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Investing in the music industry...

If you are interested in reading my thoughts about the pitfalls and opportunities pertaining to investing (time or money) into anything connected to the music industry, Hypebot has an exclusive three-page PDF that I wrote over the weekend. Click here to find the post on Hypebot.

Here’s the summary take-away thought: Even today, just about every investment (from small to large) connected to the music industry runs into the major label wall. There is barely a single company that has built a substantial ($20M+ annual) and sustainable business that exists completely outside of the influence of the major label ecosystem.

I believe it’s possible (read the paper). However as of this minute, I don’t see any company that is seriously challenging the establishment. What are your thoughts? (Krzysztof - I already know yours…) Note - the paper is not a book or an instruction manual; it’s simply fodder for debate.


Songwriting Tips: Create Psychological Distance

When approaching a song, sometimes it can be difficult to confront some of the emotional issue you are trying to write about. A new study posted in Scientific American found that creativity is boosted in situations where there is “psychological distance”. What does this mean for your songwriting? Try and write a song from someone else’s perspective so you can really dig in to the character without focusing on yourself and how people will perceive you. You’re likely to find that when telling someone else’s story, you’re really telling a more intimate story about yourself.

Click to read more ...


Play with your instruments and toys, learn them inside and out

Many artists strive to get the best gear, the top equipment and the most stuff that they can possibly cram onto stage or into the studio. Whether it’s that drum or this toy or that additional instrument, many musicians today have too much stuff, and most of them don’t even know how to use half of what they have. So play with your toys. Mess around with buttons, sounds, tunings, setups, etc. You may know the basic sounds, but what else can you do to find out even more about your gear?

In some ways, when you purchase a certain effect or instrument, it’s like you have purchased a kitchen’s worth of supplies and food. When you only use a certain configuration or a certain set up, it’s the same as only using one kind of food from that kitchen. I have a favorite food, but I also like variety and I like to know what all my options are before I prepare or order what I want to eat. Why not apply the same ideas to your gear?

Click to read more ...


3 Ways To Make Money Now - Playing Covers, Playing Sessions & Playing Live

Rick Goetz, is a kindred spirit who has just launched a brand new consulting firm for artists called Rick, like me, has spent his entire adult life in the music business and he is DEAD ON when he says: It is essential that you spend your time building your own business rather than asking for help from corporations based on your talent alone.

But how do you build your own business and what specifically works? I got Rick to share a few of his best peals of wisdom I asked him to tell me three things that actually can help an artist begin to build revenue: Playing covers, being a hired gun and working harder on your live show and live show promotion.

Selling $.99 singles isn’t the answer.

Click to read more ...


Picking a studio, engineer or producer - discount the silly list of names.

How many of you have read a resume or bio from someone in the music industry such as a studio, an engineer or a producer and run into a strange list of names. You know, “I work with This Person who worked with That Person.” While this impresses a few fans and friends, it actually makes you look worse to the industry. The name dropping doesn’t fool anyone….anyone = the people who matter. Yeah, I’m talking to you, studios and producers. Instead of just appearing strong, why not funnel that energy into actually being strong?

Click to read more ...


A Shilling for Your Thoughts

Shill - somebody who promotes somebody else or makes a sales pitch for something for reasons of self-interest

An accomplice who pretends to be an interested customer or gambler in order to lure others into buying or gambling

I’ve been thinking lately…it’s about this problem I have…it’s one of those “How do I tell a friend that they…” problems.

They and I are pretty active on social networks…and we are all involved in today’s music world. We champion new technology, self determination for artists and creators and giving fans and communities value and memorable experiences.

We know that the day where people could be influenced by paid advertising has given way to peer recommendation and the ability for each of us to discern when we were being communicated with rather than spoken to. Bluntly…advertising is on the ropes, because hardly anyone trusts paid messages anymore.

And herein lies my problem.

Click to read more ...


Spotify isn't available in the states yet. Can someone please tell me what's so earth-shattering about it?

I have never seen something that you can’t get (in the states) that has received so much positive attention. What gives? Is Spotify that great? Does Spotify matter to artists? Is it game-changing for the industry? Is there room for five more companies just like it? How are new songs discovered on Spotify?

Thanks in advance for the comments.



the economics of American Idol - based upon your experiences, does the music industry operate like this or not?

Loren Weisman just published a detailed post on MTT Open that dissects the American Idol dream and the underlying American Idol money machine. Click here to read the entire post.  Thanks Loren for another thoughtful post.  Here’s a quote:

Click to read more ...


Your digital music industry future…

Perhaps with some tweaking, here’s what current wisdom tells you:

  1. Make music.
  2. Give your music away; it’s your best advertisement.
  3. Organize into a business entity.
  4. Go on tour.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Sell stuff and a bit of music when you can.
  7. Go on tour again.
  8. Sell even more stuff.
  9. And when you stop touring, your revenue stream will slow to a crawl.

As new interactive digital products enter the marketplace (and they are), your digital future will look something like this:

Click to read more ...


Template for Writing a Music Business Plan

A few weeks ago I posted a blog on MTT Open on “How To Write a Music Business Plan”. In the comments section of that post, one of the readers suggested that I provide a template or example of a plan.

You can now download the free PDF, “Template for Writing a Music Business Plan”, here.

Click to read more ...


announcing MTT Stats

This past weekend, Music Think Tank put up a new journal titled MTT Stats.

On MTT Stats, you will find music industry-related statistics and trends, and other notable data points that Music Think Tank readers may be interested in.

There are currently three years (2006 to 2009) of statistics, trends and notable data items within this multi-page journal.

Like MTT Open and MTT Radio, MTT Stats can be updated by any registered MTT user. 

Music Think Tank is looking for related information from around the world.  Please contribute items that you think readers should know about.

Check out MTT Stats.



How can an artist be original?

Simple answer? You can’t. So don’t bother trying. Ok I’m being harsh… But you can aim for other things that are more important than ‘originality’. And in doing so, maybe hit on something that could be considered ‘original’.

In a recent interview, rock legend Roger Daltrey had a few things to say that shed some light on the issue as it relates to artists and performers today.

Click to read more ...


MTT Radio Update

Last week, we launched an experimental page called MTT Radio.  Here’s an update:

  • Over 1,000 unique visitors this week.
  • and some unsolicited news coverage on CNET.
  • Some great songs have been uploaded!

Here are a few requests for contributors:

  • Please, please make sure you own and legally control any song you upload.
  • Please follow all the instructions carefully.
  • Please note the difference between categories (significant genres) and tags (relevant keywords).
  • Please add a Title to every post (Song Name by Artist Name).  We will be showing this title soon.

Once again, some of the songs are excellent.  It would be great to see some comments under some of the songs.  It takes 30 seconds to register to leave a comment under a song.