HITS Nashville editor Holly Gleason and legendary music business attorney/author Don Passman have two hot new additions for your fall bookshelf, with the Gleason-edited Prine on Prine: Interviews and Encounters with John Prine (Musicians in Their Own Words), out now from Chicago Review Press, and the 11th edition of Passman’s essential primer, All You Need to Know About the Music Business, arriving on 10/24 from Simon & Schuster.
Gleason, who worked closely with Prine for decades before his death in 2020, traces his remarkable life and career through archival conversations with everyone from Studs Terkel and Robert Hilburn to
Roger Ebert and Cameron Crowe. She even excerpts some of his recipes from the 1994 cookbook Shuck Beans, Stack Cake, because Prine was just as comfortable in the kitchen as he was writing songs that would eventually be covered by Bonnie Raitt, George Strait, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert, Carly Simon and Johnny Cash. “For all of us who love and miss him so, this book is truly a treasured gift,” reads a blurb from Raitt.
“Whether it’s Robert Hilburn seeing John in the limbo of life without a major label, Dave Hoekstra celebrating the Earl of Old Town’s anniversary, as well as Steve Goodman and the Chicago folk scene that birthed both men, or Chris Willman delving into women’s reproductive autonomy for a charity single of ‘Unwed Fathers’ with Margo Price, Prine’s aim was true,” Gleason points out. “He was fun and funny, but mostly he wanted to see people treat each other with kindness and respect. He was all for everybody, but he had a strong sense of values and decency, and that stayed consistent throughout his career.”
As for the new version of All You Need to Know About the Music Business, Passman is right on top of the most pressing developments in the industry, including the impact of TikTok, AI and the Metaverse, the pros and cons of the recent explosion in big-ticket catalog sales, how to break through the noise in the ever-growing DIY world and why he believes artists have more power than ever when it comes to negotiating deals once reserved for superstars.
The legal wizard offers something to learn for novices and experts alike, tracing the biggest revolution in the music business since songs were first pressed to wax cylinders. As he points out, for the first time in history, music is no longer monetized by a sale — it’s monetized by how many times a listener streams a song.
This 11th installment is the first update since 2019, when Passman had to reckon with streaming becoming the dominant form of music consumption worldwide. “The record companies still haven’t figured out who should be doing what in the streaming world,” he told us at the time. “Data, sales, marketing—they’re all kind of growing together in a way that’s not settled or finalized. When you put an ad on a streaming service, is that sales or marketing? Who deals with DSPs, and who deals with consumers? Where does data fit in?” Heck if we know! Good thing Don does.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have TV to watch.