This is a guide to what I think are some of the best books and publications about the music business, and business in general. Many of these books can be purchased from local bookstores, or online from Amazon.com.
Legal Aspects of the Music Industry
All You Need to Know About the Music Business: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century 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 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) 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 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. New fourth edition was just published for 2006.
Indie Power by Peter Spellman. This is a good compliment to my The Complete Guide to Starting a Record Company. It approaches the subject from a somewhat different angle, and he has an interesting outlook on the Indie label scene.
Indie Marketing Power by Peter Spellman. This new (2006) Spellman book is an extremely thorough and comprehensive overview of the independent music marketing scene for both artists and independent labels. Its almost 400 pages are chock full of relevant information and excellent advise -- an essential if you’re serious about getting your music to the public.
How to Promote your Music Successfully on the Internet by David Nevue. An excellent source of up-to-date information on internet marketing for musicians and bands.
Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook by Bob Baker.
The Musician's Handbook 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.
The Ultimate (Survival) Guide to the Music Industry: A Handbook for Hell by Justin Goldberg.
Music Industry Biographies and Histories
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.
Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group by Stan Cornyn with Paul Scanlon.
Recording Studio Practice