Manage for Success: Recommended Reading -- Updated, Newsletter #118, July 2011

"Manage for Success" is a free monthly newsletter for record label executives who want to operate their companies efficiently and successfully. It's published by Keith Holzman of Solutions Unlimited, a management consultant, troubleshooter, and trusted advisor, and is based on his many years as a senior executive in the music industry.

Copyright 2011 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.



I thought this month I'd do something a bit different this issue -- provide a guide to what I think are some of the best books and publications about the music industry, and business in general. Many remarks are my own; others are critic or reader comments derived from , where most of the books can be purchased. This is an updated version of the one in by book, "The Complete Guide to Starting a Record Company" and one I sent in a newsletter some years ago.

Recommended Reading

Music Business Law

"All You Need to Know About the Music Business, 7th Edition" by Donald S. Passman. This is an absolutely essential guide to the legal and financial aspects of the record industry. If you’ve got time to read only one book about the business, this should be it. Passman has a relaxed, conversational style of writing about what can be a very dry subject, and he updates the book about every three years. I suggest you buy your own copy and not borrow it from the library because you’re likely to be referring to it frequently.

"What They’ll Never Tell You About the Music Business: The Myths, the Secrets, the Lies (& a Few Truths) Revised and Updated" by Peter M. Thall. This is one of the newest of the legal books and is intended primarily for artists considering signing with a label, but it has great insight into the signing process.

"Legal Aspects of the Music Industry: An Insider’s View" by Richard Schulenberg. This book covers almost every aspect of music business law, particularly contracts, breaking down legalize into readily understandable language.

"Music, Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Music Business, 7th Edition" by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec. Intended more for songwriters, composers, and those interested in music for film and television, this is a good supplement to Passman and is updated every couple of years.

Music Industry

"Indie Power" by Peter Spellman. This is a good complement to “The Complete Guide.” Spellman approaches the subject from a somewhat different angle that I do, and he has an interesting outlook on the Indie label scene.

"Indie Marketing Power (The Resource Guide for Maximizing Your Music Marketing)" by Peter Spellman. This is an excellent companion to the above that suggests up-to-date approaches to marketing music.

"Indie Business Power " by Peter Spellman. All of the Spellman books are available at the following site:

"The Musician’s Handbook (Revised Edition)" by Bobby Borg. Directed more to musicians than label owners, Borg’s book has many helpful suggestions about building a career in the music business.

"How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet (2011 edition)" by David Nevue. An excellent source of up-to-date information on internet marketing.

"Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook" by Bob Baker.

"This Business of Music Marketing and Promotion (Revised and Updated)" by Tad Lathrop

Music Industry Biographies and Histories

"Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970" by David Browne.

"Hit Men: Power Brokers & Fast Money Inside the Music Business" by Fredric Dannen.

"Follow the Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture" by Jac Holzman and Gavan Daws. Not coincidentally by my brother, Jac. Who says nepotism is bad? And it includes lots of interesting comments from the artists and others involved in Elektra’s

"Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group" by Stan Cornyn with Paul Scanlon. Reading this, I discovered a number of things about the inner workings of Warner Music that, despite my thirty year connection, I’d never known about. I had lots of laughs as well.

"Little Labels—Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music" by Rick Kennedy and Randy McNutt.

Recording Studio Practice

"Sound Recording Practice" edited by John Borwick, Association of Professional Recording Services.

"Professional Microphone Techniques" by David Miles-Huber

"The Recording Engineer's Handbook"

"The Mixing Engineer's Handbook" both by Bobby Owsinski

"Temples of Sound: Inside the Great Recording Studios" by William Clark, Jim Cogan, Quincy Jones.

"Sound Recording Advice for the Home Recording Studio" by John J. Volanski.

"Off the Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound Recording in America" by David Morton.

Management and Business

There are more than 330,000 books listed under “Business Management” on’s web site! These are some that you may find particularly useful.

"The Essential Drucker (In One Volume, The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management)" by Peter F. Drucker

"The Effective Executive Revised" by Peter F. Drucker

"The Practice of Management" by Peter F. Drucker

"Management Challenges for the 21st Century" by Peter F. Drucker

Drucker has been one of the most influential writers on business and management for the last many decades. He helped develop management consulting as a profession.

"Ethical Theory and Business (8th Edition)" by Tom L. Beauchamp, Norman E. Bowie and Denis Arnold.

"Essential Managers: Managing Budgets" by Stephen Brookson. Part of the “Essential Managers” series by reference publisher Dorling-Kindersley.

"Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In" by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce

"Getting Past No: Negotiating in Difficult Situations" by William Ury.

"Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don’t" by Jim Collins.

"The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More" Chris Anderson. The value of building a large catalog that’s salable for many years.

Music and Entertainment Industry Publications


CMJ New Music Report

Rolling Stone

Variety and Daily Variety

Hollywood Reporter

Magazines about Recording

Electronic Musician


Miscellaneous Music Publications

"A&R Registry" Updated every eight weeks, includes A&R contacts not listed in any other directory; lists all major and indie labels in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, London, and Toronto.

"Film/Television Music Guide" Published every June — lists all movie studio, TV network, and independent production company music departments, record and publishing film/TV departments, music supervisors, etc. This is particularly useful if you’re interested in getting your masters and/or copyrights used in movies or television shows.

"Music Publisher Registry" Published twice a year, lists all major publishers and significant independents in LA, NY, Nashville, Toronto, and London, entire creative staff, direct dial numbers and assistant names.

"Music Attorney, Legal and Business Affairs Guide" Published every May, lists music business attorneys, record company legal and business affairs departments, etc.

All four of the above are available from Music Business Registry. Call 800-551-7411 to place an order or get additional information.

Other Helpful Books

"The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage: The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World’s Most Authoritative Newspaper" by Allan M. Siegal and William G. Connolly.

"The Elements of Style" by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White (Foreward by Roger Angell).

The above two books are invaluable in determining editorial style, and are extremely useful references for writing press releases, formatting text in CD booklets, etc.

"Pocket Pal: A Graphic Arts Production Handbook, 20th edition" published by International Paper.

I hope you find these publications useful. I've read most of them over the years and have found them to be of invaluable benefit.

Until next month,

Keith Holzman -- Solutions Unlimited

Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.


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Copyright 2011 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.