This is the second post in a series of blogs I am writing about Indie label Future Legend Records and their 20th anniversary. It is a review of the cult book: ‘Music Business Bastards’.
Music Business Bastards(how to do well in the music business without getting ripped off) 2013 updated version
By Russell C. Brennan
Publisher: December Books UK
Russell C. Brennan takes a no-nonsense approach to considering the music business. He speaks about how to make money in harsh, but ultimately realistic terms. Although the book is mostly aimed at people trying to break into the music business, it could also be intriguing to all music lovers, as it gives unique insights into how music is made.
Another key issue tackled by Brennan’s book, is how the music business has gone drastically wrong. He describes how an over-reliance on the internet is slowly suffocating the music industry. He doesn’t say it explicitly, but it comes across in the text that he yearns for the pre-internet era. By the end of the book Brennan is painting a picture of a dystopian future where the internet crashes. However he reaches the unexpected conclusion that this would be good for music.
Brennan’s book is well informed, he has produced, managed and created many different kinds of music over the years, and he has even run his own label. However, in places, his constantly over-brimming self-confidence and self-promotion can become annoying, and it occasionally interferes with the points he is trying to make with the majority of the text. This ability for self-promotion is obviously part of what enabled him to achieve so much: he states at various points in the book-“Don’t expect others to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself.’ Yet the book opens with a five page biography of the author, so perhaps he doesn’t need to push himself so hard all the way through the book; especially when it gets in the way of the main text.
I like that the book doesn’t play around with you. It gives precise instructions on what to do next with your music career, no matter what stage you are at before you read it. Brennan’s charm and intelligence pour out of the enlightening pages. ‘Music Business Bastards’ is definitely a vital book for anyone starting up a band.
To avoid disappointment please make sure you buy the second edition of the book (the first edition is 20 years out of date) it is avaliable here: http://decemberpublishing.com/MBB.html