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All You Need to Know about the Music Business

4.14  ·  Rating Details  ·  916 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Everything you've ever heard about the music business is true. It's a world where the rewards can be enormous, but the risks even greater. The key to success is knowing how the business works so you can protect yourself -- since no one will take as good care of your career as you. That's where Donald S. Passman comes in. Because if you want the best advice, it pays to turn ...more
Hardcover, 433 pages
Published June 23rd 1997 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1991)
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Mar 15, 2013 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For school. Already had a copy from over ten years ago, but finally updated to the newest edition. Passman is great about including accurate and relevant information as the industry continues to change. Have heard this labeled "the music business bible" time and again, with due reason.
Matt Jasper
Sep 18, 2009 Matt Jasper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this book to people through my work all the time (Disclaimer: I work in the music business). When I was hired, my boss commanded me to read this book. It really is the definitive starting point for understanding how the music industry works. You can get the overview, or the advanced view, depending on how far you want to dive in. Passman has a good sense of humor, even about subjects that can cause musicians' eyes to start to glaze in many other industry guidebooks. Be on the lookout ...more
Dorothy Bandusky
I read this because I was interested in what the author had to say regarding songwriting, but found myself reading the entire book, as it’s reader-friendly and not too hard for beginners to understand. I appreciated the conversational writing style, but did sometimes find the author’s attempts at humor a little distracting and annoying.

While geared toward artists, it’s also beneficial for those interested in other careers as it explains the roles they play from (mostly) an artist’s perspective.
Alex Gordon
pretty much the basics of my music business class in one book... But you will need a whole lot more info... I've read a ton of music business books and the best ones for me were ones written by folks who did at least one of these things: touring/writing/recording/producing/mixing/engineering/performing/booking/etc... with real stories of their own.
Oct 14, 2008 Ashti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my senior year of high school i interned at an entertainment compnay and 1 of my bosses sensed my passion for music and how serious i was about getting into the music field so she gave me this book to hlep me along the road on embarking into the brand new world!!!

Very intuitive!!!
Mar 24, 2012 Wontfor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Was given this as a textbook for a class in school (Business of Music class) and it is a must-read for people going into the industry. Not just because it is greatly informative, but because it makes learning fun.
Aug 01, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was great overview and a must for anyone who wants to work in the industry, or just learn about the business side of it.
Vernita Naylor
Feb 24, 2015 Vernita Naylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Artists, Publishers, Songwriters, etc
Recommended to Vernita by: Ran upon it as I was entering into the business about 13 years ago
All You Need to Know about the Music Business

It takes gut and wisdom to become a part of the music and entertainment industry. It take much more to stay and make a living in it. All You Need To Know About the Music Business is a tool designed to help you to better understand all of the intricate parts that is being played in the industry. It is also a great tool to help you to see (if you do not have an idea) what type of role may interest you from artist, musician, engineer, publisher, promoter
Ian Whalen
Jul 28, 2016 Ian Whalen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I forget which edition I read, but I believe it was an old edition because I remember him discussing the 'revolutionary' idea of sending music to people through their cable boxes some day. I still consider this pretty much required reading if you're going into the music industry so that you're maximally conversant in the language of royalties, mechanicals, etc.
Nov 22, 2014 Tue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I took a fast approach to the book, as simply a music enthusiast. (The author recommends his own "Fast Track," as well.) The writing was entertaining enough for its arguably dry information (lots of royalty rates and music business lingo). But I took away some very valuable information about the roles in the traditional music industry and a vague idea of how much everyone gets paid.

This book is truly geared toward an artist or band that is starting out in the industry, but I still found it a dec
Feb 13, 2015 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I had known about this book when it first came out in the 1990's, my life would be dramatically different today. Or maybe not. At least I would not have believed that there was no hope for a normal human being like me to make a living in the music business; at the time I thought they were all either hopelessly skanky and corrupt, or else breathing rarefied air. All or nothing thinking tends to plague lots of people, not just the young.
Now I know that if I apply myself even now, I could publis
Nov 03, 2015 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book sounds great! I hope to win, it will be really helpful...If I win, the review will be updated once I finish the book :) ...more
Joshua Florian
It is probably pretty outdated at this point. Good for a look back, at least.
Sep 30, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 5 star rating is in the context of the book's genre. This is a manual/reference for anyone who wants to understand royalties, licensing, publishing and all the other eccentricities of the music industry. The book covers a lot of ground in enough detail to be useful but not too much as to bore the reader with legalese. It is also written with a dry humor that keeps things moving through some pretty dull topics. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how to structure music deal ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Chhaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an important primer if you're a working musician who wants to understand the industry you're in. Yes, the examples are pretty hokey, but important to understand. It's well worth reading also if you work with musicians or are at all interested in knowing how the music business pies are divided up.

Full disclosure: I didn't actually finish reading this version because I've read THREE previous editions and just couldn't take any more talk of puppies and lemonade stands.
Garrett Cash
Oct 14, 2014 Garrett Cash rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the definitive book on the subject for a reason. An absolutely essential reference point for an artist who wants to remain astute in the pack of wolves. Passman is entertaining and loud out loud funny quite frequently for such a draining subject. Frankly, I was surprised at how much I already knew, and I'm not even in the music business. It's not as complicated as it seems. Keep this book for reference, get a good team, and go from there.
Matthew Pierleoni
Apr 06, 2015 Matthew Pierleoni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
As big of a book as this is, with it's fair share of complex topics and tricky mathematics, Passman's style of writing is approachable and far from dry. Even if you're not looking to get into the music business but just curious about how it operates, this is the book you want. Although, due to the ever-changing nature of the music industry, only go for the newest edition available, which Passman puts out every few years.
Brad Branham
Apr 10, 2014 Brad Branham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A necessary book for anyone (musician, producer, or even just fans) who wants to understand the modern music business.

It isn't *exciting* reading but it is informative and I really like that the author has kept up and released updated versions as business radically shifts through paradigms.

I used it as one of my research tools for the writing of my fiction series about a rock band, "It Really IS Rocket Science".
May 09, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has really heped me learn the ins-and-outs of praciticng Entertainment Law. I liked how Passman discussed how the Entertainment industry operates and what roles the different parties play in the industry (i.e. agent, manager, accountant, lawyer). Furthermore, his analysis of the contract provisions that are common in Entertainment Law was incredibly easy to understand and helpful in my pracitice.
Jan 01, 2008 Amys rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone involved / interested in the music business
I bought this book because I wanted to know about record deals, music publishing, royalties, copyright etc.

Passman's writing style (which is at times humorous) and the way he treats each topic makes this book an easy and interesting read. He also includes diagrams of industry structure and examples of how royalties are worked out.

I've read this title once and find it to be a great source for reference.
Jaycruz Cruz
Sep 07, 2009 Jaycruz Cruz rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, music
Since the music industry has collapsed, or starting over and reinventing itself, it all depends on how you look at it... the irrelevancy of this book is not even funny. Specially this edition. I mean, it mentions A&R people. There's definitely good advice in it, copyright issues and what nots, but it's mostly founded on how the traditional music biz has worked. You can safely stay away from this one.
Mar 22, 2008 Neal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely geared toward the artist who is shopping record deals, but also a helpful book for someone just getting started who wants an overview of how the business works. This can also be helpful for someone interested in a career on the business side. Too much discussion of royalty computations, but it's written by an entertainment lawyer, so I guess it's expected.
Rushay Booysen
Oct 15, 2012 Rushay Booysen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read i was given a signed copy as a gift and i was very skeptical but as i started reading this book it got more and more interesting.You never to old to learn.I would suggest a copy for any serious artist.This book copies basically every aspect of the music business and the author updated it to include the new digital platforms
Apr 19, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the nuts and bolts on the music business including contracts, royalty splits, the functions of the manager, the producer, etc. The book is well organized, engaging, and written in layman's terms. *Note: I read the 6th edition, and I believe there is a 7th edition that is more up-to-date.
Dec 07, 2007 Dustin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any interested in the Music Business
Shelves: music
A remarkably succinct, easy to read manual for success in the music biz. Though it occasionally bogs down in numbers (as does real life), Passman provides an easy to grasp approach to following the money in the industry, as well as how to get some for yourself, or your clients, as the case may be.
Paul Abbott
Nov 01, 2013 Paul Abbott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are thinking about being a part of the music industry full time this is a book you need to read. Mr. Passman offers his wealth of knowledge in a satirical, yet intelligent way. I would also recommend this book if you wanted to see what happens behind all the "sex, drugs, and rock n' roll".
Charles Yan
Jun 09, 2016 Charles Yan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really really jam packed and dense full of information. Needs a few rereads if you aren't familiar with the topic and lingo like me. He does a good job at trying to explain everything in layman's terms, but a lot of the concepts still flew over my head
Mr. Jones
Mar 24, 2016 Mr. Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys pain
Shelves: top-shelf
It made me think twice about getting into the business. Now i know what I'm getting into if i decide to continue down this road. Now i can only get robbed with my eyes open. Now i don't make such rookie decisions in music, life dealings.
Garrick Jannene
Jan 04, 2015 Garrick Jannene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're in the music business or would ever like to be, this book is your new bible.

If not, it'll bore you to tears. But maybe you should give it a quick skim to see what we have to put up with. ;)
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