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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.

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Preparing for a Vocal Recording Session

Lets face it — preparation for anything tends to be kind of a bitch. Practicing all the parts of the music to a metronome, setting up microphone stands, setting levels/compressors/effects, laying carpets and other ghetto ways to deaden ugly frequencies. All in hopes that it will make your music sound sexier.

Last summer, while recording my band a few demo tracks, I seriously underestimated how long it would take to prep for each recording session. It was the sole reason our demo project turned into a rush job, and our recordings definitely suffered because of it!

Vocals, in particular, were a super-robo-bitch. It figures I’d find an article giving advice on how to prepare effectively NOW, and not 6 months ago. Anyway, this little ditty makes some excellent points that I’d like to share!

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Miles Davis Album Art - hot web site to check out

If you like looking at really well done sites that feature music or music related stuff, you have to see Tyler Thompson’s page featuring Miles Davis Album Art.  Great design work!

NEWTOYORK was created using SquareSpace.  Here’s the link to the hack that tells you how to recreate this page.


Fame at any price. Tell the best story and win the contest...

Over the last five years, I have heard some pretty funny and some absolutely amazing stories about what artists have done, and about what artists have been asked to do, to obtain the exposure they are seeking (i.e.: to get signed, to get on the radio, to get into a club, etc.).

Music Think Tank will give a month (at least) of free exposure (you take over the top banner of Music Think Tank occupied now by World Around Records) to the person that tells the best (funny, interesting, amazing, rude, etc.) story in the comments below.

The story has to be absolutely true, but you don’t have to mention names unless you want to!

Some of the regular MTT authors will judge the contest. Contest ends July 1st. If you win, you can promote ANYTHING that has to do with the music industry, as long as what you are promoting is tasteful and appropriate.


What artists should know about Stereofame

I’ve written “what artists should know” articles on, Jango, and thesixtyone, but after months of casual participation, I can’t seem to get anywhere on Stereofame. Rather than bore you with my less than noteworthy experience, I turned to the undisputed kings of the site, Temple Scene. Philippe Rose and Ric Levy make phenomenal electronica-tinged pop, but we all know it takes more than great music to get heard. Ric shares his experience and advice below.

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Show success before asking for help

From 1990 to 1992 I ran the New York archives at Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

(The music publishing business gives a cash advance to a songwriter in return for owning half the income generated from their songs. The publisher is betting that the songs will earn at least that much, whether recorded by a famous artist or the songwriter themselves.)

One day, as I walked by someone’s desk, I noticed she had accidently left out the balance sheet showing every songwriter signed to the New York office, their cash advance, and how much they had earned. I quickly took it to the Xerox machine, made a copy, and put it back.

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Please contribute to HypeBot's Success List...

Bruce Houghton just started an ongoing list of artists that are achieving real success outside of the major label system.  Contributing to this list helps everyone to understand what’s possible in this industry.

I want to add a few criteria (if I can?) for putting artists on this list..

- If previously signed to a major label (or an affiliate of a major) that previously obtained radio play for the artist, please disclose this.

- Success to me = each band member (or the artist) is consistently generating over $50,000 USD a year after all expenses are paid (including health insurance).  You can live on less, but if you are going to dedicate your youth to music, I would target $50K (at the very least) as a measure of financial ‘success’.

Please contribute to the list.


Shut up! Announcing your plans makes you less motivated to accomplish them.

Shouldn’t you announce your goals, so friends can support you?

Isn’t it good networking to tell people about your upcoming projects?

Doesn’t the “law of attraction” mean you should state your intention, and visualize the goal as already yours?


Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen.

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Basic Marketing Principles For Artists - Part 2: Increasing the Frequency of Purchases

The first piece in this series focused on increasing the amount of fans and how this is a necessary step towards success. Part 2 of the basic three principles is increasing the frequency of purchases.

The cornerstone of this is simple: You can not only sell music.
In order to get the frequency of purchases up you must provide something that actually gets your fans to buy more frequently.

If you are only selling one album or one set of MP3s, it’s pretty near impossible to get this step accomplished because your core fans will only have one thing to buy (therefore making frequency non-existent).

Billboard recently reported that over 2,500 record stores have closed in the US since 2005. This points out to one very clear conclusion: People are buying fewer CDs (of course we already knew this) but think about it –

Are you only selling music?

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The Hector Letter

Hector from The Hector Fund has a love/hate relationship with The Lefsetz Letter…so he manages this internal conflict by offering this, The Hector Letter. As Bob himself might say, “Because it’s RELEVANT”.

Today’s industry is a sham. Artists make music that nobody claims they want to hear, and the folks that people do listen to suck. Driving down Blue Hill Ave, I pop a tape into my deck and prepare to be amazed. My pal Kato over at Fenway sent it to me. He knows what’s up. He manages MGMT - one of the biggest acts in the world right now

“I was born in a barrel of butcher knives/Shot in the ass with two Colt .45s”

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What's your songwriting process?

If you’ve been writing songs for awhile, you’ve inevitably been asked, “Which do you start with - words or music?” It’s not always that simple!

I usually work from a title. When one hits me, I’ll rough out some stream-of-consciousness prose to make sense of it. It could end up meaning something completely different than what I thought it meant at the beginning. Next I’ll flesh out the song structure and melody. Then I’ll mold the useful bits of my garbled prose into a lyric. The production goodies come at the end - typically the hardest part for me. At that point, I just want it to be done. I can only spend so much time finessing automation envelopes.

How about you? Where do you draw your inspiration? What hits you first — a lyric, a melody, a groove, a bass riff? What’s your songwriting process?


How Do I Get Booking Agents To Take My Band Seriously?

The answer to this question is simple, straightforward, but not necessarily the easiest to stomach. So here goes….. Drum roll…..The best way to get booking agents to take your band seriously is…..

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