Barry Cleveland: Five Excellent Music Business Directories

| December 2, 2011

While I was in Los Angeles attending the Billboard/Variety Music for Film & Television Conference a few months ago, I met Ritch Esra, who was promoting directories published by the Music Business Registry, as well as numerous other industry related publications, including the encyclopedic Indie Bible. We spoke for nearly an hour about the current state of the music industry, where it might be heading, the ways in which technological and business innovations were affecting its evolution, etc.—and afterward he offered to send me review copies of several directories.

Here’s a quick overview:

Music Publisher Registry
If you are a songwriter hoping to place your creations with a publisher, this robust reference could come in handy. It lists all of the major publishers and larger independents in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, and Toronto—and includes the names, titles, direct numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses of principal contacts (and often the names of their assistants). In many cases mailing addresses and URLs are also provided. The Index in the back of the book lists contacts by name, with phone numbers and company names, in case you are looking for a particular person rather than a company.

The directory is updated every six months. Click here to see a sample listing.

$95 print/$75 CD-R/PDF

A&R Registry
If you are looking to land a record deal, this directory provides contact information for the A&R folks at every major and independent label in Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, and Toronto, as well as numerous regional contacts said not to be listed in any other directories (more than 850 total). You get all the same types of information found in the Music Publisher Registry, though there is no indication of what types of music the label specializes in, which might be unwieldy with majors and large independents, but would be quite useful with smaller indies. The good news is that URLs are given in most all cases, and if you are viewing the digital/PDF version, all you have to do is click to find out what each label is about. This directory is updated every eight weeks, which is good, given the turnover at labels these days—particularly the majors.

Click here to see a sample listing.

$95 print/$75 CD-R/PDF

Film & Television Music Guide

I received the 13th Edition of this exhaustive directory (416 pages), which is updated three times a year. It provides a wealth of information that is invaluable to those wishing to place their songs in films and television, place music with music libraries, compose for picture, locate a composer, have music cleared, find an agent, hire an engineer or producer, book a recording studio, hire an orchestra, etc. There’s really nothing else like this reference—which is actually seven different directories in one, with 21 tabbed sections—and as a composer interested in scoring for picture, I was blown away. It isn’t cheap, but if you need the kinds of information it contains, compare the cost to the hundreds of hours you’d have to spend ferreting out all this data on your own, if that were even possible.

Click here to see a sample listing.

$135 print/$100 CD-R/PDF

Music Attorney, Legal and Business Affairs Guide
No one should make a move in the music industry without consulting a good lawyer, and you’ll find lots of them listed here, along with contacts at the business affairs departments of record companies, publishing companies, and film and television companies.

Click here to see a sample listing.

$115 print/$95 CD-R/PDF

The Indie Bible
Finally, among the other publications that Mr. Esra had on display was the 12th Edition of The Indie Bible, a really great directory I have successfully used in the past to promote my own CD releases to music reviewers and radio programmers. It is bursting with 4200 publications from around the world, 3400 radio stations from around the world, 600 vendors and services, 330 sites where you can upload your band's tunes, 500 additional promotional resources, and more than 50 articles related to music promotion. If you have decided to be your own record label—which is an increasingly attractive course of action for artists—this book is a must have and well worth the cost.

$46.95 print/$39.95 CD-R/PDF

These days, independent artists need all the help they can get promoting their music and finding new ways to generate income from their art. I was obviously quite impressed with this line of directories, and I think you will be, too.

Onward & Upward!


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