The best books for musicians that will help your parents feel better about your choice to become a musician

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Grammy-nominated musician and creative who actually loves music, not as a vocation but as a cathartic practice and art form. Because I love music and the process of creating I also understood that no matter how much I love music that the love of it had nothing to do with the business of selling music. If I wanted to maintain the love I had to learn the business and find a way to continue to cherish the art while familiarizing myself with the business of art. I found peace and a deeper understanding of where I stood in the business and understanding that helps to keep the artist sane.

I wrote...

You Are Ketchup: And Other Fly Music Industry Tales

By Koyaki,

Book cover of You Are Ketchup: And Other Fly Music Industry Tales

What is my book about?

No soapbox or pontificating 212 pages and 3 decades worth of upbeat and informative anecdotes and advice about the business of music (because it’s show business, not show friends). An atypical self-help book from a Grammy-nominated artist to assist in recognizing and honing in on one’s worth, perspectives, and path.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Everything You'd Better Know About the Record Industry

Koyaki Why did I love this book?

Unlike most music business books that are full of legalese and require an advanced degree, this book is written by a musician who appreciated the business but held firm to their creativity. The explanations of terms and anecdotes about why those terms matter and their practical application, helped me navigate a number of contracts as well as learning how to cope with and make lemonade from my bad business decisions. Though a little out of date in regards to advanced technologies and changes in the current business of music, there is still valuable information as we have to remember that the entertainment business builds new structures on top of old concepts. At its core these scenarios, terms, and industry hustles still apply.

By Kashif, Gary Greenberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything You'd Better Know About the Record Industry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Offers information for songwriters, performers and singers, and producers on the industry, including hiring managers and accountants, establishing a budget, and copyright and contract law

Book cover of ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands

Koyaki Why did I love this book?

This is the quintessential bible for anyone that is into branding and marketing from the man that created iconic advertising and marketing campaigns. The title implies it all, in this business of music or rather entertainment overall, at times, the ideas get stale and redundant, it’s in those moments that you have to move against the fray of society and trends and simply ZAG, while everyone else is Zigging. I found this to be a necessity in understanding how to navigate in a sea of people that do exactly what I did, the concepts and information given are evergreen. Whether an independent creative or one attached to a machine, your personal brand messaging (and at times you are a brand) is important and Marty has the answers.

By Marty Neumeier,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked ZAG as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When everybody zigs, zag," says Marty Neumeier in this fresh view of brand strategy. ZAG follows the ultra-clear "whiteboard overview" style of the author's first book, THE BRAND GAP, but drills deeper into the question of how brands can harness the power of differentiation. The author argues that in an extremely cluttered marketplace, traditional differentiation is no longer enough-today companies need "radical differentiation" to create lasting value for their shareholders and customers. In an entertaining 3-hour read you'll learn:

- why me-too brands are doomed to fail
- how to "read" customer feedback on new products and messages
- the…

Book cover of Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After

Koyaki Why did I love this book?

A great guide to starting over, Do Cool Sh*t resonated with me so much while I was working a 9-5, touring, and being a multi-hyphenate at the same time. This book is about shedding the idea of what is “practical” while embracing the concepts of taking chances, failing, learning, failing some more, and understanding that all of these steps are necessary to convert dreams into realities. It’s a personal journey to being content, not complacent, understanding that sometimes it’s leaping off the edge, both feet at the same damn time. 

By Miki Agrawal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Do Cool Sh*t as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Miki Agrawal opened Slice Perfect, her first farm-to-table pizzeria in New York City with zero experience and no capital. Since then she has watched her business grow exponentially, including a partnership with founder and bestselling author Tony Hsieh with whom she is opening her dream restaurant, Slice: Las Vegas. She's also become become an angel investor for other promising start-ups. In Do Cool Sh*t, she shares her own adventures in entrepreneurship, offering solid, easy-to-follow advice aspiring entrepreneurs can use to start their own business, fund it on a shoestring budget, convene the perfect brain trust to brainstorm a business…

Book cover of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Koyaki Why did I love this book?

Woooo. Lord, where to begin. I can’t emphasize enough that this hydra that we call the entertainment business, whether music, visual art, music, film, or any industry where you are subject to opinions that are subjective at the core, you are in what I call a “thick-skinned business.” I mean Wall Street brokerage managers and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies could say the same and they would be correct, especially given the quantifiable data by which “performance” is judged in these industries. This book hits home when you are feeling like you can’t get past yourself and that “self” being doubt, imposter syndrome, or fear. This book moves you to take stock of what your “values” are, what you can control, what you cannot, and the reason as to why you shouldn’t waste any energy looking for validation.  

By Mark Manson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is-a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today.…

Book cover of Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Koyaki Why did I love this book?

I wish I could add the trilogy of Austin Kleon books; with Steal Like an Artist and Keep Going completing the trilogy. Show Your Work was the first book that I read that spoke to me about letting your supporters in on the creating. The sharing of exclusive content has become a staple for independent and major-label artists, Instagram, Tik Tok, and social platforms all rely on the need to share. For me this book was the progenitor of this line of thinking, encouraging the creative to share and disperse with the secrecy of process and move toward converting investors in one's product to investing in the person. 

By Austin Kleon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his New York Times bestseller Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon showed readers how to unlock their creativity by stealing from the community of other movers and shakers. Now, in an even more forward-thinking and necessary book, he shows how to take that critical next step on a creative journey getting known. Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time networking. It s not self-promotion, it s self-discovery let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and…

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Book cover of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

What is my book about?

The coaching book that's for all of us, not just coaches.

It's the best-selling book on coaching this century, with 15k+ online reviews. Brené Brown calls it "a classic". Dan Pink said it was "essential".

It is practical, funny, and short, and "unweirds" coaching. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a leader, or even a coach, you can stay curious longer.

By Michael Bungay Stanier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Coaching Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look for Michael's new book, The Advice Trap, which focuses on taming your Advice Monster so you can stay curious a little longer and change the way you lead forever.

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples' potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how-by saying less and…

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