Literature on music varies a lot in its approach to what we consider music to be. Music can be seen (or heard) in so many different ways that it is rare to find it in a literary form that appeals to a wide audience while still encompassing most of the spectrum. How Music Works, a non-fiction autobiographical theory of music by David Byrne, is one of those rare cases.
In his book, Byrne discusses music from several perspectives, drifting between music history, sonic anthropology, mild biographical side-stories, broader pop music theory, and experience-driven financial and artistic advice. Working in a non-linear fashion, he draws a lot on stories from his own experience (e.g. as guitar player for the Talking Heads) .
"I’ve made money, and I’ve been ripped off... I’ve had creative freedom, and I’ve been pressured to make hits. I have dealt with diva behaviour from crazy musicians, and I have seen genius records by wonderful artists get completely ignored... If you think success in the world of music is determined by the number of records sold, or the size of your house or bank account, then I’m not the expert for you. I am more interested in how people can manage a whole lifetime in music."
How music works gives a great new insight on music and the music industry by a hardened veteran. An appealing read for any musician, businessman, or fan looking for more knowledge on music as a whole.