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How You Can Contribute To MusicThinkTank

Anyone can join the discussion and contribute relevant articles to Music Think Tank.  Begin by signing up and then logging in to publish your posts directly to MTT Open. Please make sure that your posts are in the proper format before posting (see previous posts) and that there are minimal errors such as grammar or spelling. Popular articles are occasionally moved to the front of the site. Contributors own and operate this blog (more info).

Wednesday
Jan072015

Artists Have No Time to Look at Selfie


“Selfie” was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary last year. I get that this is a curiosity bestowed by one’s vanity. Just how many times people can look at themselves, and what they are thinking post-look, is what I don’t get.
“Try requesting shots of you onstage from those in the room you’re playing. Use the best for promotional pics.”

With all there is to learn, how is it possible to spend time dwelling on this past - a picture of yourself? Note: I’m not saying “no” to all selfies, but suggesting we might shake off some of this past year’s infatuation with snapping, and sharing, one more arm’s-length photo of you staring into a cellphone. There are better things to do.

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Tuesday
Jan062015

Music: Art or Business? – 2 New-Old Considerations

few hundred years ago, the purpose of music was to fill the soul. Somewhere along the way music became a business, which is not bad on the surface, but when the stakeholders on both sides of the business feel as if their voices are not being heard, then something is awry. Fans complain about repetition and formulaic music, and artists complain about the need to conform their music as well as the ‘all or nothing’ business model of success; and the music business itself… they complain plenty as well. It’s the perfect triad of finger pointing that under serves everyone.

So why are the three stakeholders in music so often dissatisfied? Having come from outside of the industry and now jumping in with both feet, let me offer some perspective for what it is worth.

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Monday
Jan052015

9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Music Publicist

Getting publicity through local press interaction is a good start for getting your own publicity, but hiring a professional publicist can often be the next “step” to getting the coverage you’d like to see for your brand.

A professional publicist will help you see your story through a new lens and can help you pitch your story to local press on more occasions than just a new product launch or community outreach event. Publicists help you see the value you can provide to the local press, not just the benefits they can bring to you.

Before hiring a publicist to promote your brand, there are a few questions you need to ask to ensure that your money is being spent in the most efficient way. Remember that higher paid publicists don’t always produce better results.

 

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Wednesday
Dec242014

Funding The Beat: 4 Ideas To Help Music Producers Raise Money For Their Studio

Today is the most exciting time to be a music producer. Although controversy over poor compensation by streaming music services like Spotify, music piracy and the over-saturation of media are valid concerns within the industry, there are countless opportunities for aspiring producers and songwriters. Start turning what your parents, friends or significant others may call your “hopeless hobby” into a real career. Pursuing music production may feel like an abstract journey without any real path or structure, but you can create your own map with the right mentality and the right tools. Since your production studio in your main base, here are some ways to start funding your operation and investing in your craft.

Deprogam & Declutter

The unbelievers (non-supportive parents, friends or significant others) may be the biggest hurdle to making your dream a reality. The first and most essential thing you need to do is deprogram yourself from your internal dialogue concerning music and production. Beliefs such as, “Making it in music is like winning the lottery” or “The only way to work with big name artists is through their manager or publisher” are all meaningless formulaic dogma that only encourages over-thinking, self-doubt and indecision.

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Monday
Dec222014

What to Look for When Choosing a Digital Music Distributor

Selling your music on iTunes, Beatport, Amazon and the like USED to be something only a couple of companies could do. But today with the growth of the digital era, hundreds of digital distribution companies exist that will try to get your business. It’s important as an artist or record label that you make a smart, well-informed choice in entrusting your music to a reliable distributor that has the options and services that fit your current needs.

Here are some crucial questions that you can ask us and any digital distribution company out there when it comes to choosing the right company.

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Saturday
Dec202014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Is it ever OK to work for free in the music industry?

Wednesday
Dec172014

Are you out selling your music or are you selling out?

I participated in a twitter chat today. Normally, I love hanging with peers and discussing what’s new and what’s not! Today, though, was a little different. The subject was how to make money in music. It is a good and interesting subject but when someone suggested “To keep going where the paying music fans are. Write new songs in the style that fits their interests” I cringed a little. Was the suggestion that artists should write music for the fans? Now that might work for some and I have NOTHING against making money with music but I do believe that, for me at least, it should start with the music and not the other way around. I am the first to admit that I am completely unknown and generally write what I feel like, which is probably exactly why I remain obscure. (I will now insert a pause so all of you music marketing gurus can say “I told you so”). If that is indeed what you are thinking, I believe that you are missing the point. I LOVE having people and peers tell me that what I do sounds great and I LOVE getting that attention. BUT I don’t NEED that to write what I feel, play what I feel and record what I feel!

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Tuesday
Dec162014

Is it ever OK to work for free in the music industry?

Picture this: a busy Friday night in a trendy city venue. An up and coming band plays a beautifully-crafted and well-rehearsed set to a delighted audience, at least half of whom are the band’s loyal fans. The bar is busy and the night is energised. It’s a scene many of us are familiar with and is one of the great things about life in a city with a vibrant and exciting music scene. As the night draws to an end the various members of staff who have made the night happen congregate in the back office to collect their pay check. The frazzled bar staff collect their well-earned cash. Door staff are handed their envelopes with wry smiles and pats on the back, ‘Thanks guys that was a tough one tonight’. The school kid who collects glasses excitedly pockets his £20, and the cleaners, who have just arrived, take their wages in advance, their eyes diverted though the gap in the door at the alcohol stained apocalypse that awaits them. Now it’s the turn of the band. The guys and girls who rehearsed solidly in expensive studios for months; who promoted the show for weeks; who arrived at 3pm in a hired van after a 2 hour journey; who lugged all of their gear in the pouring rain to the sound check; the band that entertained the revellers and made the night awesome; in what giant envelope will the 5 of them receive their remuneration they quietly wonder? ‘AMAZING set guys, you were great… er we didn’t take as much as expected at the bar though, so obviously we won’t be able to pay you. Really sorry. I think we have a few bottles of beer left over that you can take’.  The band saunter outside into the first rays of sunrise, 2 warm beers between them, full of defiance and resignation.

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Monday
Dec152014

5 Quick Email Etiquette Tips for Bands (and Everyone Else)

This article originally appeared on the Sonicbids blog.

While the internet and new technologies propel the world into the future, I’m amazed by how many of us have the online etiquette of a caveperson. Seriously, I just got an anonymous link posted on my social networks with the blurb, “Yo, check my song out.” Two seconds later, I got a friend request from someone with no profile picture other than that creepy default blank head. While the following tips aren’t groundbreaking, they serve as reminders that just might help us all to be a little more mindful the next time we get online. And like your mom says, “Better behavior gets better results” – in this case, meaning more loyal fans, better gigs, and more placements. Enjoy!

 

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Saturday
Dec132014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Do You Have the Risk Tolerance for a Music PR Campaign?

Thursday
Dec112014

Do You Have the Risk Tolerance for a Music PR Campaign?

by Janelle Rogers, Green Light Go Publicity

Risk averse beware if you are entering into a music pr campaign, because it is one risky proposition.

If you are risk averse and have any trepidation, I’m going to tell you that you shouldn’t hire a publicist. Yep, I own a music pr firm and I’m going to tell you not to hire us.

Your heart will break. You’ll go through every emotion under the sun from elation when that influential media outlet says your record is the bomb to utter despair when not a press coverage can be found. You’ll point fingers, blame, question and self-doubt. You’ll stay awake with anxiety wondering why you spent all your money on publicity that isn’t moving fast enough and then ask the publicist daily “Have you heard from…?” in the hopes asking the question will allow it to materialize at the speed of light.

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Wednesday
Dec102014

How to Craft Your Band's Pitch for 5 Types of Media Outlets

This post originally appeared on the Sonicbids blog.

The media has come calling, and you can’t wait to tell your band’s story over, and over, and over again. Who cares if you sound like a broken record – any press is good press, right? Wrong. It’s true, you could have much worse problems. But think of it this way: If you saw an article about your favorite band (or actor, or comedian, or whatever), picked it up and dove in only to find the same anecdotes you’ve read a dozen times, you’d be disappointed and might even toss aside the whole story. Look at each media opportunity as a way to attract new listeners and draw your existing fanbase even closer. Here’s how to tailor your band’s story to maximize your chances of getting picked up by five types of media outlets.

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Tuesday
Dec092014

What is My Image?

To have a music career means more than just making good music. Fans want more than just songs. They want a figure that is the human representation of the songs that mean so much to them. You need to be the whole package to attract listeners, who want to undergo a genuine, authentic, and all-encompassing music experience.

An artist’s image is comprised of their public behavior, performance style, musical style, social media activity, dressing style, public statements, etc. As an entertainer, you are living under constant inspection from fans and potential fans. Thus, in the public sphere, it is important that you live under the guidelines you dictate as integral parts of your image. That’s why it’s necessary for your image to accurately represent yourself, or at least a prominent facet of yourself. To be genuine and comfortable in your artist persona, you must walk the fine line of being yourself and being a consistent and accurate representation of the music you create.

 

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Monday
Dec082014

How Most Successful Indie Music Artists I Know Make a Living

I know a lot of independent music artists – rappers, singers, people in bands, DJs. I know artists that do nothing but music for a living. I know artists with day jobs and side jobs. I know artists that make a really good living. I know artists that make a decent middle-class to lower-middle-class living. I know artists that are basically homeless. I know a lot of artists all over the spectrum.
It’s 2014. The ultimate goal of most indie artists I know isn’t necessarily a major record deal. The goal of most indie artists I know is making a decent middle-class living doing what they love – making music. If they have a day job, it’s only because they have to. This doesn’t have to be their end goal. They can still aim to be rich and famous, either independently or on a major label. But if they were independent or on an indie label and making a comfortable middle-class living they’d probably be happy, even if they’re still reaching for the stars.

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