Derek Sivers

from the book “Your Music and People”:

Some quick context for these stories


This book is entirely about you and your music. But I use some of my stories as examples. So here’s my context, as short as can be, to set the stage for the book.

Since I was 14, all I wanted was to be a successful musician.

First I graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Then I got a job at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing in New York City. There I learned a ton about how the traditional music industry works. I’ll tell you about that soon.

Then I quit my job and became a full-time professional musician. I played over a thousand shows of all types. I was also a session guitarist and side-man, then I ran a recording studio, booking agency, record label, and more.

I made a website to sell my CD, then my musician friends asked if I could sell their CD too. So I called it CD Baby, and it soon became the largest seller of independent music online. Over 150,000 musicians sold their music directly through me. (I have a different book about that, called “Anything You Want”.)

I started to see the music business from the other side. I found out what it was like to be on the receiving end of musicians’ music. I became friends with successful people inside the music industry, and heard their perspective.

I saw thousands of musicians succeed. So I paid attention to how they did it.

That’s when I started writing my observations in this book. I felt like a spy, giving you the report from the inside, telling you how to get in.

Now listen up, and I’ll tell you everything I know.