiring songwriters, producers and musicians read this book. Kudos!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By JELLA on May 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am an artist about to release an album. Even before I started venturing into self-producing my first album along w/ my producer/friend , I was reading this book nite & day & I even lent it to my manager since we're really not that knowledgeable in the business yet. It really is a must for someone to treat the music industry as business or else , if u don't know how to play the game, the ins-outs of this industry - u must read this book or else you're gonna sink. Donald is an industry professional whom I believe wants to share his knowledge to struggling & aspiring artists/musicians/managers/etc. like me. I highly recommend this book to new artists & those who have plans of crossing over the US music industry. Even if I'm a Filipino living in Manila , the knowledge that this book has given me is worth so much.
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