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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?

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.


The 1-2-3 Music Store

1-2-3 Music Store

I get at least one phone call per week asking about my experience with the 1-2-3 Music Store, a server script I’ve been running for three years. It allows me to sell mp3 downloads direct from my web site, with no middleman. Put simply, the 1-2-3 Music Store is the ugly stepsister of the iTunes Store. She may not be beautiful, but she’s all mine.

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A Lesson In Building Community (Or A Love Letter To Rob Gordon & What Are Records?)

I am in Colorado this week taking some time to reflect on the whirlwind that has been my life for the past two years. I lived here for seven years and founded Ariel Publicity here. And lost of great memories have come flooding back.

I have been spending time with Rob Gordon – my first boss at the only record label I ever worked at What Are Records? What I learned at What Are Records? has set me up for a successful career in the new music business and that is because of Rob’s genius around building community.

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“Where have all the musical geniuses gone?”

In his recent blog post, Eric Beall (Berklee Music) quotes Jason Flom (Lava Records) as follows:

“Where have all the musical geniuses gone? Why has this generation not produced even one musical genius on the level of Dylan or Sly Stone, or John Lennon, or Prince?”

Within his post, Beall offers a sensible answer to Flom’s question. However, I want to try out an alternative explanation. Here it is:

The ‘geniuses’ still exist, but ‘genius’ can no longer be manufactured.

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Twitter 101 For Musicians - Free PDF

. I’ll keep this short. Twitter has a really good how to guide for business but the exact same rules apply to artists and musicians. Go here to download it


"True artists couldn't give a damn if no one hears their music..."

I just dug the following quote out of my last post

“True artists couldn’t give a damn if no one hears their music. The shit (money) just got in the way and marginalized the scholarly pursuit of creating art for art’s sake…”

Do you agree, or are you on the other end of the spectrum?

I say - whatever rows your boat..  Create for an audience of one, or create for an audience of millions.  Make it for money, or make it for art’s sake….