‘You don’t have to be Bono or Bruce’: the business behind the current glut of music books

     Memoirs, they wrote … clockwise from left, Miki Berenyi, J Dilla, Viv Albertine and Jarvis Cocker

Memoirs, they wrote … clockwise from left, Miki Berenyi, J Dilla, Viv Albertine and Jarvis Cocker Composite: Guardian Design; Gie Knaeps; Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images; Mass Appeal; Sarah Lee/The Guardian

In 2022, you can’t budge for new music memoirs and scene histories. But who’s reading them, where’s the quality control – and the diversity?

If it feels as though you can’t move for new music, then books about pop aren’t far behind. This Christmas alone has brought weighty tomes by Bono and Bob DylanNick Cave’s conversations with the writer Sean O’Hagan, Bez’s autobiography, and former GQ editor Dylan Jones’s book about 1995. In recent years in the UK, two new imprints have launched – Nine Eight and White Rabbit – both running music-only lists within larger publishing groups. Omnibus is still soldiering on after 50 years, and the big non-specialist publishers have music lists, too. Music writing has its own literary festivals – Louder Than Words in Manchester, Aye Write! in Glasgow – and its own prizes.

There are probably a few reasons for this glut, suggests Pete Selby, founder of Nine Eight. “A lot of it is generational,” he says – hence new books by 90s acts such as Jarvis Cocker, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and the Charlatans’ Tim Burgess “whose thoughts are starting to turn to getting it all down on paper”. Plus, “the calibre of music publishing has never been stronger than over the past 10 years – the bar is really high, which acts as its own self-fulfilling virtuous circle”.

Check Also

Keith Reid, lyricist for Procol Harum, dies aged 76

Post Views: 7 Keith Reid, lyricist for Procol Harum, dies aged 76 Keith Reid pictured …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *