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Series: All You Need to Know about the Music Business
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.
Speaking as a music business consultant, if I had to recommend only one music business book for someone who wanted to break into the music industry, this would be it. Donald S. Passman's All You Need to Know About the Music Business is one of what I refer to as the Holy Trinity of music business books, along with This Business of Music and Mark Halloran's Musician's Business and Legal Guide.
Passman is well respected within the industry, with musicians and music industry executives alike. He explains complex concepts and legal terms well and is adept at breaking down the complexities while maintaining terminology music industry professionals need to know.
While This Business of Music remains the comprehensive music industry Bible, its legalese can intimidate those new music business concepts or those who are unfamiliar with contract language. Therefore, Passman's All You Need to Know About the Music Business serves as a great starting point to the concepts and terminology of the music industry. I especially recommend it as a prerequisite to This Business of Music.
This was a great book, and I would be outright wrong if I said it didn't provide a comprehensive overview of the music industry. The author does a great job keeping the reader intersted with humor and easy to understand examples.
The only thing I will caution is that it focuses MUCH on the recording industry and how they could mess you over and all of the contracts etc...but not enough on starting your own buisiness and small independant label. This book is great for those of you lucky enough to be at the point with big time label and publisher recognition, but not so much for us indie artist's wanting to start our own LLC or Sole Proprietorship. There are other books out there if the latter is what your looking for that would better serve you and hopefully when I get signed I'll be able to reach again for this book.
Overal great book, but in my case I wouldn't be writing this review since I just recently ordered "Music Law" which I'm hoping will go into more detail of where this book left off with the actual side of running your own buisiness/partnership.
Happy reading, regardless it's good that your reading any music law book since it's a little sad how nasty the recording industry is. Don't get too caught up in this stuff and don't forget to get down in the basement and write a couple of good songs if your a musician!
An incredible thorough explanation of all sides of the music business. You will find some info incredibly fascinating, other pages you won't want to look at, but the author does a tremendous job of allowing the reader to move from section to section without losing continuity or flow.
A great pickup if you are interested in learning more about the music industry as a potential career path. I interviewed with a finance guy at Warner Music Group, and he said this was "The Bible" of the music industry; I see his point now.
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As a student taking a music business bachelors program, I can tell you that this book is like a road map for making your way through the music industry without getting caught in the spiders web of lies, deceit, and backhanded or cut-throat deals.
Whether your a musician trying to get a Good record deal or someone who wants to make a career in the music field, Donald Passman's book reveals secrets and truths that could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to find out from industry professionals. The most astonishing thing is that and It really is easy to read and understand (not like a text book, but like a novel you can't stop reading). I'm telling you the truth when I say that this book is worth its weight in gold! If you really want to get into the music business, then you shouldn't hesitate in dropping 25 bucks to get "All You Need to Know About The Music Business!"
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Difficult to determine who this book is written for. I really doubt artists who are selling over 500,000 records (read: White Stripes, Avril Lavigne, etc.) are reading this book. Yet, the examples/numbers/math/contracts in this book are very much skewed towards artists of that caliber. The book reads in such a way that it feels assumed that you, the reader, are selling at least 200,000 copies of your record and are writing/producing songs for Justin Bieber. Sure, it's a nice reference book if you are curious about the financial lives of your favorite superstar, but there are a whole lot of huge numbers thrown around in this book, numbers that you'll only have to deal with if you've won a Grammy and are playing 5000-capacity venues. Plenty of brand new, young artists are offered deals from major labels all the time and it might be a good reference for them. But they should realize they have absolutely no bargaining power and will not be able to change anything about their contracts simply because they know a little more after reading this book. What they can (and probably will) do is look at other options (cough cough indie labels).
All in all, I felt as if there should have been a discussion of indie labels and the indie music business, most of whom do 50/50 deals, don't take publishing rights (though some do), and can make money for their artists while selling well under 50,000 records. Even the largest of indie labels seem to be left out of this book (Sub Pop, 4AD/XL/Matador/Beggars, Domino, Merge, Mute) - these are labels whose contracts look vastly different than the ones described in this book, labels who operate with much more fiscal conservatism and don't toss out huge advances or expect you to spend a half million dollars recording your album.Read more ›
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