Keeping Clear of Business
How To Succeed In The Music Business
by Allan Dann and John Underwood.
Having read our Alternatives To 'Product' section in this issue it will be obvious (as if it wasn't already) that the business side of playing music is a fair old jungle. This book, published in the UK on July 16th, turns out to be a very useful guide through the denser regions, and includes a good deal of helpful info applicable to most 'What shall I sign/How much do I get/Is this exactly what I want' situations.
Mind you, my first reaction was one of... well, aversion. The white lettering on black cover has a little of the brash Tony-Hatch-tells-you-how-to-make-a-million-in-less-than-thirty-minutes feel that some recent books have had, and the photos of the authors (one currently involved in copyright, the other in music publishing), and their birth-dates on page 3 (1949 and 1934) had me wondering what the relevance of the contents were gonna be for, y'know, real musicians. Luckily my fears had no basis in reality (thirteenth time this week...)
The book is split into six sections: Songwriting; Recording; Artist Management; General Questions and Answers; Contracts; Quick Reference. The information within is set out in the form of questions and answers — questions of the sort that always crop up in their relevant section are set in bold type, followed by the authors' suggestions and reactions. There are parts here and there that you may find a little naive — 'The engineer sits at the mixing desk in the control room and actually achieves the sounds which the producer wants' — but all these niggles are far outweighed by the amount of information included; of particular use is the section where sample contracts are reproduced and criticised by the authors.
All in all the book makes a helpful reference work on a variety of 'music business' subjects and should help you keep clear of business, should you choose that particular avenue. The only criticism I would make is that it seems a little expensive at £2.50 for 88 pages of black and white in soft covers.
Publishers: UK: Music Sales Ltd, (Contact Details). US: (Contact Details). Australia: Music Sales Pty. Ltd, (Contact Details). West Germany: Music Sales GmbH, (Contact Details). ISBN 0 86001 454 1.
Sound Reports & Views
Review by Tony Bacon
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