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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).

Tuesday
Aug052014

Who Stole the Music Business? (And How You Can Get a Piece of the Loot)

Are you a musician? Are you a songwriter? Did you wake up one day not long ago and say “WTF? Who stole the music business?”

With CD sales about half what they were 15 years ago, and the “new media” radio stations like Pandora, Spotify, Grooveshark, et al, reportedly paying out pittances for even millions of airplays, you’re not alone.

And you’re right. Someone did steal the music business. But it may not be who you think and there just might be a remedy available to you.

Game Changer

Once the mp3 was invented, and the historical physical music product (rolls, records, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs) was transformed into a VIRTUAL product that could easily be captured (stolen) and shared with “peers,” the game was over for making money from music distribution. It has been downhill ever since.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Aug022014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool for Musicians

Thursday
Jul312014

How Art Became Advertising

In the early days of the Internet, an hourglass turned over. The grains of sand counted down the moments until the old creative industries inevitably collapsed. Everyone knew content companies like music and publishing were screwed; they had to reinvent themselves to take advantage of the Internet or they would rapidly become obsolete. As they began to fail, we blamed them for being too stupid, too slow to innovate.

The Internet helped to end the old music & publishing industries. But we also hoped it would bring newer, more profitable models to fill the chasm. Unfortunately, the last decade has been rough for creators trying to scrape together a living through writing, music, film, and art. Digital downloads, subscriptions, and advertising have emerged as the new models we were looking for, but they’ve done little to stem the bleeding from lost physical sales.

Advertising has had a curious effect on the Internet. It has helped foster a culture which expects art, software, and other non-physical goods to be provided for free. This hasn’t exactly been a blessing for industries like the recorded music business, which has suffered immensely over the past 15 years.

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Wednesday
Jul302014

What I Learned About Songwriting From Being Stuck in Traffic

Attention Songwriters! This is how to write songs that connect with your fans, so that they’ll want to play it again, and again, and again…

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul282014

Why Email Newsletters Are Still a Vital Marketing Tool for Musicians

This post originally appeared on the Bandzoogle blog. Dave Cool is the Director of Artist Relations for musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool

“Email newsletters, an old-school artifact of the web that was supposed to die along with dial-up connections, are not only still around, but very much on the march.”

That quote is from a recent New York Times article For Email Newsletters, a Death Greatly Exaggerated. We thought it was a good time to reiterate why we think email newsletters are still one of the most effective promotional tools for musicians today, which is also why Bandzoogle continues to offer a mailing list tool with all of our plans:

5 Solid Reasons to Use Email Newsletters

1) You own the list

For bands that have been around since MySpace was still a thing, remember all those fans you had? Well, MySpace owned their data, not you. If you didn’t get them signed-up to your mailing list, chances are you lost contact with many of them when you had to start over on Facebook.

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Saturday
Jul192014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 16-Point Band Website Assessment Checklist

Thursday
Jul172014

How To Reach The Best Music Business Contacts. Period.

Lately I have had the opportunity to talk to a lot of subscribers and it’s been a very cool process. So many of you have had some success in the music licensing world, or are getting approached by companies to sign agreements and have your music represented in third party catalogs. But the most common question I see is:

Who do I reach out to in the first place?

And while this answer depends on your main goals (do you want to pitch music yourself or work with a company? Are you looking for a major label deal or trying to get into a music library?) the process for finding your key contacts is the same.

Imagine that you no longer feel like you’re sitting and waiting for something to happen. You’ve invested time, energy, and probably a good amount of cash into your music but you can’t help but feel like you need to do something to get noticed.

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Wednesday
Jul162014

16-Point Band Website Assessment Checklist

This post originally appeared on the Bandzoogle blog. Dave Cool is the Director of Artist Relations for musician website & marketing platform Bandzoogle. Twitter: @Bandzoogle | @dave_cool

When reviewing websites for musicians, we generally break down the reviews into 3 categories:

  • Design
  • Organization & Navigation
  • Content


For each category, there are certain key things that we look out for. We’ve decided to share our checklist so bands can assess their own websites!

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul142014

What They Really Mean: The Musician's Guide to Industry Speak

You email your heart out to target industry people and you are probably used to not getting many responses. This is the life of a hustling artist. Don’t hate it – embrace it. I always tell my bands – if you feel like you’re doing it wrong, you’re not! You’re doingsomething proactive; therefore you’re doing it right.

First things first – don’t get discouraged by rejection (you can read my other blog here with more info on that). Sometimes you might not get any responses. But when when you do, they are seemingly cryptic. As a fellow industry person, trust me when I say we aren’t trying to make you rip your eyes out. We are talking in industry speak. We are moving quickly, managing a million things and sometimes the idiosyncrasies can get lost in translation. Sometime we are too short and a more elaborate answer could help, we know.

It takes that one email sent in the right moment to the right person to change everything. Hopefully this blog helps to navigate some of our answers and feedback.

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Saturday
Jul122014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Swimming Upstream

Wednesday
Jul092014

Swimming Upstream

Since releasing my first digital album back in 2002, technology has played a crucial role in the distribution of the music I create. At that time, CDs were still the way folks listened to music but sales were definitely well in decline. Napster had scared the crap out of the music industry and was shut down for good. Mp3s were all the rage and there were these things called iPods that were changing the way people consumed their favorite songs and albums.

Thanks to archive.org and Creative Commons, I was able to distribute my music free of charge to my listeners without fear of the music being used for commercial purposes. I’d release a concept album that could be downloaded and enjoyed around the world. At the time, this was a novel idea for an independent artist.

 

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Monday
Jul072014

6 Artists Who Are Amazing At Twitter – And What You Can Learn From Them

Let’s not beat around the bush: tweeting is easy. Even the most cursory glance at the Twitter feed of just about any celebrity will prove this point. For example, it probably didn’t take Ashanti very long to come up with her classic “Hey yalll!!! What do u think about face book??” So it’s true that tweeting is easy, but using Twitter as an effective tool to engage with your fan base and build your career - is hard. Lucky for you, there are a few musical artists who have Twitter figured out so why not learn from them and see what you can apply to your own future tweets.

 

You could choose to forgo basing your Twitter identity on your music at all. Seems counterintuitive but some people make it work for them, like Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. He tweets almost nothing about what he sings about, but tirelessly about political and social issues he cares about.

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Saturday
Jul052014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Tips From Jack Conte: 6 Keys to Success

Tuesday
Jul012014

Can LANDR Replace Your Mastering Engineer?

Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.

If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high.

Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist!

Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right?

To find out, I selected tracks from three recent mastering jobs, to compare my results with LANDR’s.

Click to read more ...

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