A young, lonesome, girl sits on her bed in her room with a mind full of thoughts. A mind full of eagerness and drive. A sense of littleness and insignificance is settled within her, obstructed by another sense of perseverance. She thinks about how much she has to learn, how much information she has to stack her brain with. She pictures so much information that it doesn’t even fit in her brain, her head, or even her whole body. All the different genres, all the different perspectives, all of history…how were she to know it all? To start, she pulls out a book, “All you Need to Know About the Music Industry Eighth Edition” by Donald S. Passman. There she sits, with her pen and highlighter ready to fill not only her pages, but her brain, and her whole body.
If you haven’t quite caught on yet, the little girl in the story is myself. I knew what my passions were at a very young age, and therefore began studying them at a young age. This Donald Passman book I pulled out at Barnes and Noble and opened up in bed that night, taught me my life in a way. The book was filled with stories of how people in love with music, made it into a career-not just performers, but managers, recorders, music lawyers, marketers ext. These people had no direct path into the industry. They went through a lot of different learning, questioning, and experimenting. But one story, Donald Passman’s -the author himself, is one I particularly enjoy.
Passman grew up loving the creative arts just as myself. “I used to play a mean accordion(Passman, 1)” he jokes. Accordion soon lead to guitar. And guitar lead Passman to play lead in his college band. Passman and his band met with a record producer and that is when paths changed for Passman. The publishing, licensing, and seriousness of producing a song, actually led Passman to law school-and off to Harvard he went! At this point he admits, “it was quickly becoming apparent that my ability to be in the music business and eat regularly lay along the business path (Passman, 2)”. He loved music, but realized being a performer may not work out for him. However, he knew that didn’t mean music couldn’t still be a part of his everyday career. He began doing tax planning for performers. He used the ideas of Interdisciplinary Studies to integrate his love for music, with his will to eat! This led to the whole tax planning for artists idea. Passman writes one sentence that has completely inspired my career path today stating, “As I really began to understand how the music business worked, I found that my love for both creative arts and business allowed me to move between the two worlds and help them relate to each other. The marriage of art and commerce has always fascinated me-they can’t exist without each other (Passman, 2)”. And why can’t they exist without each other? Because in one way or another, everything is related. If you are able to highlight where that relationship is connected, that is golden. Highlight business with music, therapy with music, science with history, psychology with investigation, and you are able to see what most people don’t. Each craft is able to build itself stably, but bring those crafts together, and you have true brilliance.
Today Donald Passman lives in Los Angeles with a wife and four kids. He practices law with Gang Tyre, Ramer & Brown, Inc. It has now been 30 years that Passman has specialized in the music industry. Some even note Passman as the most influential people in the entertainment industry today.
Check out a few pages of Donald Passman’s book here: http://www.amazon.com/Need-Know-About-Music-Business/dp/1451682468 by clicking on the link “look inside”
To learn more about Passman’s career see the video below!