Getting into the music industry is no easy thing to do. There are many different routes to success but there isn’t particularly a set formula that will guarantee you reach your goal. With shows such as The X Factor and The Voice UK showcasing quick ways to get noticed, while also highlighting how hard it is to maintain a career even after incredible exposure, it’s getting more and more difficult to get your big break in the industry. Thankfully Ann Harrison, who has extensive experience as a media lawyer, has updated her bible Music the Business for a 7th edition to make things a little easier.
It should be said early on in this review that by reading Harrison’s book, you won’t be guaranteed to get the record deal of your dream. What the book does give you is a well-rounded overview of the industry, equipping you with all of the tools necessary to try and avoid the many pitfalls and common mistakes. Harrison has put together an in-depth book that goes through everything from starting out all the way through to collection societies and piracy.
Harrison’s style is very clear and concise. She tells you everything you need to know in a way that won’t leave you overwhelmed, and that’s quite an achievement given how much is packed into this book. Music the Business is a bit of a wake up call for all would-be-musicians and it really hammers home the need to understand the industry part as much as the creative part. Everyone’s read about musicians signing terrible deals or selling millions but being left bankrupt. It’s easy to get yourself in a huge mess if you’ve no idea what you’re actually doing.
After explaining the starting out part of becoming an artist, Harrison dive quickly into the importance of getting a good lawyer. Throughout the book she explores publishing deals, record deals, touring, the politics of being part of a band and there’s a new section all about digital and streaming. In fact the section on digital and streaming is one of the best in the book. Harrison frankly discusses the possible changes due to the dominance of streaming, even mooting the long-stated desire by some artists to move away from the traditional album format.
Music the Business should be required reading for anyone attempting to get into the music industry. There is so much useful information in Harrison’s book and it’s an invaluable resource for anyone hoping to get noticed. Contrary to popular belief being a musician isn’t glamorous and at times it’s not a whole lot of fun either. Music the Business will give you a reality check and test just how much you want to land that dream deal. If you get to the end and you’re still adamant on clinching that goal, then you’ll be well equipped thanks to Harrison.
Publisher: Virgin Books Release date: 6th July 2017