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If you want to be a success as a singer, singer-songwriter, musician, or performer, you need to train, bend your mind, feed your soul, and stay informed. The following books are some suggested reading to help stretch and strengthen your sense of the music business. Check out these books in your local bookstores or visit your favorite online book retailer for more information.

Music Is Your Business

Music is Your Business: The Musician’s Four-Front Strategy For Success (Third edition) is written by Christopher Knab and Bart Day. It’s 270 pages examines the business from the perspective of two uniquely gifted industry insiders, an entertainment lawyer (Bart Day) and an expert in music marketing (Christopher Knab).

This book will teach you the key reasons so many musicians fail, and how you can learn from their mistakes. It offers advice and insight on how to develop your music and songs for the marketplace. It also details what goes into putting together a Demo, Promo, and Press kit.

In addition the book offers strategies for attracting distribution to help create a demand for your music. It outlines what it required to increase your chances of getting your music played on commercial and noncommercial radio. And it provides tips on using your live shows as a marketing tool as well as explores opportunities for online promotion. Plus, legal chapters offer guidelines on publishing deals, licensing music for media, and producer agreements.

Be Your Own Booking Agent

How to Be Your Own Booking Agent: The Musician’s & Performing Artist’s Guide to Successful Touring is penned by Jeri Goldstein.

This book is a wealth of information and advice on navigating the choppy waters and tempest storms that are faced as you chart your course through an ocean of booking venue-portals. It offers insider info from experienced professionals in the industry and includes tips on EPK’s and web design.

Topics include methods for getting interviews in local media, how to get free money for your act or band, how to create your niche as an artist, and it offers tips on business skills such as negotiating and cold-calling.

You’ll learn tips on building a loyal fan base, where to find lucrative gigs, as well as what to include in any performance contracts you encounter. The book includes user-friendly sample contracts to use as a guide and help you become more business savvy.

Also included are expectations to consider when pursuing or working with agents or managers, as well as photography for promotion and all those items that must be included in or cut out of your bio.

The Session As Lucrative Profession

Next up is Confessions of a Session Singer: Scandalous Secrets of Success Behind the Music by Makky Kaylor. He is one of the most renowned and in-demand session singers in the business. His singing has been featured in motion pictures and on national television, radio, recordings, as well as many commercial jingles.

Many singers will start out as session singers either doing demos or backing vocals. It’s a great learning opportunity that can help you work your way into the business and get your break as a solo artist. But, the road is often a rough-and-tumble one, and Kaylor’s confessional gives crucial tips for survival and growth from the trenches to center stage or lead vocals in the studio.

His work gives singers firsthand information on how they can work as professional session singers. Without apology he sheds light on behind-the-scenes adventures at some of music’s most high profile recording sessions. He provides an eye-opening, thought-provoking, heart-rending, even humorous perspective on studio work from the senses and sensibilities of a seasoned session singer.

Kaylor covers all angles of the session singing business, from how to communicate with recording engineers to the techniques that will help budding singers and even experienced pros get ahead in what can be a highly profitable business because top-notch session singers are always in high demand.

Perks And Quirks That Work

Next is a uniquely, quirky study of the influence of culture on pop music. Written by Paul Morley, Words And Music: A History Of Pop In The Shape Of A City, is considered to be a must-read for anyone interested in working in the music business at any level. His experience as a music critic, writer, producer comes through in his imagery and tone.

The book is laden with metaphor and provides both a sensual and intellectual trip to stimulate the senses and open the eyes to many of the underestimated and even unseen connections between culture and how it is manifested in our musical tastes, subject matter, styles, trends, and sidetrips.

The book is meticulously researched, infusing inspiration from melodically inventive souls as far back as 200 years with the technologically tempered tunings we currently create and share.

Biography On Parade

Finally, on a general note, make it a habit to read biograpghies of those singers that stir you, inspire you, tick you off, or simply intrigue and move you in some way. Find out about how they navigated the twists and turns in their road to singing success. Discover what they learned from their spills and spin outs as they sped steadily uphill (or not) throughout their careers.

Randy Moomaw

Author Randy Moomaw

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