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You don’t need to invest years of your life studying at college to run a successful music business be it a label, an artist management company or whatever else you want to do. All the information that you need for success is at your fingertips if you know where to look. Combine this information with determination and hard work and you can make great progress in a relatively short period of time towards the breakthrough that you are looking for. In this article, Steve Melhuish of the Music Business School in London tells you about three of the books that in his view are part of that essential core of information.
It’s a Wednesday afternoon and at the Music Business School in Clapham a small group of students are listening intently to a lecture about how to market their music businesses using digital media and the internet. The students are participating in the 16 week ‘Managing a Music Business Enterprise’ (MMBE) course run by music industry veteran, Steve Melhuish. The course is designed to give people the core knowledge they need to get a music business up and running quickly via a series of intensive lessons which concisely present essential information. Along with lectures covering all aspects of the music business, Melhuish has created a recommended reading list for his students. He considers three of the books so essential that he has made them a compulsory part of the course.
Now in its 6th edition of this book’s sub title, The Essential Guide to the Law and the Deals tells you why it’s the go-to resource for people new to the music industry. “One of the main reasons we use it at Music Business School is that it is written about the UK music business in particular. A lot of music business books have a US perspective, but this one is home grown and goes perfectly with the information we give students.” Chapters within the book cover information such as Putting together your team and Finding a Lawyer, What is in a management contract, What is a good record deal and much more.
Music publishing is a complex part of the music business and, if you don’t get your head around it, you can lose out on valuable income regardless of whether you are an artist, a label or an artist manager. “However, with a few key pieces of essential knowledge in your hands and with this book as a guide, you can get going with your music business very quickly and ensure this income stream is being taken care of” says Steve. Sections in the book covering collection societies and the PRS fit hand-in-hand with our guest lecture series. However even if you are not studying with us, I would recommend you go grab this book.
Author of The Art of Music Publishing, Helen Gammons has lectured at Music Business School. We look forward to having her return to the school as part of our Guest Presenters programme.
Perhaps the least known of our recommended books, but certainly one of the best to have at hand on a day-to-day basis for making sure you are an expert in very little time. “It’s the Swiss army knife of music handbooks, and the most useful during the MMBE course” says Steve. “The book’s very practical focus helps our students with advice as to the how’s and whys of running an independent music venture, and offers clear explanations of numerous issues including music exploitation and protective measures, gatekeeping and hidden music income streams. It also has a killer music business glossary so that when someone hits you in an email with a term you don’t know, you can reply like an expert with an understanding of what’s being discussed.”
As the music business evolves, artist managers are centre stage running direct to fan businesses for their clients. It’s an exciting but increasingly complex business environment for artist managers as they deal with everything from administration, negotiation, and communication on behalf of their clients. Intended as a handbook to be kept close for ready reference, the recently revised Music Management Bible includes chapters written by leading managers. Subjects covered include Artist Agreements, Direct-to-Fan Marketing, and Recording Contracts. Produced in association with the Music Managers’ Forum, this volume is a valuable and recommended part of the Music Business School MMBE course.
CEO of the MMF Jon ‘Webbo’ Webster has been a regular contributor to our Guest Presenter programme. The Music Management Bible is an official MMF publication and we look forward to welcoming Jon back to the school again soon.
“By using a combination of these books and by doing a great intensive short course, you can save thousands of pounds, plus you get the benefit of practical experience by getting your music business up and running sooner that you would by doing a two or three year course,” says Melhuish.