GUERILLA GUIDE TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS
OF NEGOTIATING A RECORD CONTRACT, THE MUSICIAN'S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING
AND AVOIDING SNEAKY LAWYER TRICKS
(RHYTHM & BUSINESS): THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF BLACK MUSIC
by Willard Manus
Here are three books for all those who are in--or wannabee in- -the
THE GUERILLA GUIDE TO THE MUSIC BUSINESS by Sarah
Davies and Dave Laing, published by Continuum, 448 pp, $29.95 ppbk, looks
at just about every aspect of the music business from the inside. As the
authors say, "It is a book for the independently minded player, D.J.,
music business person, a book that we hope will help you enjoy what you
do, avoid too many pitfalls and, yes, maybe even help you have a hit along
the way.,,,One of our main aims is to help you decide when or whether you
need the services of a manager, lawyer, accountant, agent, record label
publisher, and so on. We do this ...through interviews with experienced
music business professionals, from both sides of the Atlantic. In our interviews
these professionals give you advice on the pros and cons of 'going it alone'
in the music business."
A sample passage, On Running a Record Label: "The first rule of thumb
is to identify your market. This doesn't, however, mean that you shouldn't
identify your market and not ask yourself, 'Who do I think is going to
buy my records?' and 'Do these people exist and are they accessible as
a group?' This isn't as daunting as it sounds. You may be a rock band
and decide to put out your own records. You've discovered that 150 people
go to a certain pub every Saturday. You've found out from the musicians
who play there that they play in twelve similar pubs. Do your sums and
you'll discover that you've actually got a potential buying public of
a couple of thousand people reasonably local to you. They won't all buy
the record--if they did, you'd have a mildly successful first release--but
some will buy it and play it to their friends, and if the record's good
the word will spread and the next record should do better, and so on."
SECRETS OF NEGOTIATING A RECORD CONTRACT, THE MUSICIAN'S
GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING AND AVOIDING SNEAKY LAWYER TRICKS, by Moses Avalon,
Backbeat Books, 305 pages, $22.95 pbk. As the publisher says, "This
is a streetwise guide to deciphering music recording agreements crafted
by today's top major label lawyers. To help you out-maneuver treacherous
loopholes, hidden agendas and other contractual land mines that drain
your earnings, Secrets exposes-- once and for all--the sneaky, multi-layered
language that lawyers use."
Sample passage on How to Negotiate: "Until you prove yourself, this
will be a tough battle. What you should try to negotiate is the aggregate.
That is the total amount that the label agrees to reimburse you for tour
costs. Try to get it not recoupable. (Hey, it's worth a try). Indie labels
will budge more on this than m,ajors, in my experience. 50% recoupable
for a new act is not unheard of."
R&B (RHYTHM & BUSINESS): THE POLITICAL ECONOMY
OF BLACK MUSIC, edited by Norman Kelley, with contributions from hip-hop
luminary Chuck D., Courtney Love, Danny Goldberg and others. Akashic Books,
334 pages, $24.95 hdbnd. This "is the first anthology that explores
economic relationship between black music and the record industry...it's
really about black economic development--or lack thereof. Most books that
focus on black music tend to look at the content or form of the music,
but curiously neglect its economic aspects."
Sample passage: "It is the contention of this essay that black music
operates within a 'structure of stealing' that dates back to the time
when the ancestors of today's African-Americans began arriving in this
country as slaves...The structure of stealing that has evolved since the
slavery period has allowed both whites and blacks to ignore the critical
roles of black music and black labor in the American music industry."
like this are to be found on every page of this hard-hitting, gutsy and