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All You Need to Know about the Music Business
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All You Need to Know about the Music Business

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  595 ratings  ·  48 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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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
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
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!!!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Brad Branham
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".
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
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
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
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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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".
Travis Wussow
Great overview of the music business; easy to read and follow along. For lawyers trying to get acquainted with the typical deal points in music industry contracts, this book is a good place to start.
Written a bit more for the aspiring musician than the aspiring staff, but well written. At some points rather number heavy, but Passman's wit shines through even when he's talking royalties.
Scott Miles
Passman says, in the first chapter, that he quit his band and went to Harvard Law School. Seems to me that is the pinnacle of his advice on how to make money in the music business.
Mar 27, 2012 Jennifer marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-to-read
I'm reading the 6th edition. Fascinating so far. You really have no idea how much musicians really make (nothing) until you read this book.
Read this for my Music 431: Behind the Music Business class at State and it's incredible (if you've ever dreamt of working in the industry, that is.)
Dry reading if you're not into this type of stuff. But fascinating and essential if you're even considering entering the music business.
an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the music industry. it's simply written from an honest perspective.
Christine Jolley
yeah, my coursebook for my music business 101 class!

Was helpful but some bit were just so bloody boring!!!
Natalie Michelle Bradley
this book is very enlightening if you are a musician and you don't know anything about the music business
Smith Q. Johns
I read more than half of this book. Some very important information that won't find many places.
I scanned thru this book and decided it wasn't for me. Really for the pop musician.
Matt Sokol
My second time reading this book. The gold standard for music business books.
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