5 Books Every Songwriter, Musician, and Band Should Read

books for songwriters

THE PLAIN AND SIMPLE GUIDE TO MUSIC PUBLISHING: What You Need to Know About Protecting and Profiting from Music Copyrights

Oof, this book is a beast. Written by an ultimate authority, Randall Wixen, this read is an industry standard, with terms and music career tips that will help bedroom bands to stadium headliners. There is a great deal to learn from the man who has represented the catalogs of everyone, from Tom Petty and Neil Young to Missy Elliot, The Black Keys, and The Beach Boys.

Why is this the best book on music publishing?

  • It provides a basic and deeper understanding of publishing, copyrights, licensing, synchronization, streaming, and representation. 

  • Terms are defined and professional tips are suggested. 

  • It will help you come across experienced and polished. Your brand and your bank account will thank you!

  • No filler. Just experience and easy reading.


Written by a journalist who digs songwriting, this book is the follow up to Songwriters on Songwriting ("the songwriter's bible"). What makes this a better read than the first? Nothing much, other than Paul Zollo chose to include more interviews with icons nearer to our hearts and ears. Both books are fantastic reads.

You will get first-person accounts from songwriting legends. Learn what your favorite songwriter hears, feels, thinks, and does to create their music. It interviews the greats on their process: Stephen Stills, Brian Wilson, Paul Simon, Patti Smith, James Taylor, Loretta Lynn, and Ringo. Pow! 

Why is this the best book on songwriting?

  • Maybe it's not, but it's a great read!


A literary read, no. A literal read, yes. The title says it all. This book shows you how to get music placed in television and film. It is the biggest market for many songwriters and this book breaks it down to a science. Filled with the format, structure and to-the-point lists that help you get placements, more sync money, and more royalties from BMI, ASCAP, etc.

Why is this the best book on placing music in TV and film?

  • It's the most comprehensive. 

  • Less fluff, more facts. 

  • Gives you the keys to the castle if you can get over the moat.

TUNESMITH: Inside the Art of Songwriting: By Jimmy Webb

If you can get past some subjective stances and personal beefs, this book will make you a better songwriter. Tunesmith is a history lesson and a warning. Pessimistic at times, this deals with the hard truth that songwriters are somewhat cursed. Being inside of our heads too much, then burned when we venture out into society. Friends are enemies, advisors are crooks, and music is a life in chains -- "But I can't break away from these chains."

Why is this the best book for a songwriter?

  • There's never been a more successful musician or songwriter who has written a book on the craft.

  • Makes you reflect if you really have the goods.


Basic, but efficient. You can read all the music industry books, but at some point to you need to get your music into the world. This annual favorite from Writer's Digest gives all the information and tools needed to market, distribute, and sell your music. Publishers, record labels, managers, agents, awards and contests fill these pages.

Why is this the best list of music opportunities and submission information?

  • Easy‚Ķit is the authority.

  • Like the reousources listed above, this is a great investment in your career.

Did we miss any? Have a favorite? Share below!