The music industry can be a daunting thing to approach as an independent artist. At WAV, we want to help you along multiple points of your journey through the tangled web of creativity meeting business.
If you’re a member of our Facebook group “Artists First” – you may have noticed we’ve been celebrating National Audiobook Awareness Month by dropping in weekly book recommendations for you. If you’re not a member yet – join us.
To close out the holiday, we made a list of our top 5 book recommendations for all independent artists out there. Whether you’re brand new to the game and need basic guidelines, or a veteran of the industry and want to get a refreshing take on navigating your own creative mind – we’ve got a book for you.
1. All You Need to Know About the Music Business – Donald S. Passman
Ok, ok – we know this is audiobook awareness month, and this text doesn’t have an audiobook counterpart (it’s updated consistently with new information) however this one is a staple for any musician.
Did you hear that? ANY MUSICIAN. So if you’re looking at your book collection and don’t see a version of this on your shelf – we think you need to fix that.
All You Need to Know about the Music Business is essentially a dictionary of the music industry, if you have any questions around how anything works – you’ll find it here. From building a team and signing a deal, to touring, merchandising, and collecting royalties, every detail you need to get started is here.
2. How to Make it in the New Music Business – Ari Herstand
Ari Herstand, a musician himself, wrote this book while looking at the music industry as a “democratic DIY business” – which is largely the direction it’s heading with each independent artist’s success.
This text gives aspiring artists practical tools needed to build and maintain a lifelong career, while also encouraging artists to pave their own paths in this world. There is no one way to approach this world, make it your own.
3. Six-Figure Musician – David Hooper
“Struggling artist” is such a common descriptor in the music industry, it’s almost assumed that any artist who is unsigned is also broke.
That is absolutely not the case.
If you know what to do, you can make a great living as a musician. This book shows you what to do – how to make money with your music – in clubs, on the internet, and on the road.
We’re not saying it’ll be easy – but we are saying you’re absolutely capable.
4.How Music Got Free – Stephen Witt
Moving away from “how-to” texts, let’s take a step back and look at the endlessly fascinating history of the music industry.
How Music Got Free – A Story of Obsession and Invention weaves narratives around key players and characters in the secret history of digital music piracy. Witt writes about the moment in history when ordinary life became tangled with the world online.
This book takes a look at what happened when an entire generation committed the same crime, and how the music industry was forced to adapt in order to save itself from the internet. Insane.
5. Creative Quest – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
This audiobook listens almost like an album, featuring original music by author Questlove and The Roots, with plenty of vocal guest appearances.
Questlove, a legend in the music and creative space, shares wisdom around inspiration, originality, and living your best creative life.
We love this book because it dives into the emotional and philosophical side of the music industry. Reflecting on his personal experience and pulling from creative philosophies, lessons, and stories he’s heard from the many creators he’s worked with in his life, Questlove addresses everything from creativity – what it is, where to find it, how to maintain it – to coping with critics, and the shortcomings of success. 10/10 will forever recommend.