Derek Sivers


Hi. I’m Derek Sivers.

This book is about you and your music. But before we talk about you, I have to tell you one thing about me, for it to make sense.

All I wanted from age 14 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. During my two years there, I learned a ton about how the major-label music industry works. Then at age 22, I quit my job, and became a full-time professional musician.

All-in-all, I was a full-time musician for twelve years in New York City and Boston. I've done over a thousand shows of all types. Produced, played, sessions, studios, stadiums, side-man, front-man, tours, TV, colleges, etc. I also ran a recording studio, booking agency, record label, and more.

Anything you can do to make (or lose) money as a musician, I’ve done it.

It was hard as hell, but went pretty well. I made enough money doing music that I bought a house in Woodstock. I was living the dream.

Then I started CD Baby. It was meant to be a hobby to help a few friends, but it soon became the largest seller of independent music online. Over 150,000 musicians sold their music directly through me. (I have another book about that, called “Anything You Want”, if you want the full story.)

So that’s when I started to see the music business from another side. Now I saw what it was like to be on the receiving end of your music. Now I was a major player inside the industry, friends with all those movers and shakers, hearing their perspective too.

Also, I got to see thousands of musicians succeed. So I paid attention to what works.

And that’s when I started writing the advice and observations in this book. Like a spy in the enemy’s camp, I was still an indie musician at heart, but giving you the report from the inside, telling my musician friends how to get in.

I've been sharing these tips for years. And for what it's worth, when I asked my friend Gary Jules how he got successful — (he had a #1 radio hit with “Mad World”) — he said, “Man, I just followed your advice, that’s all!” So apparently these tips work.

Now hold tight, and I’ll tell you absolutely everything I know.