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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
Apr022014

Crowdfunding the Right Way

In the past, money was a huge barrier for musicians, and one of the main reasons many were forced to tie themselves to a record label. Today, many musicians are finding their own ways to creatively fund their albums and tours, with the most popular option being crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a huge undertaking, but, if done correctly, you can come out of it with a whole lot more than just money. It also presents dedicated and creative artists a chance to connect with their fans in a whole new way.

Learn how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign with these 5 tips

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr012014

Alternative Money Making Approaches for Musicians Failing to Sell Records

The music industry has undergone a sea of changes since the days of vinyl records and cassette tapes. While the current mobile downloading setup offers plenty of convenience for the average consumer, it can spell financial ruin for musicians and producers dependent on record sales. After all, illegal downloads still eat into profits, with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reporting that piracy caused music industry profits to fall from $15 billion in 1999 to just $8.5 billion in 2009. In order to survive in this environment of piracy, musicians must think outside of the box, taking advantage of social media, mobile technology, merchandising and, of course, live performances. Together, these elements can spell great profit, even in an age of iTunes and illegal downloading.

Offer VIP Packages for Concerts

Critics of social media may complain of young people wasting their lives behind computer screens, but the truth is, music fans still love attending live shows. You still can profit handsomely off of traditional concerts, but if you're looking to amp up returns on your tour, consider throwing in VIP concert options. These could include special meet-and-greets before or after shows, or even private performances for your most dedicated fans. Many will gladly pay two, three, even four times the going rate for your concert if it means getting up close and personal.

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Saturday
Mar292014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Lessons from Macklemore

Wednesday
Mar262014

Is Music Your Day Job or Your Nighttime Dream?

When I think about the professional musician, I like to break down opportunity into day job and night job.  The night job is the dream – rock and roll stardom, touring, selling records, award shows, bodyguards, fawning fans, public meltdowns, etc. 

Being more pragmatic as a person – I have spent much of my career on the day job part of this industry (and that’s not just you giving guitar lessons).

Music Publishing to me is the day job part of the business – regardless of your status as a performer.  Even the big folks love the mailbox money of publishing.  As an independent artist, I think it’s even more important.

Publishing, with all it’s complexities, still has the opportunity to create income streams for artists at all levels – especially if you are up for creating alternate types of content.  All music shown on television and the web around the world earns public performance income.

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Monday
Mar242014

Lessons from Macklemore

It’s the success every musician dreams about - making it big on your own. But you know what? It’s no fairy tale. The career of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis has been a long, hard road - one that a lot of people would have turned away from a long time ago.

 

The duo brought home four Grammy’s in January and, although Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) is helping them with distribution, they’re still not signed to a major record label. So how did they get here?

 

Here are some key lessons to learn that helped Macklemore and Ryan Lewis find their success.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar222014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How to Use House Concerts to Create Career-Sustaining Superfans

Monday
Mar172014

Social Media Secrets for Indie Musicians 

Today, social media is the cornerstone of your music career. It’s what lets you stay in touch with your fans and easily notify them with exciting news. With all the social media guides out there, you’d think no one remembers one of the key behavioral aspects to being human – socializing. I know, it’s hard to find a balance between social and promotional – afterall, you still need to sell your show or record. Here’s 5 secrets to help you find that social media balance.

1. The 80/20 rule.

So exactly what is the balance between personal/interesting content and marketing content? I don’t like putting a formula to something as spontaneous socializing, but a general rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be personal, funny, interesting, and entertaining, and 20% should be reserved for marketing pushes. Go beyond 20% and people start ignoring you. Keep it social. Keep it fun.

2. Drive interest.

Just like the flow between social media and the offline experience, you should also create a flow between your social media channels and your website. Your website is the hub of your career online. It’s where you make sales and have more detailed information for fans. Link creatively to your website, so that you give people fun and interesting reasons to visit.

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Monday
Mar172014

How to Use House Concerts to Create Career-Sustaining Superfans

There’s a buzzword I see popping up a lot lately in articles about how to become a career artist: superfans. The idea is that if you have a subset of your fans who will support everything you do – buy every album you release, go to all your shows, buy all your merch – then you can build a sustainable career with the support of these hyper-dedicated fans.

As someone who has made a career as an independent artist, I have found no better way to build a collection of superfans than partnering with existing fans to put on deeply connective concerts in their homes. The remarkable success I’ve experienced with this model has led me to abandon traditional club touring, instead performing almost 150 house concerts in the last 2 years.

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Saturday
Mar152014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 15 Very Quick and Simple Things You Can Do to Help Your Music Career

Thursday
Mar132014

15 Very Quick and Simple Things You Can Do to Help Your Music Career

Quick. Simple. And they make a huge impact. What’s not to love? 

#1 Remember Peoples’ Names 

Ya ya ya, you meet a lot of people… we get it. If you want people to remember your name, you better sure as hell try to remember theirs. Find a good system. Make notes. Facebook stalk. Do something.

#2 Send Thank You Notes 

A small and simple gesture that goes a long way to ensure you leave a great impression.

#3 Database Relentlessly

Keep organized and detailed databases of your mailing list, the local media, your supporters, promoters, and everything else. This will save you tons of time and help you manage relationships with ease. There’s a kazillion great databasing tools out there and a simple spreadsheet does the trick as well.

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Monday
Mar102014

Cyber PR’s 2014 SXSW Survival Guide

Having attended every SXSW for the last 17 years, I’ve seen it all. The following are some tips on how to successfully navigate your through the most overwhelming music conference of them all.

Envision What You Want Before You Arrive

My first bit of advice: Arrive prepared. Know who will be attending and create some goals before you get there.

Attend at Least One Music Conference Each Year

I believe all serious musicians should make it part of their job to attend at least one conference a year.  They can be expensive to get to, but think abut it this way: music lessons and equipment were at one time expensive, and those things are also vital for your career. Conferences are the best place to meet people who work in and around the music industry, and conferences are a relaxed environment to connect with people in the industry who can change the course of your career.

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Monday
Mar102014

How Understanding Publishing Can Help Independent Artists Make Money

I have read a ton of articles over the past few months about how important understanding publishing is to the independent artist, and it is. What confounds me is that even with all of this information, there is still confusion in the marketplace on how this works, especially when it comes to streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud and others.

Lots of people in this business don’t understand it. Friends of mine at labels and management companies don’t understand it, independent artists don’t understand it and as more music consumption services come online, it is becoming more valuable to get the whole picture.

There is a great article here that gives a thorough overview of how publishing and other performance royalties work – so I don’t want to be repetitive, but I do want to take this opportunity to dive a little deeper into the way publishing works on YouTube – especially when it comes to cover songs.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Mar082014

MusicThinkTank.com Weekly Recap: 4 Amazing Mobile Apps for Musicians and Composers

Thursday
Mar062014

HOW TO GET ALL THE CRED OF PLAYING AT SXSW WITHOUT THE TIME AND EXPENSE

“Music is spiritual. The music business is not. - Van Morrison

It’s almost that time again - that time of year when every band and singer worth their salt makes that annual pilgrimage to Mecca (Austin) for the week-long SXSW festival. A week of no sleep, watered-down drinks, bad food, unrewarding performances and the heartbreak of the ultimate realization that it wasn’t really worth it. Never have so many spent so much time and money for so little notoriety and reward.

But wait! I bring news and hope for all who just can’t take it anymore. Even though you know that you’re really not missing out on anything, you were at least hoping to network and snare some sort of deal. After all, this could be the year! This could be our big break! This could be our time! Or not.

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