Derek Sivers

Who am I?


This book is about you and your music. But I use some of my stories as examples. So here’s my context, for you to understand.

All I wanted since I was 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 traditional music industry works. I’ll tell you about that soon.

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 ran a recording studio, booking agency, record label, and more.

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

After seven years of being a full-time musician, I started CD Baby. It was meant to be a hobby, 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”.)

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

I saw thousands of musicians succeed. So I paid attention to how they did it. I’ll tell you about that soon, too.

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

When I asked my friend Gary Jules how he got successful — (he had a #1 hit with the song “Mad World”) — he said, “Man, I just followed your advice, that’s all!” So apparently this advice works.

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