WHatcha GOnna Play: The Book

Think it would be great to have a whole book full of set lists and the stories behind them? Yeah, us too!

copyright© mariannemeyer, 2011



is an interview and concert photography book exploring the subject of set lists - the song lists that eager fans grab from the stage at live performances.

Author/photographer Marianne Meyer has gathered material through personal contacts with musicians and publicists with whom she has worked over many years as a writer on the music scene. The collection includes major classic rockers – Tom Petty, The Pretenders, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthews Band, among them – and many hot alternative acts like Vampire Weekend, Motion City Soundtrack, Magnetic Fields, The Decemberists, etc. These set lists - hand-written on jagged paper, or printed with detailed formality - are combined with original concert photography, musician interviews and backstage stories to create an insider’s view of life on the road.


Set lists are a one-of-a-kind concert memento that you can’t buy, so the chance to see scores of them in one place is a rare opportunity that will delight music fans.  Since so many consumers get their music in digital form, with no liner notes or photos, merchandising is a major revenue stream in the music industry, from T-shirts and caps to key chains and buttons. This book allows fans to connect with their favorite musicians in another tangible and more intimate way.

Beyond hardcore fans of any particular acts whose set lists appear in the book, the concert shots and interviews will appeal to general interest music fans, too. The broad range of artists covered makes the book an ideal gift for anyone who listens to contemporary music, while the backstage stories offer a fascinating peek into what it takes to mount a tour, whether the act is a major label star or an up-and-coming indie band.


There’s a huge collector’s market for music items and set lists are a new favorite  - put “set list” into an ebay search and you’ll see many for sale, some at high prices. Given the growth of rock memorabilia at even the highest, Sotheby’s-type levels, set lists are a great way for new collectors to get in on the action. “Whatcha Gonna Play?” will appeal to both die-hard collectors and casual listeners who’ll enjoy reliving a concert experience with a favorite band.


This project plays naturally to web marketing and new social media sites. The web site www.whatchagonnaplay.com is expanding even as the book is being developed to bring the collection - lists, original photos and interviews – online, and to display new, multi-media content, like band videos, that extrapolate from the print concept. The site also solicits comments and the contribution of more set lists from fans, generating new material, promoting the project, and compiling email lists of people who could be interested in buying the book when it’s published.


“Whatcha Gonna Play?”  could easily branch out into a franchise. This collection is set in the alternative rock/indie world, but there could easily be one on country music set lists, one on metal and hard rock, etc.  The material is also adaptable to other uses –  a “Whatcha Gonna Play?” wall calendar that uses the concert photography and set lists to illustrate the months of the year, or a day-to-day model that offers lists, photos and comments from the musicians.


Marianne Meyer is a veteran journalist and scriptwriter whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other print and online publications. Check out her personal web site and music blog, www.ClosePersonalFriend.com. An Emmy-award winning  writer, Marianne is personable, articulate and known to be pretty funny, too.  She’s on Facebook and Twitter and willing to hit the road and work the phones to talk about her work.

If you like what you see, and want to help make the book happen, contact:


Thanks - see you at the show!



The Set List Book