If you want to make it in music, and you haven’t read this book, GTFO. Ari Herstand nails it.

Ari Herstand has become a beacon of hope for the new music industry, consistently offering top notch advice based on his experiences as a DIY artist in a way that’s meant to help others, something I hope to do as well, so immediately his site Ari’s Take resonated with me. Learning about the book he wrote lead me to purchase it, and well…. it blew me away. After reading so many books on music business, (which I’ll list recommended ones at the end of this blog) I started trying to sort out which ideas were even still relevant (some of the books were dated), and then how to apply them to this day and age considering the music industry is completely different than it was 20 years ago, shoot even 10 years ago it’s flipped on it’s head, and in the last 5 it’s made even MORE drastic changes.

Enter Ari’s book: How to make it in the New music Business. Many of the high level, big picture patterns I  had seen throughout my research, and from my own experiences, have been outlined in this book in a practical way to get you the knowledge you need to enable your success in THE NEW music industry. If you still think getting a record deal is the way, that’s fine, but…. you’re going to be burned in that pursuit. I was particularly excited with this book because I feel like for years now that to be a musician (or creative type of any kind really) it takes an entrepreneurial approach through and through, not solely a creative artist, from day 1. If you’re not willing to accept that, then you should also be willing to accept that you’ll likely never make the kinds of money that you’re looking to make with your passion, if your ultimately goal is to make it your main source of income (or even a supplemental income). If that’s not your goal then, keep on keeping on, that’s A-ok, but I’ll have a hard time if you play the starving artist card if you’re not willing to take steps to change that situation.

Ari gets into the nitty gritty of the industry, and a lot of it is stuff that you probably don’t want to admit you’ll have to learn or do, but you know you will have to if you really want to make waves. While he covers just about all facets of the industry, and I found the entire book to be valuable, the most impressive parts to me were the following chapters:

  1. Chapter 1 – Why Music?
    • Right? Why the hell do we do this anyways? And what’s it take to really get the ball rolling, and what expectations should you have of yourself (because you are the only one in control of your success).
  2. Chapter 4 – The Release.
    • IF NOTHING ELSE READ “THE BRIDGE” ON PAGE 114 which outlines 26 things to do before you release your song or album. This blew me away, and I will be using this as a guideline myself for upcoming releases.
  3. Chapter 5 – Building a fanbase one fan at a time.
    • THIS. This is the thing I’ve found the vast majority of musicians miss. They’re always looking for the biggest shows, and the fastest way to get in front of as many people as possible, but I cannot reiterate enough that this is NOT the way to build a long term, sustainable income. Focusing on building relationships with fans, more or less one fan at a time, will provide more faithful support in the long term, than being a flash in the pan, so you can continue to do music your entire life.
  4. Chapter 13 – How to get all the royalties you never knew existed (and other business things you need to know).
    • Holy crap, this one just about made me fall out of my seat. While I had known about ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, Sound Exchange, CD Baby, and other ways to get a passive income rolling in, this chapter covers it in such great detail, with SO MUCH INFORMATION that will do nothing but help you in your career, that you need to read this if you’re serious as a heart attack about music.
    • Seriously though. The whole book, from top to bottom, will give you so much useful information to act on, and even more to think about, that I can’t recommend this book enough. It summarizes so accurately all the research I’ve been doing on my own in almost the exact same way I would recommend to other bands, artists, creative types, and it’s focus on the music industry is laser beam tight.

If you want to do something to help yourself as a musician, buy this book, and read it cover to cover.  End of story.

The best music business books I’ve read so far for my own research seeking best practices in the industry I recommend:

  1. Six Figure Musician
  2. The Artists Guide to Success in the Music Industry
  3. The Self Promoting Musician
  4. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

Uhh… and Ari, if you ever see this blog, please can we talk and nerd out about the industry. Please?

One thought on “If you want to make it in music, and you haven’t read this book, GTFO. Ari Herstand nails it.

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