What up, gang! I’ve been a loyal reader of Modern Drummer since I was about twelve years old. I’ve worked with a variety of artists and in a variety of styles at the major-label, independent, and DIY level, primarily as a band member. You can hear me play on records with the hard rock bands Warrant, Beggars & Thieves, and Left For Dead, to name a few. I’ve been very fortunate to study with some of some of the world’s best drummers, such as Gary Chaffee and Kenwood Dennard, and to graduate from Berklee College of Music in Boston with a BA in professional music. I’m currently active in teaching music as well as music business at Musician’s Institute in Hollywood and at the University of Los Angeles in California. I speak to managers, labels, and supervisors at music industry events as a music business and A&R consultant, and I’m a regular contributor to international music business publications. I’m also the author of Billboard Books’ bestseller The Musician’s Handbook: A Practical Guide To Understanding The Music Business, which was just revised and released last month. You can get a copy at www.bobbyborg.com.
What inspired me to write a music business book? Well, drumming is an art, but making money from it is a serious business. Though musicians must understand the music business in order to succeed, many books on this subject are not readily comprehensible to them. When I began my career in music as a member of a band signed to a major label, I bought a book about the industry because I wanted to understand contracts, record royalties, music publishing, union special payment funds, new-use fees, salary and wages, PDs, buy-outs, and everything else that the music business entailed. I got about eighteen pages into the book and stopped. The text was too complex; it seemed that the author was writing for attorneys rather than for a guy who was about to jump on a tour bus. At the time, I was more interested in playing drums than studying law.
But as time went on, I realized more than ever that there had to be a simpler way for musicians to understand the music business without spending a fortune in legal fees. I concluded that a layman’s guide to understanding the music business was necessary–one written by a musician for musicians, someone who’d actually been in the trenches himself, from recording studios to tour buses to concert stages.
The revised Musician’s Handbook includes a number of new things. First, it features updated chapters loaded with new industry contacts, addresses, and URLs, along with hundreds of new strategies for pursuing and succeeding in today’s music business. There are also new interviews with top industry professionals discussing new music business models, future forecasts, new royalty rates, and structures for the digital age and for the independent and do-it-yourself musician. Finally, there are expanded in-depth explanations of advances, music publishing, live performances, touring, and merchandising, as well as the vital roles attorneys, personal managers, business managers, talent agents, and record producers play.
As many of you may already know, if you want music to be your livelihood, you must treat it as a business; otherwise the business will take advantage of you. Check out The Musician’s Handbook at www.bobbyborg.com, www.amazon.com, or at a bookstore near you. (If you don’t see it, ask for it.) Peace!