Review: December Reading: Passman, Schulenberg

All You Need to Know About the Music Business: Revised and Updated
by Donald S. Passman

Wandering through the dark catacombs of the music industry without a flashlight and compass would be a pretty ludicrous effort, and yet many an musician and aspiring industry professional attempt to do just that. Breaking down the wall between the darkness of confusion and the light of understanding All You Need to Know… delves into the basics which make up the foundation of the entertainment industry. Everything you have ever heard about the business is true, it is a cat fight, sucker punch of a risk with as huge of a reward as the possibility of complete failure. With those kind of odds one can only imagine the complexities of its nature, spanning from the legal to the business to the creative to the social and everything in between. Grappling the bigger picture in understanding this web of structure which eludes most in defining the entertainment industry, All You Need To Know… maintains a balance of depth and simplicity throughout. Using easy to follow details of real life examples coupled with in-depth explanations of a multitude of entertainment obstacles from understanding the team of artist, manager, lawyer, agent, label artist relations to the basics of releasing a recording independently or through a label deal to copyrights, trademarks and ownership to touring and merchandising to digital media and beyond, All You Need to Know… thoroughly covers the bases in an understandable nature. Although, like most publications of this nature it is no substitute for common sense, a well versed manager, lawyer or teacher on hand, All You Need to Know… does do more than significantly lay the groundwork for understanding and subsequently conquering many of the normal trials associated with succeeding in the music industry in any fashion. In general All You Need to Know… spans the need for both a general reference guide to the industry and a readable, comprehensible book in its ability to possess both staggering detail and simplistic, well versed writing. It works as easily for the musician just beginning to plan their music business endeavors as it does the more seasoned industry businessman and everyone in-between enduring the often confusing aspects of this world. Chapters are laid out with a multitude of subheads and than grouped into larger parts in the book making it easy to follow a point as it grows from simple to more complex. It has the flow at times of a real-life story, rather than a dry over-detailed reference, while never forgetting it is an educational tool. All You Need to Know… never fails to deliver the field of music with crystal clear insight and thought provoking depth, providing a beacon of light for anyone who wants to better find their way in the complex maze of the music industry. I read a former version of Passman’s works as a music business undergrad and the return to his thoughts now was a pleasant educational experience

Legal Aspects of the Music Industry
by Richard Schulenberg

In the beginning there was music as a form of communication. Next it became an art limited by a composers own imagination. Now it is a multi-billion dollar a year industry governed by more legal aspects than one could possibly imagine. Wading through the exceptional amount of contractually paperwork and legal jargon defining the complexity of the music business is Legal Aspects of the Music Industry. From lawyers looking for a simplified explanation for a client, to artists looking to better arm themselves to all the label reps, producers, managers, agents and so on in-between Legal Aspects… leaves no one out and no stone unturned. The wide ranging overview includes contractual explanations for royalty administration, publishing, distribution, master ownership, performance rights, management, booking, production, recording, videos, soundtracks, licensing, copyright and more. The presentation of these contracts and legal explanations is what makes Legal Aspects…

so valuable. Their original forms, including all the jargon and legalese is included and then broken down point by point, explaining the finer parts in the text and including full translations of terms and phrases. Alternate provisions are included as well as explanations as to what they entail and how they change the original textual concepts presented. All of this is then enlivened by personal experience and a range of real world examples. Legal Aspects… helps to break down the barriers between the legal, artistic and business worlds in such a way that it works both as a basic educational tool in the way it reads and a valuable reference manual in the way it is laid out. The explanations are clear and concise covering with wit and wisdom a wide array of legal ideas which present themselves on a daily basis in the music industry. It is easy to see after even just glancing through the pages that Legal Aspects… can prove invaluable for anyone even threatening to try and become a part of the business of bringing the art of music to the masses. It is not, however, meant to be a replacement for a qualified attorney who can work with the specifics of situations that are only presented as a boiler plate ideas in the book. Intellectual property and relationship contracts are very complex and dynamic legal ideas and require more than just words on a page in a single book to comprehend even partially. Legal Aspects… works as an excellent starting point to understanding their intricacy. The degree to which Legal Aspects… is written it is easy to follow and provides enough detail to be incredibly informative without bogging down the reader. It allows anyone with legal questions in the music industry to obtain the expert-type advice and beginning legal direction to better prepare them for the obsticals which still lie ahead.


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