Hull, Hutchison, Strasser: The Music Business and Recording Industry

Howard Mitchell Wade By

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The Music Business and Recording Industry

Geoffrey P. Hull, Thomas Hutchison, Richard Strasser

384 pages

ISBN-10: 0415875609



Geoffrey P. Hull, Thomas Hutchison, and Richard Strasser wrote The Music Business and Recording Industry as "a comprehensive, introductory textbook focused on the three income streams in the music industry." The book provides a solid grounding in the inner workings of the music industry in the US, with some emphasis given to the global market.

So, why read the text? First, the reader is getting solid, practical, recent, detailed and/or theoretical information, pertaining to the music industry, which is used at some of the top music business programs in the US, and which will ground young musicians in how to earn a living. Second, the authors show how the industry works as a whole. With this knowledge, the next move would be into other books that are written with one aspect of the industry in mind.

The book gives a holistic picture of the industry. First, the reader is exposed to the entire entertainment industry, particularly television, film, and video games. These are potential sources of income for musicians. Thus, understanding how and where music may be used in these products is also useful. Second, understanding the environment the industry operates in, and how it evolved—be it technological invention (such as the digital evolution), or the economic effects to artists in a recession, or perhaps a societal change or controversy—can also provide insight that may to spot trends that are developing, or even now taking place, perhaps providing artistic or monetary benefit to musical endeavors, through incorporating those trends or side-stepping them.

Yet, before seeking to derive income from licensing a song for a film that is in post-production, or jumping on that next trend, it's necessary to understand both musical composition copyrights, and sound recording copyrights. This information on copyrights is related to each income stream which follows, which relates to why and how an artist is paid. The three incomes or revenue streams are all built around the recording of the song. The authors expand on this central aspect within the industry because it affects all others, and, among all revenue sources, produces the bulk of the money. Thus, the areas mentioned previously (A&R, producing and marketing) are discussed in greater detail. Again, seeing all the main pieces of the puzzle lying out on the table, and put in the right order, allows a clear observation of the whole picture—and seeing the whole picture is a good thing.

The information in this book will help ground you in the business of music. Many texts on the music industry come with little citation. Adding citation to information used within chapters can lend credibility to the information given. This text cites much of its information. The text was published in late 2010 (in its third edition).

There are a host of practical topics including: cost reduction through collective copyright registration procedures; termination rights (getting back copyrights); statutory rates for satellite broadcasting and webcasting; profitability of major and indie releases based on industry averages of sales, etc.; recording contracts in terms of bargaining position, advances, royalty rates, cross-collateralization and deductions; SoundScan data on how many titles go gold, recouping monetary investment, average sales of new releases for major and indies; the new 360-degree deals including active and passive participation, development of these deals, typical provisions, percentages; marketing, including digital selling, the evolution, de-evolution and evolution of singles, music publicity, consumer/trade/PPC advertising, the process of radio promotion, grassroots promotion and viral marketing, mobile media marketing, and more.

Anyone intending to approach their artistic pursuits as a business will find valuable tips and information here.


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