Getting Down to (Music) Business

(Graphic/Ziona Kocher)

I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been involved with the UGA Music Business program. In its current state, you basically spend a year working your ass off outside of class with benefits coming in the form of amazing class speakers, internships, networking ops, and the chance to do some really incredible stuff.

I know Bruce often sends some students to the blog and I’m constantly surprised by the number of industry people who read it so this one’s for the people behind the scenes and looking to get a leg up or just to see what the heck I’ve been looking at during my time away from UGA MBUS.

First: Mailing Lists. Ugly little secret is that most of us get the same emails from the same people. What you do with the information within, however, sets you apart. So here’s what I’m currently subscribed to via the advice of one lawyer/manager type.

The Lefsetz Letter. This one should probably come with a warning. Lefsetz is highly opinionated and there are certain things that I vehemently disagree with him on (much like my co-Homedroner Jeff). That said, the points he brings up are thought provoking.

Digital Music News This one is a more tech oriented blog/mailing list with a collection of what’s been going on in the digital realm lately. Current interesting topics include Spotify, Twitter, Warner Music Group VS Youtube, and copyright in new media.

The Dean’s List. You have to be approved for this one but it’s a handy email once a day of interesting articles from the music world. It’s probably my favorite out of the three. Get up in the morning, check out a few articles, leave it in the inbox and check out a few more during the day.

Next up: Organizations. Ideas rarely pop up when you’re just alone all the time. It helps to have others with new ideas to keep things fresh and hopefully change things for the better. So here’s a few websites that I love haunting for advice.

Future of Music Coalition. News flash: The Music Biz is spiraling into madness faster than Glenn Beck on a Tilt O Whirl. Thankfully, there are people out there trying to make sense of it all. No, not all of them agree on how but at least they’re trying. I’m hoping I can go to their summit next year but until then, this website is one I visit daily.

Artists House Music. More of a community than just a site, there are TONS of instructional and educational videos on here. They’ve got a huge range of the best in the biz from Roger Brown from Berklee College of Music to Athens’ Mr. Downs

CopyrightLaw. I’m such a copyright law hound, it was only a matter of time before I fell in love with this Twitter account. It keeps up with developments in the rights world, encompassing books, television, music, internet, and more.

Finally, here’s some books I keep within reach. Some are strictly Music Business while others are general inspiration or just darn funny.

FREE E-BOOKS. Look, you and I both know that the music biz doesn’t exactly pay much so why not take free when you can get free? All of these are decent browsing material whether you’re sitting on the tour bus or in class not paying attention to Accounting.

Party Out of Bounds. The outsider’s Athens bible. You won’t find a book about Athens that captures the spirit of the early music scene like this one. I’m currently on my fourth well-loved and much notated copy.

This is Your Brain on Music. A very scientific look at music and its effect on the human brain. It’s not light reading and delves into the personal a bit much (says the personal blogger) but it’s a fascinating read if you’re into brain processes and minor keys.

The U2 fan’s bible (at least until U2 by U2 came out) and the book I hope to use as a model for my own travelogue one day, U2 at the End of the World. Follow the world’s biggest band through the recording of Achtung, Baby and the insane ZooTV tour. You are on the bus, in the bar, on the stage, in the recording room, and so on. *goes back to wishful thinking*

For stage/set designers, I’d suggest flipping through another U2 book, U2 Show. Willie Williams is a god among designers and this offers you plenty of pictures and insight into how the biggest band in the world always has such amazing sets.

From the rock writer’s corner, I give you Love is a Mixtape, one of the few books to ever make me cry. It’s a beautiful tribute by Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield to a love lost and the music that they shared.

And two rock ‘n’ roll bios for you. Killing Bono and Rock On. Both are hilarious. Killing Bono is by one of my favorite rock writers Neil McCormick. It describes the harrowing experience of trying to start a band while being in the same school as U2. Equal parts “awww” and “hahahahah”. Rock On is an odd little book I picked up on sale that describes life in a modern music company. The guy expects leather pants and hairspray but gets dress slacks and fading execs instead.

There ya go. This is by no means anywhere near all the stuff I’ve read and am working my way through but it’s the stuff I recommend looking at first. I’ll have you a list of people to follow on Twitter soon and more books (I’ve got nearly every U2 one..). So add any suggestions in the comments. Email & share the list, add your own.

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One comment

  1. there's a book in the uga library called “ask” by paul morley, that's as good a collection of music interviews as you'll ever find.

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