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What They'll Never Tell You About the Music Business:
The Myths, the Secrets, the Lies (& a Few Truths)

Peter M. Thall. Billboard Books 2010

This revised and expanded edition is a must-have reference not only for aspiring songwriters, record producers, and performing artists but also for record company executives, personal and business managers, agents, and attorneys. You'll learn how the Internet has affected every aspect of the music business, how many musicians have seized do-it-yourself Internet opportunities to create successful business models, how satellite radio, digital jukeboxes, and video games are affecting the music market, how artists can maximize their chances for long-term financial health, how the royalty pie is sliced-and who gets the pieces, what snares and pitfalls to avoid when signing an employment contract, and much more. Author Peter Thall has more than 40 years experience of practicing law and has represented many of the world's greatest artists, such as Simon & Garfunkel, Barry Manilow and ABBA.

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Donald Passman. Free Press, 7th edition (2009)

In this completely revised and updated seventh edition Passman offers executives and artists, experts and novices alike the essential information they need not only to survive in these volatile and exciting times, but also to thrive. Drawing on his unique, up-to-the-minute experience as one of the most trusted advisors in the industry, Passman offers new information on the new 360 model of record deals, the Copyright Royalty Board's latest decisions regarding online transmissions, the developing customs on new technologies such as streaming on demand, ringtones, and digital downloads, and updates on recording and publishing deals, as well as film music.

The Art of Writing Great Lyrics
Pamela Phillips Oland. Allworth Press (2001)

Packed with things every songwriter needs to know, creative exercises, do's and don'ts, this highly praised book by a prolific songwriter shares a wealth of information critical to a lyricist's success.

The Bottom Line Is Money: A Comprehensive Guide to
Songwriting and the Nashville Music Industry

Jennifer E. Pierce. Bold Strummer (1994)

A Nashville songwriter discusses the songwriter's unique concerns and position in the music industry. This book includes an evaluation of the songwriting process, using hit songs as examples.

Breaking Into the Music Business: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
Alan H. Siegel. New York: Fireside (1991)

This is a comprehensive guide to copyright law, songwriting and recording, and artist royalties. Particularly useful is its glossary of music industry terminology.

The Complete Handbook of Songwriting: An Insider's Guide to
Making It in the Music Industry

Mark Liggett, Cathy Liggett. Plume; 2nd edition (1993)

This reference presents essential information and advice that may be useful to advanced as well as beginning songwriters.

The Copyright Handbook: How To Protect & Use Written Works
Stephen Fishman. Berkeley, CA: Nolo, 2005 (8th edition).

User-friendly and informative, this book is designed to help people understand copyright law in the United States. This book does not, however, concern itself with copyright protection for music. Chapters deal with information on copyright law, copyright notice, copyright registration, copyright infringement, and other related topics.

Music Law: How to Run Your Band's Business
Richard Stim. Berkeley, Ca: Nolo, 2009

Musician and attorney Richard Stim has filled this book with helpful advice on solving disputes between band members, dealing with lawyers, managers, and record companies, and even the increasingly important matter of sample clearance. Because he advises getting all agreements in writing, Stim has provided dozens of sample agreement forms, both as blank hard copies in the book and as templates on the enclosed disk. Throughout the book, Stim provides important legal advice, all translated from stilted legalese into simple English. Both big and little names get into these difficulties sometimes; the book is peppered with cautionary tales of real musicians and their legal squabbles.

Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code
US Copyright Office., 2007.

The language of the Copyright statute -- Title 17: Copyrights.

The Craft and Business of Songwriting
John Braheny. Writers Digest Books, 2006 (3rd edition).

This book exposes the industry's best kept secrets to help novices create and market successful songs. Includes tips from award-winning artists and songwriters.

The Craft of Lyric Writing
Sheila Davis. Writer's Digest Books; 1st ed. edition (1985).

Davis, a respected lyricist, composer and teacher, analyzes over 30 successful lyrics to illustrate why they caught the attention of the public and the music industry.

Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts Handbook
Karen Tripp. Clark Boardman Callaghan, 2009

Provides expert analysis and commentary on copyright and trademark, multimedia, freedom of speech, rights of publicity and privacy, music and television, and entertainment and business. Encompasses books, music, motion pictures, television, entertainment litigation, choreographic works and copyright, international financing arrangements, legal ramifications of future home entertainment technology, the impact of completion guarantee on producers and other parties, and alternative financing arrangements for motion pictures.

How to Have Your Hit Song Published
Jay Warner. Hal Leonard; 3rd edition (2006)

How to Have Your Hit Song Published is a step-by-step guide for songwriters to navigate through the competitive business of music publishing. This revision contains even more savoir faire advice on striking the right chord with publishers, producers, music industry attorneys and record executives, and is written to motivate as well as to inform.

How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording
Diane Sward Rapaport, Loreena McKennitt. Prentice Hall; 5th edition (1999)

Since its first publication in 1979, the book has sold nearly 150,000 copies and serves as a major resource for musicians and music professionals that record and operate independently of major recording labels. The book explains the steps involved with setting up and managing a small record label. These include promotion, marketing, the language of business contracts, and the studio recording and engineering process. It also provides information on how major labels operate. This edition of How To Make and Sell Your Own Recording addresses the important technological changes that have occured in the nineties, including the impact of the Internet and how it is being used as an effective sales, marketing and promotional tool by indie labels and musicians.It is available by mail order from Jerome Headlands Press, P.O. Box N, Jerome, AZ 86331 for $33 postpaid, from bookstores, or

How to Pitch and Promote Your Songs
Fred Koller. Allworth Press; 3rd edition (2002).

Koller offers practical guidelines (including a step-by-step business plan) and numerous tips for successful song production and publishing. This revised edition explores resources and opportunities on the Internet and World Wide Web, and is up-to-date with the latest recording technology.

How to Succeed in the Music Business
Allan Dann & John Underwood. Music Sales Corporation; 3rd edition (2003).

This guide to music business in the UK includes lists of music publishers, recording studios, record companies and artist management organizations. It also contains sample contracts, a guide to royalties, a glossary, and a comprehensive list of UK contacts, periodicals, and radio and TV facilities.

Kohn On Music Licensing
Al Kohn & Bob Kohn. Aspen Publishers: 4th edition (2009)

Whether you are a music publisher or songwriter looking to maximize the value of your music catalog, or a producer, ad agency, or internet music service seeking to clear music rights for products, performances, and other uses, let the authors who have over 70 years of hands-on experience take you through the various music licensing processes, type-by-type and step-by-step. In clear, coherent language, they provide detailed explanations of the many kinds of music licenses, identify the critical issues addressed in each, and offer valuable strategy and guidance to both rights owners and prospective licensees.

This Business of Music: The Definitive Guide to the Music Industry
M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel, John M Gross, and Jonathan Feinstein. Billboard Books, 2007 (10th edition).

Now in its tenth edition, This Business of Music has been revised and completely updated to reflect the latest changes in the ever-evolving music business. Every chapter has been revised. An entirely new chapter has been added, asking and answering the question "Are there borders in cyberspace?" The answer is yes, and the book clearly and concisely explains what they are and how to maintain them. Commentary on recent legislation, a reader-friendly summary of the laws on copyright duration, and much more insightful analysis--plus fully updated lists of music organizations and important websites--make This Business of Music indispensable for musicians, agents, managers, marketers, music publishers and groups, colleges and universities, and everyone who wants to make music and make money.
See also More About This Business Of Music (below).

More About This Business of Music
M. William Krasilovsky, Sidney Shemel. Watson-Guptill Publications; 5th edition, 1994.

A companion to This Business of Music, this volume focuses on six areas of music not covered in detail in the larger edition: serious music, religious music, jazz, the production and sale of printed music, background music and transcriptions, and live performances. See also This Business Of Music (above).

The Music Business: Career Opportunities and Self-Defense
Dick Weissman. Three Rivers Press; 3rd Revised edition (2003).

This book covers such topics as the history of the record industry, preparing and shipping demos, record company contracts, and music publishing. It also offers information regarding college music business programs and such music careers as church music, instrument building and repair, and arts management programs.

Music Business Primer
Diane Sward Rapaport. Prentice Hall; 1st edition (2002)

A Music Business Primerdemystifies the industry's infrastructure and makes it comprehensible to anyone who loves music and wants to make it their profession. The book contains chapters describing how major industry businesspeople make money from artists' works - managers, agents, lawyers, record company executives, publishers, marketers - and examines major provisions in industry contracts. There are synopses of controversial industry lawsuits and incisive interviews with influential entrepreneurs. It is available by mail order from Jerome Headlands Press, P.O. Box N, Jerome, AZ 86331 for $33 postpaid, from bookstores, or

The Musician's Business and Legal Guide
Mark Halloran. Prentice Hall; 4th edition (2007)

Definitive in scope and written specifically for musicians and songwriters by top professionals currently working in the industry, this book demystifies the music business and the indecipherable body of law which shapes it, and provides substantive information on actual practices--with clause-by-clause commentaries on all major contracts in the industry. Requires no background in law or business and is written in plain English, not "legalese. Includes relevant forms. Follows the typical development of a musician's career--Getting Started, Music as a Business; Protecting Your Compositions; Music Publishing; Performing and Marketing; Managers and Agents; and Recording.

Music Business Handbook and Career Guide
David Baskerville & Tim Baskerville. Sage Publications, Inc; 9th edition (2009)

A comprehensive, up-to-date guide to the music industry and includes: greater coverage of digital technology and new marketing and distribution channels; new business models including the independent musician, the evolving role of producers, and satellite and internet radio; expanded coverage or the international scene; and additional and updated information on careers, especially in context of a changing business environment.

Music, Money and Success (Music, Money & Success: The Insider's Guide to Making Money in the Music Business)
Todd Brabec and Jeff Brabec. Music sales; 6th edition. (2008)

Songwriting, Composing, Recording and Music Publishing is a business. This book tells you how the business works, what you must know to succeed, and how much money you can make.

New Songwriter's Guide to Music Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Make the Best Publishing Deals for Your Songs
Randy Poe. F & W Publications; 3rd edition (2005).

A comprehendible guide to music publishing, from a history of the business to starting your own company. Includes copyright law, contract negotiating, and royalty accounting.

Music Publishing: The Real Road to Music Business Success
Tim Whitsett. Artistpro; 6th edition (2007).

An excellent guide for people starting or operating their own music publishing company. Learn how music publishers work, and what it takes to set up your business. Includes chapters on performing right societies, songwriting contracts, and administrating a publishing company.

Selling Songs Successfully
Henry Boye. Lifetime Books, Inc.; 1995 Ed edition (1995)

The author provides many useful tips, including the basics and "Do's and Don'ts" of selling songs successfully, how to avoid "song sharks," and how to negotiate the best deals possible.

Sell Your Music: How to Profitably Sell Your Own Recordings Online
Mark W. Curran. NMD Books (2010)

This book shows how to make money selling one's own music on the Internet, with advice on recording and selling music from home, designing a music sales Web site, becoming a guerilla music publicist, forming an online record label, and getting free publicity from TV, radio, print, and Internet media. Also gives instructions for setting up a home-based digital music studio. Appendixes list merchant account sources, music publications, online music sites, and indie music organizations, and explain Usenet, search engine placement, writing press releases, and Internet radio.

The Songwriters Idea Book: 40 Strategies to Excite Your Imagination, Help You Design Distinctive Songs, and Keep Your Creative Flow
Sheila Davis. Sheila Davis. F&W Publications; 1st edition (1994).

This handbook contains brainstorming techniques and exercises to foster the lyric writer's creativity, and banish writer's block.

2010 Songwriter's Market: Where & How to Market Your Songs
Writers Digest Books; New Edition (2009)

An annual compendium of music industry services and contacts.

Successful Lyric Writing: A Step-By-Step Course & Workbook
Sheila Davis. Writer's Digest Books; 1st ed edition (1988).

Davis, a successful lyricist, composer and teacher, targets tips from her renowned songwriting seminars to create this intensive home study course.

The Ultimate Survival Guide for the New Music Industry: A Handbook for Hell
Justin Goldberg. Lone Eagle Publishing Company; Bk&CD-Rom edition (2004)

From setting up an indie label to shopping songs and gaining airplay and getting signed (or not), these invaluable insights are vividly documented in a detailed, informative guide to creating a career in music. The accompanying CD-ROM is a music industry contact directory.

How They Made It: True Stories of How Music's Biggest Stars Went from
Start to Stardom

Dan Kimpel. Hal Leonard (2006).

Everyone comes from somewhere: How They Made It is a savvy insider's tale that traces the career trajectories of a cross section of top selling recording artists, puncturing the mythologies of the music business to reveal the truths within. Hard work and persistence are the common themes, dispelling the notion of "overnight success." Artists covered include Jim Brickman, Green Day, Norah Jones, Maroon5, John Mayer, Alanis Morissette, OutKast, Rufus Wainright and Lee Ann Womack.

Networking Strategies for the New Music Business
Dan Kimpel. Artistpro; 2nd edition (2005).

If the philosophy 'Who you know, what you know, and who knows you' can ever be considered true, it's in the music business. Every deal that goes down in the music business is almost always a direct result of a personal contact. From the well-known author of the very successful Networking in the Music Business, this book acts as a guide to making your personal strengths and relationships with others work for you in this unique industry. You'll learn the importance of connecting to others who share your aspirations, energies, and enthusiasm. You'll understand how to strategize your way to a successful career through personal relationships. Whether you're a professional or an aspirant in the music business — a songwriter, recording artist, musician, composer, music editor, music educator, music publisher, DJ, publicist, PR expert, entertainment lawyer — or if you plan on working with any of the above, this book is your key to developing the people skills necessary to achieve success in this billion dollar global industry.


1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
(212) 621-6000
Playback, ASCAP's member magazine, features important legislative information and numerous features, including informative articles about the music business and the accomplishments of prominent ASCAP members, as well as ASCAP's many events and award shows.

1009 17th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 321-6096
This magazine covers "every aspect of songwriting, from how to write songs to why writers write." Also covers performing right organizations and copyright law and features interviews with publishers, producers, record company executives and prominent songwriters. Available by subscription.

One Astor Plaza
1515 Broadway, New York NY 10036
(800) 745-8922 (subscriptions and information)
(212) 764-7300 (advertising)
One of the entertainment industry's best known publications, Billboard contains information on all facets of current news and trends in the business. The news articles cover domestic and international events. There are charts of top albums and singles in many categories, top video sales and rentals, and top radio play. Photographs of events and personalities are liberally interspersed.

Richard G. Green. Washington, DC: American Symphony Orchestra League, 1990.
This booklet defines copyright issues in succinct terms and offers guidelines for those who handle music licensing matters in the orchestral field.

1133 Avenue Of The Americas
New York, NY 10036
To order: (212) 354-6401
An authoritative US publication on copyright, the Journal is published quarterly and includes articles on all aspects of copyright, summaries of domestic and foreign legislative and administrative developments, and information about court decisions in the US and abroad.

P. O. Box 120675
Nashville, TN 34212
(615) 826-4141
A comprehensive directory containing listings and information for the Nashville music and entertainment industry.

Jeffrey and Todd Brabec, ASCAP, 1996.
A brief but thorough pamphlet addressing "Where the bucks come from for writers and publishers," written by ASCAP Executive Vice President/Director of Membership Todd Brabec and Chrysalis Music Senior Vice President of Business Affairs Jeff Brabec. An excellent starting point for anyone seeking to learn more about the many sources of income for songwriters and publishers. A version of this appears in ASCAP's Music Meets Business.

P.O. Box 18930
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 778-8977
Performing Songwriter is an excellent resource for active songwriters who want to stay informed about recent releases, legislative developments, technology tools, and performing rights news. The magazine features many in depth interviews with established songwriters as well as spotlighting new releases from emerging artists.


Suite 600, Paramount Building
1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
(212) 869-1330; toll free (800) 762-3444
The AFM is a trade union that represents professional U.S. and Canadian musicians in collective bargaining and contract negotiations in all aspects of the entertainment industry. It also publishes The International Musician.

5760 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008-4391
Tel: (760) 431-9124
The American Music Conference has a number of informational brochures and pamphlets that are useful when answering inquiries about musical instrument instruction.

P.O. Box 988
Whitesburg, KY 41858
Tel: (606) 633-0946/Fax (606) 633-1160
A membership organization of independent record companies and wholesalers which provides resources, meetings, information, legal assistance, and acts as a go-between with major retail record chains and the music unions. AFIM also sponsors the India Awards.

120 East 56th Street, Suite 1150
New York, NY 10022
(212) 758-6157

PO Box 1561
Burbank, CA 91507
(818) 842-6257

AIMP sponsors meetings and other events which provide support, feedback, information, and problem solving for members of the music industry.

PO Box 1291
Burbank, CA 91507
(818) 848-6783
The California Copyright Conference (CCC) is a Los Angeles-based music industry organization whose membership is comprised of music publishers, songwriters, record companies, TV and film studios, attorneys and accountants dealing with the music business. The CCC meets eight times a year, presenting speakers to discuss matters of interest to the music community on business, creative and legal matters.
If you wish to be added to the CCC mailing list to be notified of upcoming events or to join the CCC, please send your name and address to the address listed above.

Bureau of Intellectual Property
Consumer and Corporate Affairs Department
Ottawa-Hall, Canada K1A OE1
You may request Canadian copyright applications and informational brochures through this office. The fee for each submission for copyright is $25 (Canadian) at present.

PO Box 158992
Nashville, TN 37215
Tel: (615) 791-0273/Fax: (615) 790-8847
CMPA publishes the free booklet, The Church Musician and Copyright Law, and provides other services. Call for more information.

1133 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
(212) 354-6401
A non-profit organization established to foster interest in and further the study of copyright law and of rights in literature, music, art, the theater and motion pictures. Programs include lectures, dinner seminars, and Copyright Circle luncheons. It also publishes the quarterly Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A.

1 Music Circle South, Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: (615) 244-2840 / Fax: (615) 726-0314
An international organization dedicated to the preservation, development, and promotion of country music. It sponsors educational activities, and presents awards in 20 categories in a televised ceremony.

1205 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 242-0303
An international service organization whose purpose is to preserve and promote gospel music. Members vote annually to present the Dove Awards in 20 categories.

711 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Tel: (212) 370-5330 / Fax: (212) 953-2384
The Harry Fox Agency handles mechanical and synchronization licensing for copyrighted musical compositions, and the distribution of royalties based on those licenses. Harry Fox Agency is a subsidiary of the National Music Publishers' Association, which addresses legislative and other issues about copyright, and regularly schedules meetings on topics of interest to the music community.
An assortment of publications are published by the Harry Fox Agency and NMPA, including:

  •  NEWS & VIEWS, a newsletter containing news about copyright legislation and NMPA; and
  •  NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHER'S ASSOCIATION, INC. / THE HARRY FOX AGENCY,INC., a descriptive brochure describing the history and responsibilities of these organizations.

ASCAP and NMPA work together on the Copyright Coalition, which has been actively involved in the Audio Home Recording Act, signed into law in 1992.


15 Music Square West
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 256-3354
This "world-wide resource for songwriters" is a not-for-profit trade association devoted to serving and protecting songwriters in all fields of music. It offers a network of 75 workshops in 34 states and four foreign countries.

1771 N Street, NW
Washington, D. C. 20036-2891
(202) 429-5300
A membership association of major television and radio networks, and individual radio and television stations. Interests include legislative activity and member services, including seminars.

45 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001
(212) 563-3734

711 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 370-5330
The National Music Publishers' Association addresses legislative and other issues about copyright and regularly schedules meetings on topics of interest to the music community.
An assortment of publications are published by the Harry Fox Agency and NMPA, including:

  • NEWS & VIEWS, a newsletter containing news about copyright legislation and NMPA; and
  • NATIONAL MUSIC PUBLISHER'S ASSOCIATION, INC. / THE HARRY FOX AGENCY,INC., a descriptive brochure describing the history and responsibilities of these organizations.

ASCAP and NMPA work together on the Copyright Coalition, which has been actively involved in the Audio Home Recording Act, signed into law in 1992.

1560 Broadway, Suite #306
New York, NY 10036
Tel: (201) 867-7603 (general information hotline) / Fax: (201) 867-7535(mechanical inquiries)

6430 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
Tel: (213) 462-1108 / Fax: (213) 462-5430

1222 16th Avenue South, Suite #25
Nashville, TN 37212
Tel: (615) 329-1782 / Fax: (615) 329-2623

An association of songwriters that helps to educate members, and represent them with publishers and record companies. Provides copyright information, administration services, and sample contracts.

Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20559
(202) 707-3000 for information
(202) 707-9100 hotline for ordering forms
Copyright forms are downloadable from the U.S. Copyright web site at Write to request blank copyright registration forms of all types, or booklets explaining copyright topics. The hotline is a message machine - callers must know the exact names and numbers of forms.

1 East 53rd Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Tel: (212) 319-2787 / Fax: (212) 223-4415
(212) 319-2787 x1 Hotline
Provides free legal representation and comprehensive legal education to the arts community. Services include representation and counseling on copyright, contract, labor, real estate, nonprofit corporations, and tax exemption. Call this organization for an appropriate local contact in the US.