Music Business & Songwriting Books You'll Love

Songwriting Books

If I had to pick one thing that has made a huge impact on my success, and the success of TAXI, it would have to be the books that I've read. Funny enough, I hate to read!

But since TAXI's inception in 1992, I've read hundreds of business books, and it's been painless. Why? Because the books are all about my passion - building a great company.

If you're passionate about earning your living with your music, then you you're going to love the books we've selected for you. Many of them are by members of our A&R Team, or Industry Experts who regularly speak at our convention, the Road Rally. I've personally read many of them and recommend them highly. Want to succeed in the music business? Read these books!

Michael Laskow CEO, TAXI

  • Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market

    Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market

    by Robin Frederick

    The only book that tells you exactly how to craft your songs and get more placements in Film, TV and Advertising!

    Robin Frederick, author of the Best-Selling book, Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting, has done the research for you and will show you not only how to make your songs better, but make them better for Music Supervisors!

  • Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell

    Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell

    by Robin Frederick

    Here are 126 Shortcuts that will take your songs from good to great! Discover the melody and lyric writing techniques of today's top songwriters and learn how you can use the very same secrets to give your songs the power and edge that will make listeners want to hear them over and over again. You'll learn...

    • 38 proven strategies for creating powerful, unforgettable lyrics
    • 30 simple ways to make your melody fresh, exciting, and memorable
    • How to use hit songs as "ghost songs" to get quick results

    Plus, you get 58 more Shortcuts to help you lay the groundwork, choose the perfect structure, and pick the chords to give your songs even more hit potential. And there are more than 100 "Do It Now" exercises to get you started right away!

  • All You Need to Know About the Music Business

    All You Need to Know About the Music Business

    by Donald Passman

    An entertainment lawyer whose clients include many from the top of the music charts, Passman has written a book that sets out to give musicians, performers, and songwriters the tools to hire advisers, market their careers, protect their creative works, and generally cope with a complex industry in a state of flux. Passman explains boilerplate language, the complexities of royalties and advances, and label and distribution deals; a section on record deals begins with an overview of the business and works through all the steps. The "Adventures in Cyberspace" chapter is a helpful summary of the way CD-ROMs and the Internet are affecting the business. Included here is information on recent legislation and a look at how digitizing music delivery will continue to change things. Packed with illustrations, sample calculations, and definitions, All You Need To Know is humorous and accessible enough for those who just want to understand the business while being detailed and documented enough for those who make a living from it. Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • It’s Music, Not Theory, Damn It!

    It’s Music, Not Theory, Damn It!

    by Bill Gordon

    Music theory?  No such thing. Let this book and companion online ear training course (included in the price) prove it. Skip the soul-sucking, brain-numbing clutter found in music theory and jump directly into your music! This DIY book and three-hour audio course were written expressly for aspiring songwriters, players and producers. The approach is clear, accurate and fun -  never dumbed down or theoretical. Included are readily understood explorations of:

    • pitch and rhythm
    • scales and melody
    • chords & chord progression
    • song deconstruction and analysis

    Author Bill Gordon is a Berklee graduate with a forty-year career playing, composing, recording and teaching music in every conceivable venue, allowing him to present the structure and architecture of music in a practical, humorous way that can be put to immediate use. And TAXI members get a free Skype class with Bill!

  • The Craft and Business of Songwriting

    by John Braheny

    "It's hard to conceive of a how-to book for songwriters that covers more territory - and does so more effectively - than The Craft and Business of Songwriting. Braheny's tome is now in its third edition, no doubt owing to its accessibility, thoroughness and practicality - not to mention all of the updates needed to explain new digital technologies and the music industry's constant shape-shifting. As suggested by its title, the book addresses both the craft of songwriting itself and the goal of getting paid for doing it. But breadth - in this case - doesn't mean lack of depth. Craft and Business doesn't just stick to the more obvious topics. The first half offers advice and exercises geared toward helping songwriters glean ideas from all manner of sources, find their natural speech patterns, come up with better titles, beat writer's block and collaborate successfully. The second half details everything from copyright law to getting past "no unsolicited material" policies. The book may not be able to guarantee a string of high-profile cuts, but it does provide a detailed and reliable road map for the journey." - Jewly Hight - American Songwriter book review.

  • 6 Steps to Songwriting Success

    6 Steps to Songwriting Success

    by Jason Blume

    In its First Edition, 6 Steps to Songwriting Success provided novices hoping to pitch their songs to artists other than themselves an easy to understand, step-by-step approach to mastering those elements consistently found in hit songs. Incorporating inspiring anecdotes from the author's own success story and instructive quotes from music industry professionals, as well as 30 effective exercises for practicing, honing, and expanding one's songwriting skills and helpful checklists for objectively accessing one's strengths and weaknesses, the book offered a concise analysis of the six steps essential for songwriting success.

    Updated, substantially revised, and expanded, the Second Edition increases the book's relevance for performing songwriters writing primarily for themselves or their bands. The revision reflects industry changes since the First Edition, such as the advent of MP3s, the increase in music sampling, and the fact that CDs have replaced cassettes as the industry standard for presenting material. Fifteen new or significantly revised exercises are also included, as are new quotes from industry professionals. Finally, the Appendix has been completely updated to present the most comprehensive and up-to-date listing of songwriter resources available.

  • This Business of Songwriting: Revised 2nd Edition

    This Business of Songwriting: Revised 2nd Edition

    by Jason Blume

    Writing great songs is not enough. To make money, songwriters need a firm, realistic grasp of how songs generate income, and how the songwriting business works. This Business of Songwriting is the first book to demystify the process of doing business as a songwriter. Author Jason Blume is a songwriter, music publisher, and educator whose songs are on albums that have sold more than 50 million copies, topped international charts, and are in top television shows and movies. The book walks readers step-by-step through the process of effectively pitching songs to publishers, artists, managers, A&R representatives, and producers. A chapter about writing and marketing music for television and films explains the process of "clearing" music, and the functions of music supervisors and production music libraries, as well as offering resources for reaching these decision-makers.

  • Going Pro

    Going Pro

    by Kenny Kerner

    This handy guide provides everything you need to know to go pro, including information about personal managers, music attorneys, business managers and booking agents, record companies, AandR, publishing, songwriting, demo tapes and press kits, self-promotion, and much more. A must for all musicians!

  • Murphy's Laws of Songwriting 'The Book!'

    Murphy's Laws of Songwriting "The Book!"

    by Ralph Murphy

    Achieving "hit writer" status has always been a formidable goal for any songwriter. Never more so however than in the 21st century. Catching the ear of the monumentally distracted, fragmented listener has never been more difficult. Getting their attention, inviting them in to your song and keeping them there for long enough for your song to become "their song" requires more than being just a "good" songwriter. Murphy's Laws of Songwriting "The Book" arms the songwriter for success by demystifying the process and opening the door to serious professional songwriting. Hall of fame songwriter Paul Williams said in his review of the book "If there was a hit songwriters secret handshake Da Murphy would probably have included it."

  • Music Publishing: The Complete Guide

    Music Publishing: The Complete Guide

    by Steve Winogradsky

    Written by an attorney with over 30 years of experience in the music industry, Music Publishing: The Complete Guide is the definitive manual on music copyright. Whereas many books on the subject are aimed at artists and songwriters, this book will serve as a thorough guide for industry pros, lawyers, and music business and law students.

    Subjects covered include copyright; performing rights organizations; mechanical, synchronization, and print licensing; songwriter and composer agreements; publishing administration and foreign sub-publishing; production music libraries; pitching and placement companies; sampling; and much more. The discussion also delves into historical perspective and current trends and revenue opportunities in the evolving digital marketplace. Easy-to-read narratives explain the key points for all of these types of deals.

    There are many sample agreements included in the book, all annotated in simple terms that explain the often complex contract language. There are also links to copyright and publishing resources, listings of foreign performance and mechanical societies, and anecdotes and case studies from real world incidents. If you're looking for a thorough grounding and go-to reference book on music copyright, not just a quick crash course, your search is over.

  • Music Law: Run Your Band's Business

    Music Law: Run Your Band's Business

    by Richard Stim

    Yes, your band is a business. This book explains how to: find the right manager; buy, insure and maintain equipment; get gigs and get paid; tour on a budget; and so much more.

  • Writing Music for Hit Songs

    Writing Music for Hit Songs

    by Jai Josefs

    This book is for everyone who dreams of placing a song on the Top-40 charts... Josefs reveals the hit-making mixture for rock, country, R&B, and theatrical forms.

  • It All Begins with the Music: Developing Successful Artists for the New Music Business (Artistpro)

    It All Begins with the Music: Developing Successful Artists for the New Music Business (Artistpro)

    by Don Grierson and Dan Kimpel

    It'll make you get your guitar and write song!

  • Your First Cut: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting There

    Your First Cut: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting There

    by Jerry Vandiver and Gracie Hollombe

    "Your First Cut, A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting There" is a 224-page workbook designed to guide, encourage and enable the aspiring, serious songwriter toward achieving the goal of getting his or her songs recorded by a major label recording artist. "Your First Cut" sets your goals for you, keeps you focused, and then helps you track your own progress. Outlining the step-by-step process it takes to get your songs heard and ultimately recorded, "Your First Cut" allows you to discover how far along you are in that process, where you need to go and how to get there.

  • 101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them: How to Craft and Sell Your Songs

    101 Songwriting Wrongs and How to Right Them: How to Craft and Sell Your Songs

    by Pat & Pete Luboff

    One Hundred and one ways to spot what's wrong with a song - along with expert instruction on how to fix it! Songwriters Pat and Pete Luboff cover it all, pointing out pitfalls and supplying solutions every measure of the way.

  • The Musician's Handbook

    The Musician's Handbook

    by Bobby Borg

    The Musician's Handbook investigates the realities of the music business behind the glamorous fantasy world often portrayed in the media. It is designed to help you to understand the ins and outs of the music industry. At times it will seem harsh. But the more aware you are of the potential obstacles in your path, the better prepared you will be to overcome them. Whether you're out on the road, or just getting ready to cut your first record, it pays to be armed with as much ammunition as possible. Perhaps these quotes from Sun Tzu's The Art of War, an ancient Chinese strategy adapted by leading business professionals today, will illustrate this point:

    "Know yourself and know your enemy and you will fight a hundred battles without disaster."

    "Know the ground, know the weather; your victory will then be total."

  • Writing Better Lyrics

    Writing Better Lyrics

    by Pat Pattison

    Pattison presents a unique, in-depth approach to the process of lyric writing. Apprentice songwriters will examine 17 extraordinary songs and learn the distinct elements that make them so effective. Pattison then presents more than 30 lyric-writing exercises designed to help them achieve the same results. From generating lyric ideas and managing repetition to developing verses, it's all here. Songwriters will:

    • find warm-up exercises that revolutionize songwriting imagery
    • use a rhyming dictionary and a thesaurus to generate ideas and find snappy rhymes
    • create meaningful metaphors and similes while avoiding clichés
    • develop verses by using or by breaking conventional rules
    • experiment with point of view in every lyric to make a song stand out
  • Music, Money, and Success

    Music, Money, and Success

    by Jeffrey Brabec and Todd Brabec


  • Just Get Out There

    Just Get Out There

    by Gilli Moon

    The Artist's bible to achieving abundance, self-empowerment and professional success as an Artist entrepreneur.

    It covers topics such as defining your uniqueness; building your dream and creating a plan around your goals; balancing the art with the 'business' through time management and prioritization techniques; fundamentals in marketing, promotion, performing and touring, and much more!

  • Rock Star 101: A Rock Star's Guide to Survival and Success in the Music Business

    Rock Star 101: A Rock Star's Guide to Survival and Success in the Music Business

    by Marc Ferrari

    A successful rock guitarist shares with musicians at every level firsthand knowledge of how to endure and triumph in the music industry. Rock-and-roll dreams become realities with this guide-the only book on becoming a success in the business written by a successful, real-life rock star.

    Packed with advice and entertaining stories from life on stage and on the road, ROCK STAR 101 tells musicians on the rise how to:

    • Understand the business and legal elements of the music industry: negotiations, contracts, publishing, merchandising, endorsements, money management, and more
    • Protect a band from legal and financial conflicts
    • Negotiate a "key man clause" and other crucial contract elements
    • Find sideline work in music-related fields
    • Set up convincing showcases or auditions with recording labels
    • Develop a long-term perspective for one's musical success
  • Confessions Of A Record Producer

    Confessions Of A Record Producer

    by Moses Avalon

    Confession is good for the soul! Over the years, among many other like-minded authors, a stockbroker, a "dirty" ballplayer, a "lapsed" librarian, a corporate headhunter, and an advertising man have all felt the need to atone in print either for their own misdeeds or for those of their profession. Here Avalon pseudonymously exposes the ways the recording industry can take advantage of budding artists. Avalon started in the business 15 years ago as a studio engineer and went on to produce records. He has also composed soundtracks for several independent films and now consults for artist managers, record labels, and investors. Avalon examines the various stages of the record deal. He explains the role of each person involved and suggests what that person's self-interest is. He also contrasts the differences among deals at the major labels, independents, and vanity labels, and he discusses "baby" deals between artists and production companies. Avalon's final cut is a medley of stories, rumors, and myths about ways people can be or have been "ripped-off." Though sometimes too blunt, Avalon provides a caveat that novices could miss out on elsewhere. David Rouse

  • The Craft Of Lyric Writing

    The Craft Of Lyric Writing

    by Sheila Davis

    With over 100,000 books in print, this successful author and songwriter provides a complete guide to writing words for and to music, showing how to create lyrics with universal appeal, choose a song form, and more.

  • 101 Ways To Promote Yourself

    101 Ways To Promote Yourself

    by Raleigh Pinsky

    You may have the most outstanding business, product, idea or talent in the world, but in order to be successful, you have to let the world know about it. Raleigh Pinskey offers you a crash course on how to get the attention you need. 101 Ways to Promote Yourself reveals the insider secrets learned from years of experience and how these low-cost, high-powered techniques can carry you to the top of your market and beyond.

    Find out how to:

    • Develop hot new leads
    • Project a positive image
    • Get your name in front of potential customers
    • Promote instant name recognition
    • Hold on to valued customers
    • Build on your success by cultivating referrals
    • Position yourself for greater visibility in your market
    • Grow and expand your network and database
    • Explore media opportunities
    • Market effectively on the Internet
    • Create goodwill in your community
  • The Songwriters Idea Book

    The Songwriters Idea Book

    by Sheila Davis

    This book reveals the inherent relationship between personality type, brain function and writing style. Includes 40 proven songwriting strategies - guaranteed to spark songwriters' imaginations.

  • Creating Melodies

    Creating Melodies

    by Dick Weissman

    Beginning songwriters as well as experienced ones wishing to enhance their ability to compose tuneful melodies can turn to Weissman's primer. He first defines a melody as "the single line of the structure that you can hum or whistle" and discusses generally how to read and write musical notation before delving into the melody-generating process. One interesting note: "The book is designed to be equally user-friendly for guitarists or keyboard players." Whether one is attempting to write ad jingles or pop tunes, Weissman's guide demonstrates the steps to follow in devising the melody and melding it with the lyrics. Denise Perry Donavin

  • Hot Tips For The Home Recording Studio

    Hot Tips For The Home Recording Studio

    by Hank Linderman

    Always wanted to have a home recording studio? Here's your book. Whether you intend to lay down some boss tracks or have more mundane goals, Linderman seems to cover every imaginable question, problem, or option you'll run into while setting up and using a home studio. He worthily mixes in background explanations with the advanced electronics and recording jargon, as, for instance, when he tells what exactly the difference between digital and analog recording is (many audiophiles probably should have read this explanation before committing so strenuously to digital—but that cultural-technological ship has sailed), and he keeps the techno-bombast to acceptable levels for a book concerned with fairly technical endeavors. Libraries may find his book useful to such corporate patrons as church and school groups and businesses considering in-house recording as well as to houserockin' individuals and aspiring rock stars. Mike Tribby

  • Networking In The Music Business

    Networking In The Music Business

    by Dan Kimpel

    The music business - like every other business - is based on personal relationships. Who you know and who knows you is equally (or even more) important as what you know. This book is the blueprint for developing the people skills necessary to achieve success. Helpful for both the pro and the novice, it is a detailed guide to creating a career game plan, filled with advice from artists, writers and execs who have already established themselves as major players. Author Dan Kimpel's invaluable insights are vividly documented here in a high-energy, highly readable fashion.

  • Million Dollar Mistakes

    Million Dollar Mistakes

    by Moses Avalon

    Everyone knows the success stories of the music industry - how Michael Jackson's "Thriller" blew the roof off and how Clive Davis helped orchestrate Santana's stunning comeback. Million-Dollar Mistakes presents the stories of when people in the music business were dead wrong. The book details some of the most expensive mistakes ever made by artists, as well as by the record executives, managers, and producers who've worked with stars such as Michael Jackson, Christina Aguilera, Madonna, Beyoncé, Kurt Cobain, Ricky Martin, Dido, LA Reid, and dozens more. From contract and copyright screw-ups to sheer arrogance and lying, Million-Dollar Mistakes includes tidbits such as the pitfalls of employing a family member, the marketability of suicide, and the industry's accepted levels of mendacity and thievery. Some of these mistakes are so embarrassing that the people involved would only speak off the record.

  • Tunesmith


    by Jimmy Webb

    The only artist to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics and orchestration, Webb has written many of the most memorable songs performed by the Fifth Dimension ("Up, Up and Away"), Donna Summer ("MacArthur Park") and Amy Grant ("If These Walls Could Speak"), among others. Here he seeks to impart the tools of the trade to songwriters "who may be attempting the delicate transition from amateur to professional." Covering technical matters from basic chord theory and rhyme schemes to the protocol of pitching songs, Webb draws on a trove of personal anecdotes from a career spanning more than two decades. In addition to salient comments on today's music scene, Webb cites numerous examples from the past and includes sections on writing for the stage and film. Of greatest value, perhaps, are the exercises suggested for developing song ideas, which will help anyone stumbling through a period of writer's block. While Webb's fans will revel in the behind-the-scenes details of his career and a candid view of his artistic process, others may wish that the asides, finger pointing (at arrogant co-writers) and Webb's own pet peeves (e.g., no-talent spouses who insist on songwriting credits on their partner's records) had been left out. And Webb's nuts-and-bolts approach somehow undercuts every songwriter's need for that spark of absolute inspiration. For those interested in the latter, Songwriters on Songwriting: The Expanded Version (Da Capo, 1997), a collection of interviews between editor Paul Zollo and a variety of songwriters, including Webb, is the ticket. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

  • Songwriters On Songwriting

    Songwriters On Songwriting

    by Paul Zollo

    A collection of 31 interviews in which luminaries of popular songwriting—including Carole King, Paul Simon, Frank Zappa, Randy Newman, Madonna—discuss their songwriting methods and the way their classics came to be.

  • Metaphorically Speaking

    Metaphorically Speaking

    by N.E. Renton
  • Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide

    Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide

    by Randy Poe

    Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide - revised 2nd edition contains everything a songwriter needs to know about the publishing industry. It has been revised to contain information about new media such as CD-ROM, the internet and sampling.

  • Inside Songwriting Getting To The Heart of Creativity

    Inside Songwriting Getting To The Heart of Creativity

    by Jason Blume

    Presents a rare insider's look at the business of songwriting from both sides of the desk... explains how jason blume made success happen for him, and what steps you can take to make it happen for you.

  • Protecting Your Songs & Yourself

    Protecting Your Songs & Yourself

    by Kent J. Klavens
  • How To Make & Sell Your Own Recording

    How To Make & Sell Your Own Recording

    by Diane Sward Rapaport

    This is the fifth edition and twentieth anniversary of this groundbreaking book, which is referred to by many in the music industry as the ultimate musician's "bible."

    The book features a foreword written by internationally renowned recording artist Loreena McKennitt, who, with the guidance of Ms. Rapaport's book, started her own Quinlan Road label in 1985.

    How To Make and Sell Your Own Recording addresses the important technological changes that have occurred in the nineties, including the impact of the Internet and how it is being used as an effective sales, marketing, and promotional tool by indie labels and musicians.

  • The Songwriter's & Musician's Guide To Nashville

    The Songwriter's & Musician's Guide To Nashville

    by Sherry Bond

    No other single source provides the scores of useful tips and insider information on the Nashville music scene contained in this indispensable guide. The book details how to get songs heard in Music City, U.S.A., find the industry's decision makers, and learn what they're looking for. Accounts written by city residents tell how to get the most out of a trip to Nashville, offering a unique, one-week itinerary packed with good ideas for setting up an artist showcase, finding recording studios, music publishers, record producers, legal services, and where to stay, eat, and have fun.

  • A Music Business Primer

    A Music Business Primer

    by Diane Sward Rapaport

    Explores the ecology of the music industry. The symbiotic partnership between music businesses and the creativity and talent of musicians and performers is clearly described, for without the contributions of both, there is no music industry.

    A Music Business Primer contains chapters on how the business works, synopses of controversial industry lawsuits and incisive interviews with influential entrepreneurs such as Peter Gotcher, cofounder of Digidesign; Will Ackerman, cofounder of Windham Hill Records; and Wendy Day, founder of Rap Coalition.

    The music industry is in a state of flux. Artists, nonprofit associations and industry businesspeople are challenging many of the provisions in major label recording contracts and those marketing and sales practices that choke consumer access to recordings and competition from independent labels. Free file sharing challenges all music businesses to find methods to satisfy the demands of the public for music without destroying the basic principle of copyright law: artists should be paid for their creative works. All of these issues and more are explored in A Music Business Primer.

  • How To Be Your Own Booking Agent

    How To Be Your Own Booking Agent

    by Jeri Goldstein

    This award-winning, unique, step-by-step guide and resource book, How To Be Your Own Booking Agent, is now available in its Revised 2nd Edition UPDATED. Packed with helpful hot tips, savvy advice from industry professionals, realistic methods and action plans enhanced by completely updated resource sections following every chapter including recommended books, directories, web sites, businesses, new conferences and much more, this truly is THE Musician's & Performing Artist's Guide To Successful Touring.