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5 Must-Have Books About the Music Industry

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

The music industry is a dynamic and multifaceted world, and understanding its nuances can be a valuable asset for anyone seeking a career within it. Whether you're an aspiring artist, a music producer, a manager, or simply a music enthusiast, delving into the insights provided by experts in the field can be a game-changer. To help you navigate this complex industry, here's a curated list of five must-have books, with Paul Porter's "Blackout" leading the pack.



1. "Blackout" by Paul Porter:

Paul Porter's "Blackout" serves as a poignant exploration of the dark side of the music industry. Drawing from his own experiences as a veteran radio and music executive, Porter sheds light on the issues of media consolidation, payola, and the distortion of black culture. The book is a wake-up call that prompts readers to question the ethics and power dynamics prevalent in the industry, making it an essential read for anyone aiming to understand the industry's complexities.



Donald S. Passman's comprehensive guide is considered a staple for anyone looking to navigate the intricacies of the music industry. Covering topics ranging from record deals and royalties to touring and marketing, this book offers a holistic view of the business side of music. With its easy-to-follow explanations and real-world examples, it's an indispensable resource for musicians, managers, and industry professionals.



As the music industry continues to evolve, Ari Herstand's book provides valuable insights into the contemporary landscape. Focusing on the role of technology, social media, and self-promotion, the book offers practical advice for emerging artists aiming to forge their own path. Herstand's firsthand experiences and up-to-date information make this book an essential read for those seeking success in today's music world.



4. "Music Money and Success" by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec:

For those interested in the legal and financial aspects of the music industry, "Music Money and Success" is an authoritative guide. Covering topics such as copyrights, licensing, and royalties, Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec provide a wealth of knowledge for artists, songwriters, and music publishers. The book is filled with case studies and real-world examples that illuminate the financial workings of the industry.



5. "The Soundtrack of My Life" by Clive Davis:

Clive Davis, a legendary figure in the music industry, shares his remarkable journey in "The Soundtrack of My Life." Providing insights into his role as a record executive, Davis recounts his experiences working with iconic artists like Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. This memoir not only offers a glimpse into the creative process but also provides a unique perspective on the power of A&R and artist development.


The music industry is a realm of endless possibilities and challenges. These five must-have books, with Paul Porter's "Blackout" at the forefront, offer diverse perspectives that shed light on various facets of the industry. Whether you're seeking knowledge about the business side, contemporary trends, legalities, or personal experiences, these books collectively provide a comprehensive toolkit for navigating the ever-evolving music landscape.

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