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Invest in live show gear or invest in making a better record - which is more important?

An artist writes into Music Think Tank today to ask the question below - can someone please advise this person?

I find myself in a predicament that I am sure plenty of other aspiring artists have as well. Is it more important to invest in a better live show in regards to equipment and sound, or should I consider the importance of having an actual recorded product to spread around?

My confusion is rooted into the conflict between the relationship of the two. If I have a better live show in regards to presence and sound, people are going to be looking for a physical product. However, with a relatively well recorded EP, the same people are going to wonder why our live sound is lacking.

Is it better to focus on one over the other, or is an average-above average result in both more desirable?


Are you content with your content?

Your website, your Facebook page, your music sample sites and anywhere else fans can find you should have all your key marketing and promotional content, but when does it get old and is it time to update? Remember, while you are chasing after the new fans, it is important to maintain the established ones as well. You have to think about what is going to draw someone to your website and why they are going to stay interested in going back to visit again and again. Unfortunately, way too many artists have very sharp websites that are only updated with gigs or with updates that are quick, pointless blurbs that are not all newsworthy. You have to separate from the pack.

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"Does all this shit have anything to do with the music business?"

My phone number is on my contact page on Unsprung Media. At least once a week a random artist calls me direct to chat about business.

Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? That’s me. I have the same conversation every week. No worries, I seriously enjoy these chats.

Bewildered and in disbelief, every artist eventually asks the same question: “Does is all this shit have anything to do with the music business?” Note: it’s not ‘stuff’, it’s ‘shit’ every time and without fail.

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Beware of Fringe Fans: Appreciate Them, But Don't Let Them Distract You

Imagine this …

You get an email from someone you’ve never heard from before. He writes:

“I’ve sampled a bunch of your free downloads online, and honestly, I haven’t heard one song I really like. So I’m not sure I want to spring for your new album. Tell you what … give me the entire album for free, and if I find a few songs I enjoy, I’ll pay you for it. Deal?”

How would you respond? (Once you stopped cursing, that is.)

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Jul162009 is one of my favorite RSS feeds.  I have no idea who runs this site, but it’s worth subscribing to in you are into the music industry.  thanks for the flow of interesting images and article links…



Zimbabwe Legit featured on Music Think Tank

Thanks to everyone that contributed a story last month. Check out Zimbabwe Legit at the top of Music Think Tank. The Zimbabwe Legit story is below.

I grew up listening to hip hop in Zimbabwe, Africa in the mid to late 80s. We didn’t have direct access to the music in stores or to videos or magazines but occassionally things would trickle in through friends and relatives overseas. Through those channels, we got our hands on a copy of a fledgling hip hop publication called the Source. A guy named Dave “Funken-Klein” Klein (RIP) wrote a montly column called Gangsta Limpin’ that chronicled various hip hop news and info. At the end of the article he’s ask readers to send in news and included his mailing address.

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Top 5 Ways to Track Your Social Media ROI

With the influx of so many social networking sites, and ways to start conversations online it’s sometimes hard to understand what it all means and how it’s helping your music career.

This week I’ve come across some great sites that break down your Social Media Buzz. These sites can give you actual hard numbers/metrics and reports on how you are getting a return in your investment of time online.

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The Song Adoption Formula

If you want to be semi-scientific about music promotion, here’s a song adoption formula to consider: Listeners * Optimal Frequency Rate * Social Situation Rate * Conversion Rate = Song Fans.

Here’s the short form: (L * OFR * SSR * CR = SONG FANs)
Here’s how the formula breaks down:

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"Listen to my music, and let me know what I should do"

I answered 847 emails in 12 hours today. That’s an average of 51 seconds each. But the single most common request I got was, “Take a listen to my music and let me know what I should do.”

Those emails took the longest. I never know what to do with that request.

Most of the time, the music is good. Not the best or worst thing you’ve ever heard, but good.

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Remember the mullet? I guess the trends are accurate?

In March, I wrote a post titled “Remember the mullet? File sharers are next.” Since that time, several studies have been posted that more or less demonstrate that the Google Trends I cited can be used as a forward-looking guidepost. 

Google Trends for the music industry are not perfect indicators, but they are worth examining occasionally.

Here are two links to information on the recent surveys on file sharing.

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Look, Lurk, Leap! A Musicians Guide For Finding Managing and Reading Music Blogs

I have been working on the second edition of Music Success in Nine Weeks which will be released in a few weeks and I recently revisited the section about blogs.

I believe that getting reviewed on blogs is critical for every musician because it helps create a bigger footprint for you online, builds awarness and allows for a two- way conversation around your music

Here is a section from the book. To understand blogs I highly suggest you watch these two wonderful videos from the amazing Commoncraft website that explain all you need to know to get started.

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In New York City last week, across from the library, there was a man pacing on the sidewalk, barking something hysterically at the top of his lungs. Everyone was avoiding him, even crossing the street to avoid getting anywhere near him.

It wasn’t until I listened closer I realized he was working for a local business, yelling, “20% coupons for window shades! 20% off! Window shades! Get your coupons here!”

Painfully ineffective.

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Are fans telling friends? If not, improve, don't promote.

The most powerful philosophy of marketing I’ve heard is from my hero Seth Godin, and I think it can be summed up as this:

You’ll know when you’re on to something special, because people will love it so much they’ll tell everyone.

If people aren’t telling their friends about it yet, don’t waste time marketing it. Instead, keep improving until they are.

How can you apply this to your business, music, product, or service?

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Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 3: Increase the Amount of Money That You Charge

This is the final segment of a 3 part series that was inspired by a mastermind program I am participating in with Ali Brown who is my mentor in the world of online marketing.

Here’s the recap:
There are three ways to increase your income:

1. Increase your number of clients (fans).

2. Increase the frequency of purchase, how often your fans buy from you. (and you’d better have more than just music to sell).

3. Increase the amount of money that you charge.

Click to read more ...