The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
This Business of Songwriting
This Business of Songwriting
A Practical Guide to Doing Business as a Songwriter
By Jason Blume
Billboard Books, New York: 2006
Reviewed by Herbert White - Posted June 9, 2012
This Business of Songwriting is a concise, yet comprehensive guide to the business aspects of songwriting from how to pitch a song to understanding performance royalties. It is not a book on how to write songs. This guide was written by Jason Blume, who has written several well-received books on the business side of songwriting, as well as books on how to write songs. He is, in his own right, a skilled songwriter and teacher and his songs have been recorded by such famous personages as Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, John Berry, Steve Azar, and the Oak Ridge Boys.
If you are involved, or interested, in any aspect of the songwriting business, this is the book for you. Although geared specifically for songwriters, both novices and professionals, this book will also prove invaluable to all members of the music industry as it examines not only the business aspects of songwriting, but it also explains how the music industry functions.
Encyclopedic in scope, this text is divided into four mains sections:
In all, this book is basically a self-contained course on the business aspect of songwriting. If you are serious about making it as a songwriter, this book is essential reading. It will not only help you to prepare for the hard task of marketing your work, but it also offers a plethora of tips and practical advice that will help you get into and succeed in the cut throat music world. As important, this book is current and up-to-date and provides information in regard to reading and interpreting contracts and offers valuable tips on what to look out for before signing any contract. Throughout, Blume's writing is succinct and to the point. He provides detailed explanations when necessary, and samples of documents that you are likely to come across in your songwriting career such as a sample Vocalist Waiver.
- Understanding Music Publishing
This section tackles such issues as what a music publisher does, what a record label is, how to get your foot in the door, working as a staff writer, understanding music publishing agreements, self-publishing your work, and understanding copyrights.
- How Songs Generate Income
This section deals with mechanical licenses and royalties, performance royalties, writing and marketing for film and TV, how music charts work, finding additional sources of income, and speciality markets.
- How to Protect Your Songs
This important section covers how to copyright your songs and how to deal with copyright infringement, how to tell when you need an attorney, using independent songpluggers, and how to avoid scams.
- Maximizing Your Chances for Success
The final section in this book deals primarily with issues related to collaborations, organizing your business, and how best to prepare yourself for the hard work involved in making a career out of songwriting.
Without reserve, I highly recommend this book to anyone seriously interested in pursuing a career in songwriting, as well as to those who already have their foot in the door but who will be well served by having a better grasp of the business end of the industry.
Other books by Blume include:
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