Here you will find sources of information such as market research (statistics, trends, developments), key companies, trade magazines, newsletters, and Internet sources.
This guide will be useful to anyone starting a business within the music industry and also for those wanting to further their knowledge within this area.
accessible via electronic databases
The Cobra database contains practical fact-sheets on all aspects of starting, running and managing a small business – including information on writing business plans, marketing, company structures etc.
It also covers the practical aspects of how to start and run particular types of businesses – outlining necessary skills, regulations, licences and legislation etc. and highlights other sources of information and advice available.
Business Opportunity Profiles (BOP)
|Audio-visual Equipment Hire
|DJ and Mobile Disco Service
|Independent Record Label
|Private Music Tutor
|Rehearsal and Recording Studio
Business Information Fact Sheets (BIF)
|Licence to Play Music on Business Premises
|Using the Copyright of Others
|Using Copyright to Protect Your Work
Sector Update (SEC)
Small Business Help Books
This is a collection of books with practical information aimed at those starting and running a business. Located within the Centre.
All You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald S Passman (Penguin, London 2008) [SBH BT.5]
An easy to understand overview of all aspects of the music business from recording contracts to touring to merchandise rights etc. Covers traditional industry matters together with recent developments such as downloads, streaming, digital royalties and podcasts.
The updated 8th edition (2014) is available via the catalogue [General Reference Collection YC.2016.a.7853]
The Art Of Singing Onstage And In The Studio: Understanding The Psychology, Relationships, And Technology In Recording And Live Performance by Jennifer Hamady (Hal Leonard Books 2016) [SBH BT.129]
A book for singers, performers, producers, and engineers about several methods of improving performances including by managing the technology on stage and in the studio, and the best way of communicating with the people who run it.
Business Basics For Musicians: The Complete Handbook From Start To Success by Bobby Borg (Hal Leonard Books 2015) [SBH BT.11]
Practical business advice written by an experienced professional musician for other musicians with valuable tips and practical advice on getting started, developing your business and pursuing a successful music career. With interviews, anecdotes, and review tests. [2019 Edition available via the catalogue.]
The Complete Singer-Songwriter: A Troubadour's Guide To Writing, Performing, Recording, And Business by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers (Backbeat 2016) [SBH BT.136]
A singer-songwriter’s perspective on the music industry. With expert advice from managers, agents, lawyers, and publishers plus interviews with many famous songwriters giving hints, tips etc. to take an idea to song, stage, studio, etc. Includes info on copyrighting songs, music publishing, and digital royalties.
Confessions Of A Record Producer: How to Survive the Scams and Shams of the Music Business by Moses Avalon (Backbeat 2016) [SBH BT.15]
Covers the inner workings of the music industry from an experienced and practical viewpoint. Analyses the differences between ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Compares different types of record deals and gives reasons behind major industry trends and decisions. Covers industry scams and pitfalls.
Creativity: All You’ll Ever Need To Know About Being Creative by Samuel A. Malone (Austin Macauley Publishers 2015) [SBH PDIP.15]
Tips on how best to keep your creativity levels high and how best to express and nurture it. Includes information about what environments are best to encourage innovation and creativity.
How Music Got Free: The Inventor, The Music Man, And The Thief by Stephen F. Witt (Vintage Books 2016) [SBH BT.39]
Technological changes now allow immediate accessibility of all music via streaming, downloading etc. which has radically transformed/revolutionised the music industry. This book is about the people behind these changes.
How To Be A DJ in 10 Easy Lessons; Learn To Spin, Scratch and Produce Your Own Mixes by David Duncan (QED Publishing 2017) [SBH BT.168]
Simple, introductory text aimed at younger readers and beginners but giving a thorough overview of the subject and industry. Covers equipment and software through to basic music theory, mixing, scratching, blending and performance. With easy-to-follow instructions, colourful graphics, and practical tips from an experienced professional DJ.
How To Make It In Music by Stuart James Smith (Dennis Publishing 2008) [SBH BT.51]
Advice from industry professionals on: Venues, promoters, festivals, managers, lawyers, publishing, home and studio recording, creating demos, approaching record labels etc.
How To Make It In The New Music Business: Practical Tips On Building A Loyal Following And Making A Living As A Musician by Ari Herstand (Live right Publishing Corporation, NY 2017) [SBH.BT.173]
Practical information on recording, building a fan base, playing live (bookings, tours, promotions), sponsorships, investments, contracts, licensing (to commercials, films and television), royalty payments for Spotify, Pandora etc. [2020 Edition availbale via the catalogue.]
How To Start A Creative Business by Doug Richard (D&C 2011) [SBH STAR.52]
Written in jargon-free plain English. Clearly and concisely details all the relevant aspects of starting any kind of creative business. Includes activities, case studies information on assessing your customers, market, industry, pricing, partners etc.
Music 3.0 : A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age by Bobby Owsinski (Hal Leonard Books 2011) [SBH BT.76]
Explains the recent evolution of the music industry into the digital age. Covers the pros and cons of recent developments in practical terms. Includes interviews with leading industry specialists and has in-depth coverage of social media as marketing tools, distribution, brand development etc. Updated version 4.1 (2016) available via the catalogue [General Reference Collection m16/.11770].
Music Careers by Mary Boone (Raintree 2017) [SBH BT.77]
Highlights some of the behind the scenes careers in the music industry. Explains clearly the various roles and includes interviews and salary expectations. Covers the role of the audio engineer, songwriter, music producer, session musician, music publicist, entertainment lawyer, manager, journalist etc.
Music Entrepreneurship by Alan Dumbreck & Gayle McPherson (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2016) [SBH BT.78]
Analyses the ongoing evolution of the music business and the focus shift to independent companies via a series of focused chapters and case studies including contributions from key academics and industry experts. Covers recorded music, live events, branding, management, digital distribution etc.
Music Marketing for the DIY Musician by Bobby Borg (Hal Leonard Books 2014) [SBH BT.79]
Written by a professional musician, writer and music educator this book is a very practical guide to producing a customised, low-budget plan of attack for artists marketing and promoting their own music. Draws on the author’s academic and practical research involving thousands of independent artists and marketing experts worldwide. [2020 Edition available via the catalogue.]
Music: The Business by Ann Harrison (Virgin Books 2014) [SBH BT.80]
A guide to all the business elements of being a pop musician, including management, recording deals, live performances, merchandising, digital distribution etc. The author is a lawyer but the book is not solely about law.
The updated 7th edition (2017) is available via the catalogue [General Reference Collection DRT ELD.DS.179520].
Return Of The Hustle: The Art Of Marketing With Music
by Eric Sheinkop (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) [(B) SBH MSM.87]
Shows how marketers and advertisers can use music within commercials, TV, films and video games to influence audiences and attract loyal consumers.
Includes detailed case studies and interviews to show readers how to use the marketing power of music to drive business results.
(Writer's Digest Books 2015) [SBH BT.100] + 2016 Edn [(B) DIR 338.761782421302573 BUS]
Lists music publishers, music print publishers, record companies, record producers, managers and booking agents, audio-visual and commercial music firms who handle songs and songwriters.
Books in other departments
Many books covering various aspects of the music industry are available in the library. They can be found and ordered via the catalogue Explore the British Library.
Market Research & Statistics
If you are planning on starting a business you will need to be aware of the latest trends, developments and opportunities within your industry which can all be found from market research.
Market research also covers market size and forecasts, consumer demographics and attitudes, the key players and products and will often include SWOT and PEST analysis showing areas of strength, weakness, opportunities etc.
- Musical Instrument Retailers in the UK
- Radio Broadcasting in the UK
- Sound Recording & Music Publishing in the UK
- Leisure Review (Inc Impact of COVID-19)
- Music Concerts and Festivals
- Music and Other Audio - CDs, Streaming, Downloads & Podcasts
- United Kingdom Online Music Streaming 2019
- Earphones Headphones Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2020-2025
- Europe Music Streaming Market Forecast to 2027
- Global Online Music Streaming 2019
- True Wireless Headphones Market – Global Outlook 2020-2025
- United States Online Music Streaming 2019
Please note that many articles about the music industry (from business journals and newspapers) are available from our electronic sources: eMarketer, Business Source Complete (EBSCO), Factiva, ABI Inform Global etc.
Printed and Online Market Research Reports
2018 All About The Music: Recorded Music in the UK: Facts, Figures and Analysis (formerly The BPI Yearbook) (British Phonographic Industry, 2018) At Enquiry Desk [(B) MKT 381.457816402660941 BUS]
Statistics from the main industry association. Provides an annual review of the UK industry – downloading, advertising, album/singles sales, consumer profiles, piracy, airplay etc. A world market overview is included.
The Economic Impact of Music un Europe 2020 (IFPI, 2020) Free Online
Analysis of the economic aspects of music's vital contribution to the economies of the European Union and the UK.
Global Music Report: 2019 (IFPI, 2019) [(B) MKT 338.47780 BUS]
Report giving the latest news, developments and trends within the international recording industry. 2019 edition freely available online (excluding the global data statistics).
Live Music (UK Parliament, House of Commons, DCMS, 2019) Free Online
Government produced report on the UK live music industry. Covers the benefits of live music, problems in the ticketing market, challenges facing music venues, threats to the talent pipeline etc. Including conclusions and recommendations.
Measuring Music (UK Music, 2018) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. This report provides an insight into the huge contribution the UK music industry makes to the UK economy.
Music By Numbers 2020 report (UK Music, 2020) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. Report giving an insight into the British music industry and its huge contribution to the UK economy.
Music Listening 2019 (IFPI, 2019) Free Online
Provides a snapshot of how worldwide music consumers are connecting with recorded music (formerly IFPI Music Consumer Insight Report).
Music Tourism: Wish You Were Here 2017 (UK Music, 2017) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. The report features both national and regional figures and reveals the huge impact of music tourism on the UK economy.
Securing Our Talent Pipeline 2018 (UK Music, 2018) Free Online
UK Music is an industry-funded body that represents and promotes the interests of every part of the British music industry. This report tries to outline the solutions to the problem of nurturing, promoting and maintaining new acts for the future.
The UK Festival Market Report 2018 (Festival Insights + UK Festival Awards, 2018) Free Online
Examination of consumer demographics, preferences and behaviour based on research undertaken from a sample of festival goers. Includes attendees’ opinions on music, ticket prices, improvements required etc.
UK Music Diversity Report 2020 (UK Music 2020) Free Online
Report giving the state of play regarding diversity and inclusion within the UK music industry,
Valuing Live Music: UK Live Music Census 2017 (Emma Webster, Matt Brennan, Adam Behr and Martin Cloonan with Jake Ansell, 2018) Free Online
Report analysing the results taken from the UK’s first national live music census. Gives information on the economic, social and cultural value of live music. Covers challenges within the sector with conclusions and recommendations.
Business News & Journals
In order to find the latest news on your topic it is always worth searching Factiva, Business Source Complete and EMIS.
You will find articles from specialist business and academic journals, as well as newspapers and magazines. You may also find market research reports and case studies. As well as profiles of leading industry figures.
You will also find articles covering recent developments, and predicting future trends in your industry.
Trade Magazines and Newsletters
Useful for gaining inside knowledge, recent trends, industry news, company profiles, reviews of new products and services. Some contain annual reviews and company contact lists. Ordered via Explore the British Library (please ask for help).
Audience: for the international contemporary live music industry (Audience Media Ltd) [ZK.9.b.21486]
Covers the international contemporary live music business. Provides news, features and tour information and is aimed at promoters, festival organisers, venue owners/managers, booking agents, artiste managers, record and publishing company executives, etc.
Audio Media International (NewBay Media Europe Ltd) [ZK.9b.33751]
For professional sound engineers and studios. Includes equipment, audio for video, broadcast, internet audio, live sound systems, concert and event sound, multimedia, post-production, recording, music, radio. Recent issues freely available online.
Billboard (Billboard Music Group) [ZC.9.d.566][HUS 050] Open Access NSA collection
News about the international record industry. Includes new artist signings, detailed sales charts, music genre profiles, events.
Computer Music (Future Publishing Ltd) [(P) PP 374 - E(1)]
Guide to making music using a PC or Mac. Reviews technology, equipment and software available for making music. With tutorials, reviews, solutions to technical problems plus free software and samples.
Computer Music Specials (Future Publishing Ltd) [CDS.9.b.63]
Spin-off of Computer Music magazine. Each issue is solely focused on one topic, providing an in-depth guide to a current music-making development or software package. Previous topics have included Cubase, Reason, Ableton Live, GarageBand, DJing Beginner’s Guide, Recording Guitars and Online Music. Each issue includes advice, tips and detailed step-by-step tutorials. [NB: no issues received since end 2014]
Electronic Musician (Polyphony) [(P) RX 72 - E(5)]
A resource for musicians who want to record, produce and perform better music. Featuring articles on the latest technology, synthesizers, music production, DAW developments etc. Includes in-depth tutorials and interviews with leading artists. Services and facilities directory included.
Future Music: making music with modern technology (Future Publishing Ltd) [ZK.9.d.679]
Making music using modern technology. In-depth reviews by industry professionals plus news on all the latest hardware and software releases. Interviews musicians about equipment and technology used.
Lighting and Sound International (Offord) [ZK.9.b.1136]
Professional and trade journal for lighting and sound in the entertainment, presentation and communications industries including music venues, theatres, concert halls, conferences and exhibitions etc. Includes new product information, venue profiles, technical articles, shows, product guide, and company profiles.
Live UK (Audience Media Ltd) [ZK.9.b.24850]
(Supplement to Audience) Covers the UK contemporary live music business (concerts, equipment and supplies). Provides news, features and tour information to the country's promoters, festival organisers, venues, artiste managers, booking agents etc.
Mixmag (DMC Publishing) [ZK.9.b.8050] [Cup.938/563]
Gives information on clubs and dance music, and includes a Mix CD from current big-name DJs.
Mondo Dr: Technology In Entertainment (Mondiale Publishing) [ZK.9.d.2122]
Trade magazine for sound & lighting professionals incl. nightclubs, stadia, theatre, special effects, entertainment venues. Includes detailed product reports & market studies. Recent issues freely available online.
Music Tech Magazine (Anthem Publishing) [CDS.9.b.164]
Practical magazine for recording musicians, sound engineers and producers with practical features and tutorials.
Music Week (Morgan-Grampian) [HUS 050] Open Access NSA collection
UK record industry magazine with weekly news and charts. News, features, detailed sales charts, genre reviews, artist signings, retailers, job adverts.
New Musical Express (NME) (IPC Magazines Ltd) [HUS 050] Open Access NSA collection
Mostly news about artists, including charts, forthcoming concerts. Some news about record labels.
Rhythm (Future Publishing Ltd) [ZK.9.b.10420] [CUP.938/702]
UK magazine for drummers and percussionists. Includes Play Drums CD with tutorials, techniques and practise tools. Features news, reviews, drummer interviews and gives advice on equipment.
Sound On Sound (SOS Publications) [ZM.9.b.3] [HUS 050] Open Access NSA collection
Covers music recording technology. Features articles on recording systems, mixing consoles, samplers, music software and microphones. Has a directory of suppliers and training providers.
Sound, Vision, Install (SVI) (Partridge Publications Ltd) [ZK.9.b.20691]
UK trade magazine for professionals within the audio-visual and custom installation industries. Gives latest product reviews, business news, technological developments and commentary. Includes a comprehensive business directory, events and training diary and a recruitment section.
Total Guitar (Future Publishing Ltd) [ZK.9.b.7899]
Information and tutorials to improve guitar playing. Featuring product & equipment reviews, artist profiles and interviews as well as techniques, tutorials. Europe's best-selling guitar magazine.
Many more magazines covering various aspects of the music industry are available within the library’s collections. They can be found and ordered via the catalogue Explore the British Library.
Contain lists of companies and industry contacts. Some have annual industry reviews, and specialist articles.
British & International Music Yearbook [45th Edition] 2019 (Rhinegold Publishing Ltd) [(B) DIR 780 BUS]
Reference source for the worldwide classical music industry with listings giving contact details of agents and performers, music schools and courses, concert venues and festivals, music and book publishers, instrument manufacturers, recording companies and studios, and marketing and fundraising organisations etc. Online directory.
The IMIT Membership Directory 2018 (The Acme Co) [(B) DIR 784.192802541 BUS]
Names and addresses of the members of the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology.
Music Week Directory 2020 (Spotlight) Open Access Humanities 2 Reading Room HUS 380.294 (2018) or 2019 edition available via catalogue ZM.9.A.6
Listing of music companies and executives. Includes details on labels, publishers, distributors, live agents and top companies across every sector.
Showcase: The Music Business Guide [51st Edition] 2019 (Hollis) [(B) DIR 780.294 BUS]
International music production guide. International music business contact. Lists concert, venue, equipment, recording, studios, artists, business and broadcast services. Artist index, record companies worldwide, festivals, booking agents, artist management, publishers.
Songwriters Market 2016 (Writer’s Digest Books) [(B) DIR 338.761782421302573 BUS] + [SBH BT.100]
Lists music publishers, music print publishers, record companies, record producers, managers and booking agents, audio-visual and commercial music firms who handle songs and songwriters.
The White Book 2014 (Ocean Media Events Ltd) [(B) DIR 338.761791025 BUS]
Production directory for events industry. UK talent, film, TV and video, conference industry, exhibitions, concerts, show and theatrical agents.
[2019 Edn available P.421/848 (catalogue request)]
Directory of services and equipment, venues, entertainment available online.
Websites containing free sources of industry statistics, information and contacts.
Provides training to musicians and other music professionals.
Provides graded music examinations, and offers CPD opportunities and support to professional music teachers.
A trade body for UK-based independent record companies, artists, labels and distributors. It provides basic guidance on how to start an independent record label as well as news and developments in the industry. The website contains a searchable directory of distributors.
A professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology. For engineers, students, scientists etc. Involved in the creation and maintenance of international standards in the areas of digital and analog audio engineering, communications technology, acoustics, media preservation and creative practice etc.
Supports and protects the artistic, professional, commercial and copyright interests of songwriters, lyricists and composers of all genres of music.
Umbrella organisation bringing together organisations representing those who create, or hold rights in, literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and those who perform such works.
Represents the UK recorded music industry, including record companies and labels, as well as music manufacturers and distributors. It provides industry information, lobbies the Government on issues relating to the promotion of music in the UK and to music piracy.
Explains various music business roles and careers and gives advice, facts, addresses and contacts etc.
The Government department responsible for policy on the music industry.
Provides training at venues across the UK for prospective DJs.
A trade association for entertainers' agents. It offers guidance on operating an agency and its members are bound by a strict Code of Conduct.
A trade organisation that represents retailers of recorded music, video, DVD and multimedia products.
An online B2B publication focussed on the international festival industry.
A professional body that represents the interests of musicians and tutors in the UK. It publishes information sheets giving guidance on professional careers in music, and has established a code of conduct and ethics for tutors.
A trade association for Europe's independent music companies.
The official government organisation that provides information and advice on all areas of intellectual property issues, including copyright for music.
The only worldwide association for classical music artist managers and concert agents.
Represents the worldwide recording industry and works to promote the value of recorded music. Has many free resources including market research and directory of digital music services worldwide.
The sole UK trade association servicing and representing the interests of all UK businesses selling musical instruments and associated products.
Mostly a membership site but with some free content including its directory of members and contacts. For everyone involved in the production of music and sound in all media, from student trainees through to working professionals. Has hints and tips for the recording process and a free directory of producers, engineers, mixers, etc. You can view the Members Directory online
A non-profit organisation representing music publishers in the UK. It exists to safeguard their interests, and those of the writers signed to them.
Searchable directory of music tutors in the UK, as well as publishing a number of resources and guides to assist music tutors and teachers.
A group blog giving news, information, articles and advice covering all aspects of the music industry.
A subscription only directory of companies operating in the UK music and media industry, including record companies, music publishers, managers and recording studios.
Works to promote the interests of all types of musicians. Their website provides news and information related to working, performing, legal issues, finance, contracts, training etc. and includes a directory of musicians available for recording, gigs and teaching.
Provides support for its members, including discounts, advertising on the association's website and the chance to interact with other DJs.
Compiles and lists the UK's top 40 chart. With chart news, artist interviews, new releases etc.
Oversee the distribution of royalties to artists whose work is played in public.
The trade body for businesses involved in live events. The Association aims to lobby on behalf of the industry and raise technical and safety standards.
The collection society for royalties earned from the copying and performing of copyrighted materials. It is an amalgamation of the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society (MCPS) and Performing Right Society (PRS) (MCPS-PRS Alliance). They administer the performing rights in the musical works of its members who comprise composers, songwriters and music publishers. PRS licences are required by concert halls, dance halls, public houses, hotels and restaurants, ships, aeroplanes and anywhere else where copyright music is played in public. Any broadcaster using music, and anyone putting copyright music on the Internet, must also be licensed.
DJ hints and tips website, targeted more towards club DJs. Including sections on how to choose equipment and hints on playing live.
A news service that provides music industry news to subscribers.
A website for producers, recording studios, studio and recording equipment worldwide. Has interviews, blogs, forums, equipment reviews, recording tips etc. and includes a directory of recording studios.
Provides courses in audio engineering, live sound, post production, electronic music production, remixing and DJ skills.
The national charity for new music in the UK. Promotes new music from digital platforms to live events and gives information on funding, awards and commissions. Has several free Toolkits which provide guides and resources for composers and producers giving advice on numerous topics such as funding, promotion, publishing etc.
A subscription based industry reference tool for signed/unsigned artists containing information and contact details of record companies, publishing companies, artwork, creative and design companies, recording studios, promoters, venues and industry associations. Includes many free practical fact-sheets and articles giving advice on recording, playing live, blogging and promotions, managers etc.
The umbrella organisation which represents the collective interests of the UK’s commercial music industry - from artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, to record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers and music licensing organisations. With news, information, market research reports, career information and advice.
Provides sample contracts and information on setting up as an entertainers' agent.
WIPO PROOF is a new digital service that provides a tamper-proof date and time-stamped digital fingerprint of any file, proving secure evidence that a creation existed at a given point in time - which can be verified by anyone. It can be used to prove that a piece of music, song, lyric, sketch, or other original creation existed before someone else's and can be used in resolving legal disputes and preventing misuse and misappropriation.
Please note that every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however some recently acquired items may since have been added to the collection. Please ask for help at the enquiry desk or check the online catalogue Explore the British Library for more details.
Images by Ziaad Khan, Jeremy O’Hare, fensterbme under a Creative Commons license