I'd like to start a thread listing specific books you've found that are helpful. I've found a few random suggestions by searching, but I'd like to put them all in one place. This thread is specifically not for books about theory, sight-reading, or playing bass, but rather managing a band, touring, playing music as a profession/being self-employed, promoting oneself, networking in the biz, etc.
I have no formal or informal affiliation with any of these books or their authors; I have just read a LOT of books about this stuff and these are what I consider to be the best of the best. The Amazon links provided are for your convenience only; you might be able to find a better price elsewhere or even get them for free at the library. I'm not getting any kind of compensation or referral fee for posting the links, or anything like that. I just read a lot - at least 2-3 books each week; I own over 2,500 at present, 90% of which are non-fiction - and the only purpose of this thread is to share the wealth with my fellow TBers.
Here's my list. Please feel free to add your own, and I'll add them to this original post for your convenience.
1) The Power of Positive Confrontation
by Barbara Pachter. I was originally going to post a thread recommending this book by itself. It seems to me that almost all of the things brought up in this forum (Band Management) that have to do with inter-band problems or problems with clubs, talent buyers, etc are caused by a lack of appropriate communication. Good communication means discussing the problem - before it snowballs - using appropriate, powerful and succinct language, and creating a win/win solution. This book saved me from quitting my band of 4 years (and walking away from $4k that was owed to me). All it took was discussing our problems in a positive and constructive way, and this book taught me how. Now, we are playing shows again, being productive, sharing expenses & making some money, and I have a signed promissory note for the money owed to me, with no hard feelings. I am living with much less stress and although we still have conflicts, just like every band, we are productive and happy.
2) The Musician's Guide to the Road
by Susan Voelz. This is the best book I've found when it comes to touring. Susan Voelz gives you some real, down-to-Earth tips for making it on the road. This book is more designed for people who find themselves out on tour, and how to make the most of it and survive, not so much how to arrive at this point. However, it has very valuable information about not going crazy and not going broke and I highly recommend it, even if you never plan to actually tour yourself - it's amazing what touring musicians go through to bring you their live shows and a real eye-opener for fans, too.
3) Ruthless Self-Promotion in the Music Industry
by Jeffrey Fisher. This book is more for someone who's just beginning to realize that you don't have to lose money in order to play music. It has the basics of putting together a plan and mostly focuses on changing your thinking rather than providing specific tips, but IMO, your mindset is even more important than actual tips. Tips only help you when they are applied correctly: It is being creative and understanding your goals and how to reverse-engineer your way there that is the important part. You can come up with your own tips if you know what you want, and this book helps you figure that out. If you want to go straight to the specific tips, check out...
4) Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook: 201 Self-Promotion Ideas for Songwriters, Musicians and Bands on a Budget
by Bob Baker. The title says it all. Not all of these are applicable for every situation and some of them stink with "duh" factor, but there is some GREAT, GREAT stuff in here that every band should consider. Really though, I consider this book to be a jumping-off point for coming up with your own ideas. On that note...
5) How to Get Ideas
by Jack Foster is one of the positively indispensable books in my library. This book teaches you mostly about the literal process of creating new ideas out of combining old ideas and a goal. Jack Foster mostly teaches advertising, where account executives have the occupation of coming up with new ideas all day, every day. If you are trying to accomplish something relatively open-ended, like "promote my band" or "make money making music," this book is a great place to start. I am a firm believer that tips do not help you unless you already have the right mind-set. This book will give you the right mind-set. If you read the "201 Ideas" book above before reading this one, you might get 100 applicable ideas out of it. If you read it AFTER reading this one, you might get 400 applicable ideas out of it. I highly recommend this!
6) How to Think Like Einstein
by Scott Thorpe. This book is similar to the book above, but more broad. I recommend it for the same reasons as the last book. They are both great; if you are have to choose just one, get the other from the library
7) The Future of Music
by Dave Kusek. This book is about music business and how the industry is changing (and not changing) to accommodate and profit from new technologies. If you plan to sell your music, or if you buy (or download legally or illegally) any music now, this is necessary reading. Dave Kusek teaches Music Business at Berklee College of Music.
8) How To Be Your Own Publicist
by Jessica Hatchigan. I have been in Rolling Stone, People, Time, The New York Times, SPIN, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard Magazine, and on MTV News, VH1, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, Kevin & Bean/KROQ in LA, and Howard Stern because I read this book and combined that knowledge with something newsworthy and put together good team of people to help me. Enough said!
9) Rich Dad, Poor Dad
by Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter. Everyone interested in making better use of his time, earning an income, and being successful should read this book, if he hasn't already. When you've finished, read "Cashflow Quadrant" by the same authors. These two books, along with the next one, are the reasons I no longer work 60 hours/week as a kitchen manager at a fast-food restaurant, with more debt and less income than I have now. (I'm now a much-happier musician; I'm debt-free, and I have 3 years of income set aside for emergencies. By the way, I'm 24.)
10) The Joy of Not Working
by Ernie J. Zelinski. This book also contributed a lot to getting to where I am now, as far as my job and what I do with my time. In gave me the knowledge - and courage - necessary to quit a job I didn't love so I could do something I'm passionate about, and for a higher standard-of-living, too.
11) The Millionaire Next Door
by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko. I know that these last few books don't seem to have much to do with music business, but they are important material for anyone self-employed. The things that kept me from being able to make money as a musician and made it necessary for me to hold a "normal" job are the same things that keep "normal" job holders out there from being truly successful and making the CEOs of their companies rich instead.
12) All You Need To Know About The Music Business
by Donald Passman. This is the industry standard, and still my favorite. There are lots of books on this subject, but this is the best (IMO). It talks a lot about things that may not concern your average working indie band - recording contracts, major label distribution channels, international touring, etc - but the basics are good stuff to know if you plan to make a career out of music. Just like music theory, it is better to know it and choose not to use it than not to know it.
13) The Real Deal: How to Get Signed to a Record Label
by Daylle Deanna Schwartz. This book is not quite what the title says: The author takes the approach (and I agree with her) that in this day & age, if you want to get signed to a label, you should become successful independently first, and then when a label approaches you for a deal, you can tell them, "What can you offer me that I don't already have on my own?" instead of blindly signing whatever they offer you. Record labels rarely develop from scratch these days; they are much more interested in bands that are very successful in a regional or under-ground arena, and then taking that nationwide or global. This book takes you step-by-step through the process of becoming independently successful as a band, and then the second part of the book takes you through the process of attracting the attention of labels who can help you take that to the next level. Even if you only read the first half of this book, it's well worth the it.
14) Behind The Glass: Top Record Producers Tell How They Craft The Hits
, by Howard Massey. This book is more about recording, but it is so good that I wanted to include it in my "must read" list. Even if the extent of your recording goals are a 3-track demo at a local studio for the purposes of getting more gigs or putting on your MySpace, you should read this book first.
15) Never Eat Alone
by Keith Ferrazzi. This is the best book about networking I have found. I really believe that in music - in all business, really - it's not what you know, but who you know. Some people, especially artists, seem to be stuck in this mindset that networking is only for used-car salesmen, or that networking means handing out two business cards at a time during dinner. This is not so, and networking is not a bad thing because it's mutually
beneficial. The key to networking (and to getting press, in my experience) is not seeing what you can get, but seeing what you can give
. This book is great at helping you figure out how.
I hope this helps. Please feel free to post your own favorites, and I'll add them to the list so they're all in the first post. Please include a link to the book on the web, the author's name(s), and a short description of the book, what you learned from it, and why you're recommending it!
Suggested by zongeek: Tour:Smart: And Break The Band
by Martin Atkins and The Musician's Atlas
, edited by Jude Folkman.
Suggested by Croox: This Business of Music: Marketing & Promotion
and This Business of Global Music Marketing
, both by Tad Lathrop.
Suggested by Will!!!: The Daily Adventures of Mixerman
by an anonymous person, and it seems this book is currently unavailable, both from the official website and from Amazon.
Suggested by Ground Pounder: Unleashing the Ideavirus
by Seth Godin - a series about target marketing, geared at "passionate types who need to break away from the generic approach" according to GP, and available in hardcover, paperwork, and legal free PDF download.