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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).

Monday
Jun022014

18 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

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

One of the biggest challenges facing musicians is generating income. Gone are the days when a band could rely solely on music sales and touring to earn a living.

Part of the reality of being a working musician today is the need to diversify your revenue streams. Although sales of recorded music have gone down significantly in recent years, there are new sources of income available to musicians.

A mix of traditional and more modern income streams can help today’s musicians earn a living. Here’s a list of 18 ways to generate revenue for your music career:

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Saturday
May312014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How Cover Songs Can Take Your Music Career to the Next Level

Friday
May302014

6 Things Every Indie Artist Needs To Know In 2014

We’re halfway through the year. If you haven’t been paying attention to the following ideas, it’s time to start.

1. Stop trying to do everything yourself

Think of your career like your social life: you need to get different things from different friends. You have certain friends for when you feel like partying, certain friends for when you want to be coddled, and others who are always good at giving out tough love. And you need all of these people to feel balanced and well-rounded. It’s the same thing with any artist’s music career – no one is good at everything. The most successful artists aren’t the ones who can do it all themselves, but rather the ones who appreciate the value of really smart collaborations and partnerships. Let 2014 be the year that you put a lot of energy into working with amazing, smart, talented people who will make your music better and your career more mobile.

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Wednesday
May282014

How Cover Songs Can Take Your Music Career to the Next Level

If you’re a performer and songwriter, of course you want to record and perform your own songs…

But you might be missing out on a very effective and easy way to take your music career to the next level: Cover songs!

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Saturday
May242014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing & Newsletters for Musicians & Bands

Thursday
May222014

The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing & Newsletters for Musicians & Bands

Email marketing is one of the most important elements of digital marketing for bands and musicians.

Why? 

First of all, it’s one of the only forms of online communication between you and your fans that is entirely future proof and within your control. Think about it - you don’t own your Facebook fans or Twitter followers, Facebook and Twitter do - and it’s entirely legal for them to charge you to reach them.

Email hasn’t changed an awful lot since it was first introduced in 1993. It probably won’t change much in the next decade either.

But that’s not enough for me to recommend it so highly. Email is also incredibly effective when used well. The combination of effectiveness, ease of use, scalability and control are what makes it so appealing, and a powerful tool for savvy musicians.

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Tuesday
May202014

Make the Most of Your Email List

One thing a lot of indie artists procrastinate on is tackling their email strategy. There are lots of things you need to get your head around, from which platform or service to use, to what content to include, to how often to send emails. On top of that, you also need to figure out how to get people to actually sign up for your email list - a marketing role that many musicians are uncomfortable with.

Despite all this, your email list is still one of the most powerful assets you have. I’ll break it down into 5 main points so you can easily update your email strategy.

 

1. Platform

If you don’t already have one set up, you’ll have to choose a platform to send your emails out. If you try sending out an email to hundreds of fans through services like Yahoo and Gmail, it will often get marked as spam or won’t even go through. You can, of course, opt for generic platforms like Mailchimp or Constant Contact. Keep in mind though that many services you already use have email functions like Pledgemusic, Bandzoogle, and Fanbridge.

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Saturday
May172014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How To Effectively Promote Your Music Video on Facebook

Thursday
May152014

How To Effectively Promote Your Music Video on Facebook

Being an up and coming musician can be both a delightful and dreadful gig. You’re always writing music, recording, performing in bars and/or clubs, and trying to sell yourself on social media platforms. Selling yourself also means shooting a music video for your best song. You can always just upload the video to YouTube and engage with trolls, or upload to Vimeo and engage with trolls. But you want to, not only sell your music video, you want to engage with your growing audience and earn more fans. Facebook is the answer for that.


Create a Page

It seems like a no brainer to create a page for your music video but most musicians seem to overthink it. You’ve encountered pages on Facebook before but they’re usually for products, films, or some cause to have you donate money to. You can create a page for yourself (or your band) to garner an online following and inform people of events, concerts, and more. Creating a page for a music video seems kind of redundant but it’s a great step forward for you.

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Wednesday
May142014

Why The Hardest Workers Win And The Complainers Lose…And I’m Totally Fine With It

In and around Ontario, the war on internships rages on. It’s been a hot topic in the press as of late since 2 Canadian magazines (Toronto Life and The Walrus) dismissed their interns after the provincial government questioned the ethics behind unpaid youth employment. This isn’t the first time internship drama has made an impact in the media – there was the Fox ‘Black Swan’ lawsuit that created quite a swell of excitement in September 2013 and it’s got me thinking.

As an intern you have an opportunity to prove to a company why you deserve to be hired over anyone else. In J.J. McCullough’s article for the National Post titled ‘Why Internships Should be Illegal‘, he likens unpaid internships to “something [that] can be very good for business yet still ugly and immoral.” He even goes as far as to educate young internship victims (eyeroll) on “9 tips for ending your internship on a positive note”. As a business owner who employs unpaid interns, I regularly come into contact with many people who agree with McCullough’s point of view on a practice that is a personal career choice many young professionals make. A wise career choice, if you ask me.

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Monday
May122014

3 Creative Ways DIY Musicians Use Online Session Talent On AirGigs.com

Creative entrepreneurs and DIY musicians think in very similar ways. Those that succeed today are alchemists in the truest sense of the word. They have a knack for working with a limited set of resources and a keen ability to wear a multitude of hats. In the entrepreneurial world, delegating tasks and effectively managing talent is a given, but so too is it for anyone leading a band, self-producing an album or creating commercial music. As musicians, we often don’t see ourselves as managers, directors and producers, but in today’s music industry we need to be effective in each of these roles. Becoming comfortable managing and working with online session talent opens up new opportunities for serious musicians who want to go to the next level with their performances and recordings. Here are 3 creative ways DIY musicians use online session talent on AirGigs.com

 

Musical Direction 

 If you’re preparing for an upcoming showcase, or a live gig with new players, you need to be skilled at giving musical direction. There’s nothing more frustrating than going into a big gig hoping to capture a certain energy, sound or vibe, only to have it completely miss the mark.

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Saturday
May102014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 4 Ways For Artists To Get The Most Out Of Bandsintown

Thursday
May082014

4 Ways For Artists To Get The Most Out Of Bandsintown

You’ve booked your tour, you’ve practiced your songs, you’ve packed the van, but you’re feeling like something’s missing. How can you get more people to come out to your shows? With gross ticket revenue up nearly 30% worldwide and touring having eclipsed record sales as the main source of artist income, Bandsintown’s Artist Platform has become an indispensable promotional tool for alerting fans when you’re on tour.

Over 10 million concert-goers use Bandsintown to discover shows, buy tickets and share tour dates with their friends. It automatically generates alerts for your fans through email, mobile notifications and Facebook notifications, and if you use Auto Promote or Twitter Sync, Bandsintown delivers alerts to your fans there too. Today Bandsintown powers the tour dates for over 215,000 touring artists, ensuring their fans never miss another live show.

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Tuesday
May062014

Bands: How to Properly Use a Landing Page on Your Website

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

Bandzoogle makes it easy to add an intro or “splash” page to your website. When used properly as a landing page for your visitors, they can be an effective marketing tool for your music.

However, intro pages can easily be misused, which can hurt your site traffic, fan engagement, and your sales.

4 Common Mistakes To Avoid with Intro Pages

Here are four common mistakes that we see with intro pages that you should avoid:

1. Permanent intro page: Intro pages should only be used for short periods of time and for specific calls-to-action. It becomes annoying for repeat visitors to keep having to click through to your main site.

Also, Google picks up text content on your page, and if the first page of your website is an Intro page, there isn’t much to tell Google how your site is relevant to search queries, which can hurt your rank.

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