With the increase in self-promotion and image awareness stemming from new bands utilising networking sites like MySpace to gain a sturdy fanbase, the importance of being savvy to the music industry and actively research ways to further your band, rather than rely on chance encounters with A&R is ever increasing. With a view to this, 'The Unsigned Guide' aims to be the essential tool for new acts, with an 800 page directory of all the contacts you need to get your band some attention, and set yourselves up in the most positive light for professional dealings with the business side of the music industry.

From maps of hierarchy and interaction within record labels, to road maps for planning tours, 'The Unsigned Guide' aims to inform and educate bands, giving them the power to approach the industry - a tougher nut to crack than fans - with their heads firmly screwed on.

The colour coded and simply presented sections on record companies, publishing companies, music services/retail, live performance, management companies, industry organisations, media, and education and training, are all very accessible and preceded by an explanatory foreword which sets out clearly how these relate to unsigned bands and how to best go about dealing with them, for example there are practical tips on demo submission to record labels and what to look for in a contract.

There's also advice from relevant industry bodies such as Double Dragon Music, Sunday Best, TRC Management and an interesting report from the IFPI (International Federation on Phonographic Industry) who tackle illegal downloading and also have fascinating figures on the way that downloading has overtaken traditional CD sales in the past year.

The lists of contacts are not completely exhaustive, but are clear and contain a brief summary of the company and contact details, including the name of the relevant person to contact, which saves the initial embarrassment of cold calling a company. MySpace pages are also included in this edition, which is a must in an age where networking online is becoming easier and easier.

If you're serious about making a go of your band or act, why wouldn't you invest in your future by making use of a guide that bends over backwards to explain the ins and outs of the industry?