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Small Biz Solutions: Book Review

HACKING MUSIC: The Music Business Model Canvas by John Pisciotta and Wade Sutton

By Sherry Parfait

Making it in the music business requires a different type of hustling than it did 20 years ago.

Today, most artists who dream of bringing their music to the masses are running a one-man (or woman) show, and responsible for the tasks that were once assigned to record label teams, booking agents and management staff. If that artist sounds like you, I recommend that you invest in the book Hacking Music: The Music Business Model Canvas.

I say invest because this is a “playbook” that teaches the music artist to think like a hacker (a creative problem solver).

Hacking Music is a great primer for songwriters and recording artists, no matter what stage of your career you’re in.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Music Business, and I found Hacking Music both incredibly educational and also affirmative of my own college training and professional experience. The Music Business has come a long way in the past 20 years, and Hacking Music helps you to understand the evolution of the business through well thought-out and easy-to-understand text and infographics.

Before diving into the tools, authors John Pisciotta, Wade Sutton and Jeff McMahon prepare the reader to focus on understanding mindset, strategy and execution, and to read the book through the lens of a businessperson, not a musician or a songwriter.

Both Pisciotta and Sutton share their own professional experiences that produced positive results along with practical strategies that artists and other music industry leaders have found success with.

The book culminates with an interesting chapter on commercial songwriting that includes mindset-shifting insight from hit songwriters. I personally enjoyed reading the stories behind the hit songs, and the topics they hit upon.

Being a professional in this business, no matter how small or large your organization is, entails understanding legal matters (agreements/contracts), marketing/publicity, business management and ultimately, understanding that the songs you write and/or perform are not about you…they’re about the listeners. If you are determined to make it in the music business, reading Hacking Music is the perfect place to start your journey. It’s available for purchase from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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