Give it a listen: Amazing audiobooks about music

Want to learn more about music, musicians, and the business? Check these audiobooks out!

By Sierra Tavasolian

 

If you’re finally getting bored watching the same three movies and listening to the same three albums (we know how comforting that 2005 version of “Pride and Prejudice” is–we’re not judging), we’re here to help if you’re looking for some variety and some new ways to fill your time and fill your mind. So while you go around your place doing that forgotten housework, or that deep clean you’ve been pushing off, here’s a list of audiobooks to get you through your days and enrich your mind with new perspectives about the music we know, should know, or want to learn.of us.

“Prince and the Purple Rain Era Studio Sessions: 1983 and 1984” by Duane Tudahl

Tudahl gives a fly-on-the-wall look at the late-great Prince. This audiobook is full of rich details, encyclopedic information, and a fantastic chronicle of Prince’s creative brilliance and process during ‘83 and ‘84. Tudahl weaves an intimate saga of an eccentric genius and the people and events who helped shape the groundbreaking music he created.

“One Direction: Who We Are: Our Official Autobiography” by One Direction

Boy bands have been a staple in music for decades, from the Beach Boys to the Beatles, evolving into Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, to their 2000s renaissance with One Direction. In this official autobiography, the boys in the band tell the story of their lives, from their meeting to the “X-Factor,” and beyond. Published before they disbanded, this audiobook is a must-listen for all the superfans out there.

“Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe” by Gayle Wald

If you’re looking for a more classic musical act, this is a must-hear. Published last year, this book tells the untold story of Rosetta Tharpe, America’s first rock guitar diva and the woman who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Eric Clapton and Etta James. If you don’t know about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, prepare to have your mind blown by Wald’s eye-opening biography.

“Up Jumped the Devil: The Real Life of Robert Johnson” by Bruce Conforth and Gayle Dean Wardlow

The life of Robert Johnson is shrouded in mystery, superstition, and more mystery. Have you ever heard the myth of the blues musician who sold his soul at the crossroads? Then you’ve heard the story of Johnson. This audiobook takes a look at the full story of the man whose talent was so great it was considered supernatural. The product of over 50 years of research, this book looks at his life through records and stories of those who knew him, astonishing not only casual readers, but fans who thought they knew him.

“How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician” by Ari Herstand

If you’re looking for something less musician based, Herstand’s book might be more up your alley. This audiobook is a must-read for aspiring musicians looking at how life in the business really works. Herstand gives readers (or listeners!) advice on how music is a DIY business, as well as the practical tools needed to build a lifelong career. While your TikTok songwriting might be a start, this book will help.

“Basic Music Theory, 4th Edition: How to Read, Write, and Understand Written Music  Audible Audiobook – Unabridged” by Jonathan Harnum

And last but certainly not least: a pick for the music nerds out there! If you’re looking to learn more about Music with a capital M, this is where you should start. This book is full of different aspects of music basics: music theory, reading music, and even some music pedagogy. If you’re looking to start playing an instrument or even composing some music in your free time, make sure you learn the basics with Harnum’s foundational text!