“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.”
That is a quote from Descartes, one of the most famous philosophers and mathematicians of the 17th century. And there is a lot of truth in that quote, even in 2023.
Making good decisions requires knowledge, and books give us a never-ending amount of knowledge.
So, if you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the music industry, but don’t have a “foot in the door”, books are your best way to go. In this guide, we are going to cover the 7 best music industry books in 2023, and why you need to read them.
Let’s get started 👇
1. “How to Make It in the New Music Business” by Ari Herstand
Considered by many as the template for the DIY musician, this music industry book is a must-read in 2023.
Initially published in 2016, the book received a second and then third edition in 2023 to incorporate the latest trends and developments in the music industry.
Most notably, the book explores how to create a sustainable music career in the post-COVID world. As the subtitle suggests, the author provides the reader with practical tips to master social media, creating authentic fan connections, and a lot more. And of course, the book explores how to actually make money as an artist, from understanding how royalties work to placing your music in TV ads and movies as well as developing grassroots support.
A must-read for any DIY musician looking to make it in 2023.
If you’re looking for more practical tips on music marketing and promotion, check out our latest blog post “How to Get on Spotify Playlists”. In it, we explore how to get featured on the most popular Spotify playlists with Groover, searching for playlists that precisely match your song and submitting them to the playlist curator. Check it out!
2. “All You Need to Know About the Music Business” by Donald Passman
Initially published in 1991, this classic music industry book is currently on its 11th edition.
This book is widely considered as the bible on how the music industry works, and its evolution through the decades.
The topics covered include understanding record deals, music copyrights, accessing digital streaming platforms and more. A lawyer by trade, Donald Passman navigates the changing landscape of the music industry, even covering recent phenomena such as TikTok and its influence on reshaping the music business, AI-generated music, selling your music in the metaverse and more.
If you want a comprehensive walkthrough of how the music industry has transformed through the years, and how to remain relevant in it, look no further than this timeless book.
3. “Music Marketing for the DIY Musician” by Bobby Borg
Looking for a music book that will teach you the ropes of DIY marketing? Then this might be the one for you.
In this second edition of “Music Marketing for the DIY Musician”, the author explores how new technologies are placing more and more power in the artist’s hands.
In particular, this second edition covers recent trends such as playlists, digital marketing, and the most recent tools to reach the widest audience. You’ll also get practical tips on how to design a step-by-step marketing plan for your next release, while still retaining your vision and integrity as an artist.
If you’re on a budget, but are serious about getting your music heard, check this book out.
4. “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss
Ok granted this one isn’t strictly a music industry book.
However, as an aspiring musician in 2023, you are also an entrepreneur.
And the “4-Hour Work Week” has pretty much become the go-to for anyone looking to set up their own business. From escaping the 9-to-5 workweek to crafting a business based on your strengths and managing your finances efficiently, this book covers everything you need to know to start working for yourself.
Although not a music industry book, every musician will find valuable tips here to manage their artistic career as a business and not just a hobby.
5. “Get More Fans: The DIY Guide to the New Music Business” by Jesse Cannon and Todd Thomas
Despite not having the most attractive cover, this music industry books makes it up with some of the most useful marketing tips you will find.
Tailored specifically toward building a loyal fan base, this book explores how to get from 0 to 10,000 fans on a limited budget.
The author covers topics such as how to go viral on YouTube and TikTok, how to turn casual fans into “paying” fans, getting on Spotify playlists and more.
If you’re a one-(wo)man-team and looking to build a devout following, you’ll get hundreds of useful tips in this book.
6. “Music Money and Success” by Jeff Brabec and Todd Brabec
Let’s face it: if you want to take your music to the next level, you should treat it as a business.
The author Jeff Brabec is VP of Business Affairs for BMG Sony – a behemoth of the music publishing business. So, he knows what he is talking about.
In this revised 8th edition, he explores dozens of different ways to make a living from your music, from films, television, videos games, advertising, and even interactive toys.
In a nutshell, this book will teach you how to make the most out of every opportunity, and turn your music passion from a simple side gig to a full-time occupation.
7. “The Music Business Advice Book” by Bobby Owsinski
Looking for something a bit lighter that you can grab, read for a few minutes then put down again? Check out “The Music Business Advice Book” by Bobby Owsinski.
This book gathers 150 tips from music industry professionals, curated from Owsinski’s own Inner Circle Podcast over more than 5 years.
Tips cover how to network with other musicians and industry professionals, music production tips, how to price your services in the music industry, and a lot more.
The perfect book to quickly gain some valuable insights on how to progress your music career.
That’s It for This Guide on the Best Music Industry Books!
This wraps up our guide on the best music industry books! Hopefully we were able to give you some ideas for what to put on your Christmas wish list 😊
What are your favorite music industry books? Did we leave them out from the list? Let us know in the comments down below!