Check out these new books about the music business – 10 of the best music books published in 2022.
Quite a few of this year’s best new music books take a wide-sweeping gaze over the history of music but through a unique lens, whether that’s looking beyond stereotypes in classical music or giving us a glimpse into the musical favourites of one of the most famous musicians of the century.
Our top picks will guide you through how the music industry has changed over modern times, help you discover overlooked composers, and explain the science of sound.
If the number of criss-crossing genres and sub-sub-subgenres in the music world irks you, Major Labels is the book for you. Kelefa Sanneh argues that Rock, RnB, Country, Punk, Hip-hop, Dance, and Pop, are the defining categories of modern music. See if he can persuade you they’re the only labels that matter.
Explore the stories of 10 overlooked 20th century composers who deserve to be household names with Molleson’s enthusiastic Sound Within Sound.
Fighting against the gatekeepers of classical music, Molleson takes us around the world beyond stereotypes to encourage listening beyond Mozart and Bach.
This autobiography from the lead singer of British guitar band Lush is a funny, enthralling look at the 90s gig scene, also examining how her fascinating but challenging upbringing drew her to find her bandmates.
There’s plenty of pieces of trivia alongside scathing descriptions of misogyny in the Britpop era.
Everything I Need I Get from You: How Fangirls Created the Internet as We Know It by Kaitlyn Tiffany
This book might just convince you to stop sneering at Directioners. Everything I Need I Get from You argues that obsessive fans, particularly young women, are so much more than that. They’ve shaped the language and trends of the internet.
It’s an often hilarious yet completely sincere and intriguing read.
What the Ear Hears (and Doesn’t): Inside the Extraordinary Everyday World of Frequency by Richard Mainwaring
Music meets physics as classically trained multi-instrumentalist and composer Richard Mainwaring excitably opens up the world of frequency, from whale song to suspected paranormal activity. Scientifically-inclined music fans will love it.
An anthology of essays in which Bob Dylan analyses his pick of the most notable songs in the history of popular music, in typical rambling fashion. His opinionated musings on the likes of Elvis Presley and The Clash are enlightening and amusing.
Stuart Cosgrove’s writing is passionate and moving as he explores meetings in the Oval Office between black artists and US Presidents and how these mirrored the movement of black music into the mainstream of American culture.
A gorgeously illustrated picture book with interactive instruments throughout. By pressing the buttons to hear “Greensleeves” on the harpsichord or Charlie Parker’s saxophone to hear some bebop, children aged 4-7 can learn the origins of famous pieces of music, discover new genres, and start to get to know all kinds of different composers.
The author of High Fidelity turns his attention to non-fiction with an adoring fan’s comparison of two cultural giants that couldn’t seem further apart – Charles Dickens and Prince.
It’s a slim book about dedicating your life to your passion, about two self-destructive geniuses who died prematurely but not before giving the world extraordinary gifts.
This Is What It Sounds Like: What the Music You Love Says About You by Dr. Susan Rogers and Ogi Ogas
This scientific exploration of why music speaks to us has a Prince connection too – it was written by the engineer of Purple Rain. Once a record producer, Dr Susan Rogers is now a cognitive neuroscience professor.
She takes us on a deep dive into musicology, but one that never alienates.