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All You Need to Know About the Music Business: Ninth Edition Hardcover – November 10, 2015
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About the Author
Donald S. Passman practices law in California and has specialized in the music business for more than thirty years, primarily representing talent. He lives in Los Angeles.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Introduction to the Ninth Edition
Well, kiddies, we’ve certainly seen a lot of changes since we last we got together.
The good news is that streaming is growing at a wonderful pace. And that’s about it for the good news.
CD sales are under 25% of the business and dropping. Downloads have fallen 15% per year for the last few years. Piracy is alive and well, hiding under cyber-rocks, and YouTube delivers more audio-only music than all the other sites put together (including the pirate sites), for which the creators are paid very little (we’ll talk more about that later). All in all, the industry earnings are almost half of what they were in 2003. Also, we’re going through a major upheaval in the songwriter world that could radically change the industry.
Otherwise, it’s a lovely afternoon.
On the brighter front, we’re seeing huge growth in vinyl (to younger people, it’s a new technology; go figure) that’s only held back because every vinyl plant on the planet is at full capacity. The bad news is that it’s less than 2% of the business. But in the current state of affairs, we’ll take what we can get.
Now if you’re reading this and trying to decide whether the music business will disappear and if you’d be better off putting the price of this book into your stamp collection, there actually is a beautiful weather forecast. As we’ll discuss, streaming has the potential to make the music business bigger than it’s ever been in history. People who never would have gone into a record store are listening to streams, and the numbers are growing fast. So stick around (and buy the book).
As these new ways to exploit music take hold, you might wonder how artists get paid. Well, my friend, you’ve come to the right place. The book in your hands has the latest scoop on all these newfangled gizmos. And at no extra charge (if you act RIGHT NOW), there’s an update of what’s happening with traditional music business deals—recording, songwriting, merchandising, touring, and so forth.
So step right up. All these secrets and more are revealed just inside the tent.
P.S. Congrats if you read this. It means you’re a real Go-Getter, since most folks skip the introductions to books.
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Top Customer Reviews
I have read some other books and taken a course on EdX on the music business. This book is an excellent introduction to the clauses found in contracts, the negotiating points of contracts, the big picture of the music business, the options that artists have besides trying to sign with a major record label, and most importantly, what you can expect from each option that is out there.
This book makes clear the economics of the music business right now and how much money is out there for artists, where the money comes from, and whether and when (if) you can expect to get it.
It is written in clear language for everyone. Great read.
I usually recommend this one or Everything You Better Know About the Music Business by Kashif depending upon the person's mentality. Let me tell you why because I believe that Passman's version provides you some quality, needed information from a business perspective and it is a little more technical and can be difficult to read while Kashif's version is much easier to read but offers advice from an artist perspective. I've read both books and both perspectives and can see the value from both sides. You will be a much wiser and equipped artist, musician, engineer, publisher, songwriter, etc if you learn everything you can about the industry and pick up a copy of both.
This book is highly recommended.
Although the book reads like a 'parade of horribles' for the music industry, and may make you reconsider your desire to become involved in the business of music, the book is really intended for people who are going to be negotiating contracts with powerful interests. Passman gives you the confidence that, when and if the time comes where you have to negotiate important deals, you will have a place to turn to get an honest appraisal of the deal you are being offered, where it might be improved, what others are getting, etc.
Highly recommended for anyone in the business. If you are an artist with a "team" of professionals helping you (chapter one of the book discusses this team) this book really could be "all you need to know about the music business." If you are going to be on the employer side of the business creating contracts, the book still makes a great companion text to something like "This Business of Music" which includes sample contracts and more lengthy expositions but lacks the critical insights to protect your bottom line. If you are going the D.I.Y. route, this book is probably less important to you than Bob Baker's Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook, as promotion and publicity are everything at first, but it would still be a good reference tool, if only to prove to yourself you've made the right decision by rejecting the bad deals shady labels are offering you.