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Music Business & Entrepreneurship

A guide to all things in the world of business music, from growing audiences to marketing to composing for businesses and more.

Music Industry Stories

Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, edited by Sandra Choron

This book was inspired by the eight-part Grammy- and Emmy-nominated film series Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music, one of the most wide-ranging series on the art of music recording and the last project of the late legendary music producer Sir George Martin. Featuring a special foreword by Sir George Martin and original artist profiles by Grammy Museum founding executive director Robert Santelli, Soundbreaking highlights twenty-one artists from across eras and a wide spectrum of genres. In intimate interviews, these music legends share their personal insights in passages from longer interviews conducted between 2008 and 2015: Sir George Martin, Les Paul, Pete Seeger, Tony Bennett, Frankie Valli, Smokey Robinson, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Benson, Joni Mitchell, Michael Tilson Thomas, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Mark Knopfler, Bonnie Raitt, Tom Petty, Steven Van Zandt, Rosanne Cash, Sheila E., and Darryl McDaniels.

What, and Give Up Showbiz?: Six Decades in the Music Business by Fred Taylor

This is the story of Fred Taylor, who since 1960 has been bringing entertainers and audiences together in Boston and New England in nightclubs, concert halls, and festival grounds. As the owner of the legendary Back Bay nightclubs Paul’s Mall and the Jazz Workshop, Taylor had a front-row seat for the greatest names in music and comedy in the 1960s and 1970s. As the entertainment director at Scullers Jazz Club for twenty-six years, he continues to present the best in contemporary music. Fred Taylor’s entertainment universe is peopled by pop superstars, jazz legends, and sparkling storytellers—a galaxy of singers, saxophonists, and stand-up comics.

The Palgrave Handbook of Musical Theatre Producers, edited by Laura MacDonald & William A. Everett

This handbook is the first to provide a systematic investigation of the various roles of producers in commercial and not-for-profit musical theatre. Featuring fifty-one essays written by international specialists in the field, it offers new insights into the world of musical theatre, its creation and its promotion. Key areas of investigation include the lives and works of producers whose work is part of a US and worldwide musical theatre legacy, as well as the largely critically-neglected role of the musical theatre producer in the making, marketing, and performance of musicals. Also explored are the shifting roles of producers in musical theatre and their popular portrayals, offering a reader-friendly collection for fans, scholars, students, and practitioners of musical theatre alike.

Inside Studio 54: The Real Story of Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll from Former Studio 54 Owner by Mark Fleischman

The former owner takes you behind the scenes of the most famous nightclub in the world: Studio 54, a place where celebrities, friends, and the beautiful people sip champagne and share lines of cocaine using rolled-up hundred-dollar bills. In the early eighties, Fleischman reopened Studio 54, the world's most glamorous and notorious nightclub, after it was closed down by the State of New York. Ten thousand people showed up that night, ready to restart the party that abruptly ended after the raid in 1978 landed its former owners in jail.

Inside MTV by R. Serge Denisoff

Many observers credit MTV with resurrecting the music industry from the throes of the Great Depression of 1979. Few would dispute its impact on contemporary film, fashion, and radio.Inside MTV examines the world of cablecasting, the evolution of WASEC, MTV, VH-1, and some of their competitors. The strategies, personalities, promotions, and the contents that placed MTV on the road to its dominant position are described. The many controversies surrounding the channel are thoroughly detailed, and a good deal of the misinformation on the subject is corrected.It is a mere five years since MTV began as the third of four Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment Company (WASEC) channels, created by two of America's largest conglomerates. Since then, it has become a major force. Before MTV was conceived the relationship between television and rock music was weak, at best. As the new partnership .developed, a story of genius, luck, and discrimination began to unfold, and a corporate innovation of major proportions and psychodemographic success emerged.MTV is now the most profitable 24-hour cable outlet beamed from a satellite. It reaches 30.8 million households. How all this happened is chronicled in this major new book from a leading authority on the American music business.

Godfather of the Music Business: Morris Levy by Richard Carlin

This biography tells the story of one of the most notorious figures in the history of popular music, Morris Levy (1927-1990). At age nineteen, he cofounded the nightclub Birdland in Hell's Kitchen, which became the home for a new musical style, bebop. Levy operated one of the first integrated clubs on Broadway and helped build the careers of Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell and most notably aided the reemergence of Count Basie. In 1957, he founded a record label, Roulette Records. Roulette featured many of the significant jazz artists who played Birdland but also scored top pop hits with acts like Buddy Knox, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Joey Dee and the Starliters, and, in the mid-1960s, Tommy James.

Direct Licensing and the Music Industry: How Technology, Innovation and Competition Reshaped Copyright Licensing by Ivan L. Pitt

This book discusses the economics of the music industry in the context of the changing landscape brought about by innovation, technological change, and rapid digitization. The ability of digital technology to reduce the transaction costs of music copyright licensing has all but destroyed the traditional media business models of incumbent Performance Rights Organizations (PROs), music publishers, record labels, and radio and television stations. In a climate where streaming services are rapidly proliferating and consumers prefer subscription models over direct ownership, new business models, such as direct licensing, are developing. This book provides an overview of the economics of the traditional music industry, the technology-induced changes in business models and copyright law, and the role of publishers, copyright holders and songwriters in the emerging direct licensing model.

Cruisicology: The Music Culture of Cruise Ships by David Cashman & Philip Hayward

Since the 1990s the cruise industry has become one of the largest employers of musicians in the world. Thousands of professional musicians work on cruise ships daily, entertaining millions of passengers. Cruisicology: The Music Culture of Cruise Ships provides the first in-depth account of the culture and the industrial determinants of cruise ship music. Based on interviews with working musicians and coauthor David Cashman’s experience as a cruise ship musician, this book investigates how music is organized and made onboard a cruise ship. David Cashman and Philip Hayward study the working life of musicians, why and how corporate shipping lines include music onboard their vessels, the history of musicians on passenger shipping, and the likely future directions of musical entertainment within the industry.

Hollywood Studio Musicians: Their Work and Careers in the Recording Industry by Robert R. Faulkner

Thisbook looks under the hood of the Hollywood film scoring and recording industry, focusing upon the careers and work of top-flight musicians. .Based upon in-depth interviews with freelance musicians, Faulkner provides original insights into how we conceptualize occupations as well as the highly stratified system of professional prestige that results in what we now call the "A-List." Faulkner develops a framework for discovering and exploring how rapidly changing and demanding freelance work induces status hierarchies, sustains and updates collegial reputations, tightens social networks between contractors, and musicians, and restricts access to upward career paths.

Homer Rodeheaver and the Rise of the Gospel Music Industry by Kevin Mungons & Douglas Yeo

Homer Rodeheaver merged evangelical hymns and African American spirituals with popular music to create a potent gospel style. Kevin Mungons and Douglas Yeo examine his enormous influence on gospel music against the backdrop of Christian music history and Rodeheaver's impact as a cultural and business figure. Rodeheaver rose to fame as the trombone-playing song leader for evangelist Billy Sunday. As revivalism declined after World War I, Rodeheaver leveraged his place in America's newborn celebrity culture to start the first gospel record label and launch a nationwide radio program. His groundbreaking combination of hymnal publishing and recording technology helped define the early Christian music industry. In his later years, he influenced figures like Billy Graham and witnessed the music's split into southern gospel and black gospel.

On the Record: Music Journalists on Their Lives, Craft, and Careers by Mike Hilleary

Bringing together interviews from an impressive roster of over fifty music writers, Hilleary offers up an engaging and wide-reaching examination of the past and potential future of music journalism. This accessible oral history contains professional insights into journalists' craft and purpose, practical advice, and essential life lessons from a diverse cast of music writers―ranging from long-respected veterans of the field such as Rob Sheffield, Jessica Hopper, Ann Powers, and Chuck Klosterman to must-read modern voices including Amanda Petrusich, Hanif Abdurraqib, Lindsay Zoladz, and Jayson Greene.

Nashville Cats: Record Production in Music City by Travis D. Stimeling

This book is the first history of record production during country music’s so-called Nashville Sound era. This period of country music history produced some of the genre’s most celebrated recording artists, including Country Music Hall of Fame inductees Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, and Floyd Cramer, and marked the establishment of a recording industry that has come to define Nashville in the national and international consciousness.

Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry: The Social Construction of Female Popular Music Stars by Kristin J. Lieb

This book provides a rare lens on the rigid packaging process that transforms female artists of various genres into female pop stars. Stars -- and the industry power brokers who make their fortunes -- have learned to prioritize sexual attractiveness over talent as they fight a crowded field for movie deals, magazine covers, and fashion lines, let alone record deals. This focus on the female pop star’s body as her core asset has resigned many women to being "short term brands," positioned to earn as much money as possible before burning out or aging ungracefully. This book, which includes interview data from music industry insiders, explores the sociological forces that drive women into these tired representations, and the ramifications on the greater social world.

A & R Pioneers: Architects of American Roots Music on Record by Brian Ward & Patrick Huber

This book offers the first comprehensive account of the diverse group of men and women who pioneered artists-and-repertoire (A&R) work in the early US recording industry. In the process, they helped create much of what we now think of as American roots music. Resourceful, innovative, and, at times, shockingly unscrupulous, they scouted and signed many of the singers and musicians who came to define American roots music between the two world wars. They also shaped the repertoires and musical styles of their discoveries, supervised recording sessions, and then devised marketing campaigns to sell the resulting records. By World War II, they had helped redefine the canons of American popular music and established the basic structure and practices of the modern recording industry. Moreover, though their musical interests, talents, and sensibilities varied enormously, these A&R pioneers created the template for the job that would subsequently become known as "record producer."

Leading Tones: Reflections on Music, Musicians, and the Music Industry by Leonard Slatkin

This book is a glimpse into several aspects of the musical world. There are portions devoted to Slatkin's life as a musician and conductor, portraits of some of the outstanding artists with whom he has worked, as well as anecdotes and stories both personal and professional. Much of the book discusses elements of the industry that are troubling and difficult during this first part of the 21st century. Auditions, critics, fiscal concerns, and labor negotiations are all matters that today's conductors must be aware of, and this book provides helpful suggested solutions.

Lowering the Tone: & Raising the Roof by Raymond Gubbay

Gubbay brings to life his extraordinary fifty-year career as one of the most experienced and well-connected impresarios in British theatre and entertainment. With a provenance rich in history and talent, he retraces the musical legacy of his family, growing up as Jewish in 1950s post-war London with the challenges he faced while embarking on his theatrical journey after a few failed attempts at corporate conformity. Working alongside some of the most prestigious classical and popular artists of our time—from Yehudi Menuhin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Luciano Pavarotti, and the English National Ballet to Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and Andrew Lloyd-Webber—Gubbay has witnessed and played a hand in promoting and producing some of the most iconic performances of opera, ballet, and classical music ever staged.

Country Comes to Town: The Music Industry and the Transformation of Nashville by Jeremy Hill

To understand how the genre has become the far-reaching commercial phenomenon that it is today, Hill explores how various players within the country music fold have grappled with the notion of place. He shows both how the industry has transformed the city of Nashville and how country music―through song lyrics, imagery associated with the music, and branding―has reshaped ideas about the American landscape and character. As the genre underwent significant change in the last decades of the twentieth century, those who sought to explain its new styles and new locations relied on a traditional theme: "You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy." Hill demonstrates how this idea―that you can still be "country" while no longer living in a rural place―has been used to expand country's commercial appeal and establish a permanent home in the urban space of Nashville.

Follow Your Heart: Moving with the Giants of Jazz, Swing, and Rhythm and Blues by Jow Evans

Detailing the fascinating career of Joe Evans, this book chronicles the nearly thirty years that he spent immersed in one of the most exciting times in African American music history. An alto saxophonist who between 1939 and 1965 performed with some of America's greatest musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Charlie Parker, Jay McShann, Andy Kirk, Billie Holiday, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Lionel Hampton, and Ivory Joe Hunter, Evans warmly recounts his wide range of experience in the music industry. Readers follow Evans from Pensacola, Florida, where he first learned to play, to such exotic destinations as Tel Aviv and Paris, which he visited while on tour with Lionel Hampton. Evans also comments on popular New York City venues used for shaping and producing black music, such as the Apollo Theater, the Savoy, Minton's Playhouse, and the Rhythm Club.