10 Books every musician should read

June 11th, 2012   l  19 comments


As a musician it’s not enough that you know how to play an instrument. You need to have at least some idea of the music industry in general, know how to get over creative blocks and how to manage your career and band. Few musicians can be successful without knowing at least the basics of these areas and that’s why we’ve compiled this list of 10 books every musician should read.


We’ve broken it down into 3 parts:

  • Music Industry
  • Songwriting & Creativity
  • Business and Career


Keep an open mind and don’t be a person who thinks that he knows everything and doesn’t need to read books in order to be successful. I guarantee that these books will make you more productive, make you more money, help you sell your music, and become a better person in general. So let’s begin.


Music Industry

All You Need to Know About the Music BusinessAll You Need to Know About the Music Business

Donald S. Passman’s book will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the music industry. There are a lot of easy to understand examples presented in a humorous way, so it will keep you interested throughout the book.

“Should be required reading for anyone planning or enduring a career in the biz.” — Rolling Stone

“Any creative person who’s considering working in the music business should read this book.” — Jimmy Lovine, chairman, Interscope Geffen A&M Records

“I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the music business.” — David Geffen

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



What They’ll Never Tell You About the Music Business: The Myths, the Secrets, the Lies (& A Few Truths)What They Never Tell You About The Music Business

This book is a must-read if you’re 100% serious about working in the music industry and making a living with your music. It’s thoroughly educational and gives you plenty of insight you didn’t have before. Read this book so you won’t be caught in the jaws of the music industry.

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



The Plain and Simple Guide to Music PublishingThe Plain And Simple Guide To Music Publishing

Randall D. Wixen’s book gives you valuable information about music publishing industry. From songwriters to music executives this book will teach you the basics about protecting and profiting from music copyrights.

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself MusicianThe Indie Band Survival Guide

The Indie Band Survival Guide: The Complete Manual for the Do-It-Yourself Musician If you looking for a real way to get your music in front of people and profiting from it – this bobooksok is for you. It will teach you how to record, distribute, market and sell your music in the cheapest and most efficient way possible.

“Finally! A comprehensive and practical guide for musicians that explains how to navigate today’s music world without a label. A must-read!”—Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and HostBaby

“If they gave out Grammys for music career books, Randy and Jason should surely win one. Their Indie Band Survival Guide is a must-read resource for any musician wanting to take the independent path to success—which, these days, is the only way to go. Networking, branding, Internet promotion, live gigs, distribution, publicity … they cover it all. Highly recommended!”—Bob Baker, author of Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook and founder of TheBuzzFactor.com

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



Songwriting and Creativity

Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That SellShortcuts to Hit Songwriting 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell

This may well be the bible of hit songwriting. It will give you techniques and tricks to put your songwriting on steroids. These include:

38 proven strategies for creating powerful, unforgettable lyrics
30 simple ways to make your melody fresh, exciting and memorable

“For people serious about writing great songs, it’s got it all!” —Kara DioGuardi, BMI “Songwriter of the Year,” American Idol judge
“Should be in every songwriter’s arsenal.” —Jason Blume, author, hit songwriter with more than 50 million album sales

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



Writing Better LyricsWriting Better Lyrics

From basics to more advanced techniques, Writing Better Lyrics has been a go-to book for many musicians for over two decades. No matter what’s missing from your lyric writing arsenal – this book has it all.

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



The Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and WellnessThe Musician’s Way: A Guide to Practice, Performance, and Wellness

This book combines research with Gerald Klickstein’s 30 years of professional experience on how musicians can achieve artistic excellence. The Musician’s Way covers everything from the basics to advanced and very practical instrument-specific advice you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

“Engaging and well-written and a valuable resource for every performer seeking to develop their craft and maintain career longevity.” –Psychology of Music

“Provides a wealth of information that would otherwise take years to accrue.” –British Journal of Music Education

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



Business and Career

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of BusinessCrowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business

This book is all about consumer-led product creation and content selection. It gives you examples how Netflix, Google, American Idol, Wikipedia and others are using this method for their benefit and how you can do the same.

“An informed and enthusiastic guide to the new collaborative creativity.” —Times (London)

“A welcome and well-written corporate playbook for confusing times.” —BusinessWeek

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



The 4-Hour WorkweekThe 4-Hour Workweek

This book will change your life. It teaches you how to free yourself from 9 to 5 work environment and how to start thinking like someone from the digital age.

“It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.” —Jack Canfield, Co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul®, 100+ million copies sold

“This is a whole new ball game. Highly recommended.” —Dr. Stewart D. Friedman, Director of the Work/Life Integration Project, The Wharton School

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



The New Rules of Marketing & PRThe New Rules of Marketing & PR

This book will open your eyes to the potential of internet marketing. It will give you clear and concise techniques on how you can market your band online. It’s written in a fun and conversational way to make it an easy-read.

“You’re not supposed to be able to do what David Meerman Scott is about to tell you in this book!”—Robert Scoble, coauthor of Naked Conversations, Scobleizer.com

“This excellent look at the basics of new-millennial marketing should find use in the hands of any serious PR professional making the transition.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Read more and buy it on Amazon.com



These are our favorite books all musicians should read. What books do you recommend to your fellow musicians? Leave a response in the comment section below.

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