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Kitty! Also, I Wrote a Book.

By Genevieve Burgess | Miscellaneous | January 29, 2013 | Comments ()


Working Musician Cat.jpg

As some of you know, I got my Masters degree in Music Business and Entertainment Industry. I spent a couple years studying the ins and outs of copyright, contracts, record company practices, royalties, and licensing. I worked at a student run music publishing company that organized a yearly concert for student songwriters, and pitched songs we represented to potential clients. I also worked with some independent artists, OK Go after they left Capitol Records and Miami based jazz artist Nicole Henry, and knew plenty more artists trying to get their own careers started. Through my experiences, I realized that while the internet and other technology have leveled the playing field with regards to distribution, artists are being asked to take on a much greater level of involvement early in their careers. A lot of artists I talked to felt like there weren't many good resources that encompassed the things they should know, or paths they should take in order to be successful and some of information available was either contradictory or confusing. So, I decided to write a book with the aim of introducing artists to the various aspects of the music industry they should be aware of and what resources might be useful to them written in a way that would be easy for anyone to read.

I spent a little over a year writing, researching, and interviewing people. My goal was to create an overview of the current music industry, how we got here, and people's experiences with the industry. I talked to people who were signed, people who weren't, small bands just starting out and people who have been working in music for years, I read countless articles and more than a few very large books. I know that there are people who will be able to point out things they think I should have included or said, but I'm happy with the job that I did and I think it will be helpful. The Working Musician: Essential of the Music Business for New Artists is now available on Amazon. Right now you can buy it as a paperback, but I'm working on getting a Kindle version available.

After I finish crying in my closet for a week, I'm actually thinking of writing a follow-up that goes more in depth about incorporating as a musician, how to draft and read basic contracts, and what to know about hiring staff. If you read this and think up something you'd like more information on, please tell me. Knowing what else people want to see covered would be really helpful with planning that next book. If everyone hates it, I'll cry in my closet for a month and won't write any more books ever again. Probably.

I've been hanging around the Pajiba community since 2005 and I can honestly say that your opinions are some of the most important to me. Writing for this site has made me a better writer because of the thoughtful criticism and comments many of you have left. It'd mean a lot to me if you'd go buy my book, or at least tell someone who might want to buy my book about it. Also, if you do read it maybe write a short review. It helps.

Genevieve Burgess knows that writing a book was hard, but launching a one-woman publicity campaign won't be easy either so if you've got tips she'd love to hear them.



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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • bonnie

    Congrats, Genevieve! This is going to be a great resource for people in the music industry, I can tell.

  • I can only imagine how many music business programs are going to want to use this as a 101 text book in their undergrad courses. I know NYU had us buy about 15 different books just explaining how the industry works in our first year of music business courses. They always were looking for accessible and well-researched overviews. I hope the book is a big success.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Funny enough, one of the people I'm planning on sending a copy to works at NYU in Music so I'm glad to hear it could be very much worth my time.

  • You got the Tisch program (not a music major) and the Steinhardt (music major) Music Business programs, plus the Gallatin programs for music major refugees, plus vocal/instrumental performance professors who sometimes like to assign this kind of book so their students aren't clueless when they graduate. That's a whole lot of potential professors who could use a good text.

  • Sara Habein

    I bought your book today. The mister manages a local musician, and both of them should dig it.

  • ,

    For some time I've thought there ought to be a book that explains everything involved in being a more or less professional working-class touring band. I made a halfhearted stab at trying to see if one such band was interested, but couldn't get past the publicist, who didn't see the point.

    It might not be an easy project, because to really get into it would probably require being privvy to accounting statements and tax returns, and it would take somebody who really wants to pass along the knowledge hard-earned from years of relentless touring to provide that.

    On the plus side, I'm not sure I've ever seen such a book, which might be a real eye-opener for people who think starting an indie band is the beginning of the path to fame and fortune, which is, what, millions of people?

    I'd recommend your book to my daughter, who does try to make most of her living as an itinerant (classical) musician, but I know she already has at least one similar book and attended a grad-school class that tried to convey much the same information, such as how to handle your taxes and copyright law and the like.

    But perhaps much has changed in the media landscape in the last few years that would render your book more relevant to now, and I wish you good luck.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    In my most ambitious fantasies, after another book on establishing a true business as an artist and the details of that, I'd like to delve into some of the niches within music. Classical music, studio musicians, touring musicians, etc. I know people in all those fields, and all of them have their own quirks and minutia that would be valuable to get up front instead of piecemeal and second or third hand. How the unions work, what you should expect a client to pay and what you should expect to roll into your own fee, and yes, some horror stories. There's a chapter in this book about what to do if your band breaks up, there's no point in ignoring reality.

    Hopefully I'll have the interest and money to keep going with it, but we'll see.

  • ,

    Oh, and I thought another interesting idea for a band book might be titled "My Worst Gig." You're welcome to the idea.

  • DocDoom

    My guess is most of them involve a wedding.

  • ,

    The reason I didn't pursue it (aside from the fact I'm really, really lazy) is that I think after not too long all the stories would start to sound the same: "We were in this shit-kicking redneck bar in Arkansas when ..." That kind of thing.

  • DocDoom

    Genevieve, congrats on the book! I'm picking myself up a copy as we speak. I'm gonna throw in some trade paperbacks for good measure, but I promise I'll read yours first.

  • BWeaves

    Congratulations!!!!

  • Tinkerville

    Congrats! This will be a perfect gift for my sister's boyfriend who was recently laid off and is now testing the waters to see if he can realize his dream of starting his own indie band. Because damn the man.

  • Drake

    Congrats, I'll be buying a copy for my best friend's son, who is making unique music with his band.

  • Guest

    Great idea. Best of luck with sales.

  • TSF

    Many of my friends are struggling artists of the musical variety so I will point them in the direction of this book. I have just purchased my own copy. It's available in the UK. Hurrah!

  • ViciousTrollop

    Congrats! My boyfriend is in a band and has been struggling with these exact issues for years. I'm definitely going to buy a copy for him. Please do write a second book!

  • Congratulations, Genny! I'll happily pile on Pookie (dangerous though it may be).

  • Yay! And if you wanna write another book, don't let the reviews or lack of sales deter you. Also, I'm gonna send a link to your book to my music lawyer pal, Heidy. She's opened her own firm (at 29!) to represent indie artists and helping them get their music out and get paid!

  • e jerry powell

    I also know a Ph.D in Philosophy-turned-DJ-turned-producer-turned-entertainment lawyer who could probably keep this on hand as a resource.

  • Guest

    I love your friend.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Thank you! That would be great! Your friend sounds awesome.

  • PDamian

    I'll ask my university's music librarian to purchase this for our collection. This looks like something that would be good for music majors and future music professionals. And if you're trying to generate sales, consider selling to libraries.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    I know it's available for wholesale to booksellers and other distributors through CreateSpace, but if nothing else I can order my own copies at cost and supply them to any libraries that are interested. I'm going to put together a list of music schools to contact to see if they're interested.

  • PDamian

    Arrrgh, NO. Hard work deserves reward, and you should get a profit, even a modest one, from your book. Contact the American Library Association to see if they have any programs for direct sales to libraries; they used to have an "Authors for Libraries" program, but I haven't heard about it in a while. SELL the thing; don't sell yourself short.

  • laneybot

    Totally. I'm going to make sure a copy of it lands here in the University of Illinois Bands Library and that you get paid for it.

    Major major congratulations, Genevieve!! This is no small accomplishment, and I'm in complete awe of you. Plus I love reading about copyright and licensing, and I can't wait to hear what you have written about it!

  • Rochelle

    Congratulations!

  • Pookie

    Genevieve, I’m going to go and buy your book, mind you I’m not going to read it because I don’t give a damn about the music industry, the only industry I care about is the adult entertainment industry, but I’m willing to put some money in your pocket and help put you on the map so I’ll buy your book.

  • Anna von Beav

    That Pookie. Secretly, he's a doll.

  • wojtek

    ...in the hope that you'll use that money to break into the adult entertainment industry.

  • What, you've never seen Pookie does Portugal?

  • e jerry powell

    Portugal is a surprisingly large country, it turns out.

  • Blake

    Awesome Genevieve! Congratulations! But how can I buy it in Canada?

  • Genevieve Burgess

    It should be available on Amazon in Canada, I know I had to specifically select channels for Europe and the UK, but there wasn't anything special for Canada. I hope it's available there. If it's not, I'll try and figure something else out.

  • Blake

    It does look like its available / order-able through Amazon.com but .ca. It not listed on Amazon.ca (yet anyways).

  • Blake

    **It does look like it is available / order-able through Amazon.com but not .ca. It is s not listed on Amazon.ca (yet anyways).

  • Magiel

    You go Girl!

  • e jerry powell

    YOU GO!

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