All You Need to Know about the Music Business (Sixth Edition)
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by Donald S. Passman, Esq.
Hardcover: 464 pages
Book Review by Kam Williams
Although I no longer practice law, there are two types of people who still routinely approach me for legal advice: convicts behind bars and aspiring musicians. Unfortunately, I'm simply too busy to take on any clients, however, I do have good news for the latter group, a state-of-the-art handbook which breaks down every aspect of the business in relatively-plain language.
Author Donald Passman is a Harvard-trained attorney with over 30 years of experience in the field. His impressive client roster includes such A-list acts as Janet Jackson, Green Day and R.E.M., to name a few. His user-friendly, how-to tome is apt to be of most use to up-and-coming unknowns trying to kickstart their careers, a time when na've performers are most likely to be exploited and make critical mistakes out of an eagerness for fame and fortune.
Passman addresses virtually every question you can think of, structuring his invaluable advice in the logical order in which it will be needed by the neophyte. He suggests that you start your assault on the industry by assembling a team of advisors which ought to include a personal manager, a lawyer, a business manager and an agent.
The next section breaks down every aspect of a record deal, from advances to royalties to albums to videos to marketing to touring to merchandising. Next, he focuses on an often overlooked area, intellectual property, which is comprised of copyrighting, publishing and songwriting. And the text subsequently answers an array of ancillary inquiries about creative control, bootlegging, fees and financing.
If you know anyone dreaming of making
it in the music world, I implore you to insist that they read
this priceless treatise from cover to cover before they even
think about entering into any agreements.