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My Way In: Knowledge is Power

So in the last few posts of My Way In we have discussed searching for your passion if you are not satisfied in your job. I recommended picking up a good habit of investing into something you enjoy and immersing yourself in the details. The beauty really is in the details – that is when you will find your dream will turn into concrete realities and you will find out jobs you never even heard of.

Apologies for the long post but this is a just a depository of all the knowledge I gained about the music industry and it is broken into three sections: Music Inspiration from websites/blogs; Music Industry News from Daily Mailing Lists and more in-depth Musical Industry Structure and Jobs coming from books.

Music Inspiration. To get inspired I would recommend getting into the details of the pure CONTENT of your passion. So in my case – get to really know the music. Training and developing your ear is just as true as for your taste buds – developing an acquired taste. Nothing can replace several hours of listening a day. For music inspiration I normally go to these websites regularly:

Pitchfork
Stereogum
HypeMachine
CLASH
GorillavsBear
NME
Record of the Day

Music Industry News. If your love for music isn’t so one-dimensional – i.e. you love music but you wouldn’t want to be an artist – I would start looking more into the industry.  I would recommend reading one of these three daily subscription mails (or all of them but they do get quite repetitive and it does take a lot of time on a daily routine):

Complete Music Update (CMU) –free and the most thorough daily feeds
Music Week – About  £150 subscription per year – although daily updates with some articles available freely. The biggest benefit to signing up to Music Week is their directory – the biggest music yellow pages you could ever dream of with EVERYONE’s numbers and emails. Priceless.
Music Ally – for all your tech inclined readers – this is really a great and well written update. You need to pay but there is about 3 months of free trial so you can start with that and see if you feel it is worth the money

Musical Industry Structure and Jobs. I would also recommend reading books to really solidify your knowledge of the jobs out there and the industry structure.For anyone who is trying to find out about the different TYPES of jobs and roles that are out there in the music industry, I highly recommend:

Working in the Music Industry by Anna Britten

This book is really great it is what gave me the aha moment when I got to the last chapter and read the artist management job description and ticket every box. What I like in this book is that it is very honest and practical. It describes all the positive and negatives of each job, what talents and personality types are suited, practical tips on how to get a job and how to work towards getting hired and some first-hand case studies from people working in the industry. It’s an absolutely essential first read if you want to find out about possibilities in the industry

I then read:

All You Need to Know about the Music business (7th Edition) by Donald S. Passman

This much less inspiring but essential book is really a bible when it comes to the technicalities of the music industry. It is written from the angle of teaching an artist but can be used for everyone.  It covers the roles and responsibilities of the different people in the artist’s ‘team’ (lawyer, manager, agents) and what to look for; a very detailed description on record deals ; a very detailed description on publishing deals and then smaller sections on Group Issues, Touring, Merchandising, Classical Music and Movies

This book is VERY dense. I will not lie that at times it feels like you need a cup of coffee per page when you get lost in the technical rules of royalties on discounted CD sold in foreign territory at a lower rate with a distributor and then how that applies to a premium. However the book does give a guide on how to skip over the more intensely technical areas. Apart from parts of it being tough to get through over all the book is really well written in the sense that he explains all concepts like he would to a 5 year old child – so if you can stay awake you should all be able to understand. And overall I really enjoyed understanding the ins and outs of all the contracts and the complexity of each deals. It’s really a big wakeup call on just how hard it is to be recouped or make money in general. It is definitely a tough but essential read.

Next up a more focused book:

The Music Management Bible edited and compiled by Nicola Riches but written by several members of the MMF

This was a great book to read for me as it focused more on the specific issues I was interested in and yet still recapped and summarized some important issues of the Passman book. Although technical I found this book really interesting and clear. It was really well written and to the point and included and explained several parts of the managers contract you would need to sign with your artist. This is the recommended basic contract by the Music Managers Forum (MMF).

How Music Works by John Powel

This was more out of personal curiosity than for my job. I wanted to find out what made music so special and why it moves so many people (including myself of course). I have mixed feelings about this book. My biggest disappointment is that I didn’t feel like it really cracked music’s magic – although maybe because you’re not supposed to. Also as I played piano for 10 years I was a bit bored with some sections, as it is written for people with zero musical knowledge and explained chords and notes and instruments. However I did enjoy several sections: what is music vs. noise, what is perfect pitch, how we came to our scales, why the same note on different instruments sound different, what is a harmony, rhythm etc. The only problem about this book is the author continuous attempt to be funny but failing terribly. I landed up cringing every few pages.

Lastly a not music related but definitely inspirational is the book I am in the middle of:

The 4 Hour work week by Timothy Ferriss

For anyone who is either going through a career change or is thinking of it and thinks really out the box and is willing to invest into a seriously different way of approaching work to enjoy your life NOW and not when you retire – I can only but recommend this book. It is very radical and it does aim to shock and although I do not agree with all parts of the book – overall this book has been so incredibly mind-blowing and inspirational I cannot help but recommend to every like-minded person I meet. An absolute must read to your crazy thinkers who want to shoot for the stars and not settle for the ordinary.

Well that should keep you busy for now. If you have some books or websites you’d like to recommend please do so. It be great to have some recommendations.

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2 responses »

  1. Pingback: My Way In: Become known as your passion guru | MasMusic

  2. Pingback: My Way In: I have a band | MasMusic

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