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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).

Monday
May232011

4 Steps To Transition From Playing Cover Songs To Your Own Music

I’d venture to say that almost all bands start by playing cover songs. After all, what better way to get your chops together than by emulating something already tried and true - i.e. a hit song. The problem comes when a band or artist begins to get popular from playing cover songs, yet has aspirations of one day playing their own music. Unless you’re extremely clever right out of the box, chances are that your self-composed material doesn’t get the crowds going the way the cover material does. This means that as soon as you begin to play one of your own, that hot enthusiastic crowd suddenly goes ice cold, making you feel like your song just isn’t cutting it.

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Thursday
May192011

Question: Is this the best or the worst time for independent musicians?

The question: Is this the best or the worst time for independent musicians to be successful?

So here we are, in a world where the power to make, publish and become extremely successful from our own music has been stolen from the almighty gatekeepers. We no longer need third party executives to direct us, we don’t need giant media conglomerates to get our music out to a captive market. We no longer need to pay exorbitant amounts of money to people who don’t really deserve it.

Why? Because the tools, the technology and the means have been delivered right to our doorsteps. We can thank people like Sean Fanning (of Napster) for changing the way we discover music, and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) for delivering communication to the entire world right into our hands, and for developing an even wider network of social sharing.

Now for a fraction of the cost of going to a professional recording studio, musicians can set up their own home studio and make equally stunning recordings. They can upload to a digital distributor such as CD Baby, and within 48 hours their music can be sitting alongside the major players in iTunes, etc.

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Tuesday
May172011

Prescreen Your Future Fans with Twitter

Two months ago, I began implementing Ariel Hyatt and Carla Lynne Hall’s strategy to increase my Twitter following, as laid out in their book Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter. The basic idea is to follow potential fans in the hope that they will follow back. I discovered that the more selective I am in choosing who to follow, the more likely I am to connect with people who may become genuine fans. I’ll share my process and results below.

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Monday
May162011

3 Musician Marketing Basics: Newsletter, Products & Polls

I’m just back from the mighty ASCAP Expo in Los Angeles. I learned so much from the hundreds of artists I spoke to over the 3 days there and I boarded the plane with a whole new perspective on just how confronting marketing and social media is to 90% of artists. You guys REALLY hate this stuff. You hate it so much that I literally felt like I had been beaten up over the concerns, complaints and sheer confusion directed my way. So I will kick off with this: Making it in music is HARD

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Saturday
May142011

The 5 Biggest Facebook Fan Page Screw-Ups

Thousands of artists, bands and music companies have a Facebook fan page these days. Perhaps you do too.

But way too many of them screw up big time when it comes to using a fan page effectively. (Of course, I’m sure YOU don’t fall into that category … or do you?)

Watch this new video clip and find out if you’re making any of these major Facebook music promotion blunders.

Haven’t created a Facebook fan page yet? Then you REALLY need to watch this so your first fan page gets off to a great start …

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Saturday
May142011

REWIND: The Music Industry's Week In Review

Every day MusicThinkTank’s sister blog Hypebot, covers news of the music industry, music tech and the d.i.y. music movement.  Each Saturday we’ll share with you the week’s top stories.

Thursday
May122011

Natalie Cheng Is Music Think Tank's New Community Manager

NatalieCheng We’re proud to name Natalie Cheng as Music Think Tank’s first ever Community Manager. Natalie has toiled away in the shadows here for months; editing comments, tagging posts and in general keeping things flowing.  This acknowledgement of her efforts is long overdue.

So, who is Natalie Cheng?

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Thursday
May122011

Here We Go Again: The bright new future ahead where we can all share music in the cloud, NOT..

By David Greenberg.  Learn more about this outspoken industry veteran at the end of the post.

To the cloud. Google’s created MUSIC, a here-to-fore hush-hush (though everyone seemed to know about it) service to shunt all your music up to a locker in the cloud. Apple will soon have a Cloud iTunes too. Then you can play your music everywhere and anywhere on just about any device that the gods of I.T. allow it to. Though, right now Google’s only on Android and Apple’ll probably stick to the iPhone.

Here’s the best part: You may be able to share your music with your friends, family, step-children, and even ex-significant others. There will be an App for that. Maybe,

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Wednesday
May112011

Recording: Getting it Right at the Source

How many times have you heard this saying? It’s almost gotten to be a cliche around the recording blog world these days. It’s something, however, that I believe needs repeating. And it’s one that I am constantly reminding myself of in the studio. It’s amazing how many questions I’ve received from friends and colleagues about what kind of mics I’m using. Of course, the recommendations follow: “Oh man, you should try the enter mic of choice here on your kick drum – best mic money can buy.” Or how about, “Hey man, what’s the BEST microphone for recording vocals?” Have you fallen into this trap? I know I have.

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Tuesday
May102011

Thank you Elliott Smith

I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about the music industry, and particularly the new independent music industry. This is partly because I am an independent musician, and partly because I write a blog on music biz stuff. I’ve also got a natural interest in patterns and systems (and the music industry is one). I like watching things emerge, and I like the ideas that people are forced to come out with to try to make a little money in the current climate.

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Monday
May092011

An Introduction to the Self-Released Album

This article is part 1 of a 4-part series by guitarist Cameron Mizell. For more information about self-releasing your album, visit the series home page: The Self-Released Album
In what seems like a past life, the only way to release an album was through a record label. The label had the money to pay for your recording, the ability to distribute it around the world, and the marketing resources to make sure people knew your album was hitting the stores. Today, any resourceful individual with a little bit of money and a lot of creativity can make an album commercially available to the same number of people as a major label. I have been involved with coordinating the release of about 200 albums, ranging from my own self-released album to Herbie Hancock’s Grammy winning River: The Joni Letters (2008’s Album of The Year). My previous job at a record label taught me a great deal about this process, and it’s definitely helped me when I released my own albums.

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Friday
May062011

The New Music Industry is Not Coming

We can all stop waiting for the “new music industry” to arrive. The new music industry is not coming, it is here already. The only thing that will change is change. New models reshaping the way music is marketed and distributed will continue to change the landscape, and there will be many. Right now we have an emergence of abundance within the music industry. There are countless new artists emerging and the same goes for the ways of consuming those artists. This will not change; the emergence will continue to evolve as humans will continue to evolve. With that being said, there will be a shaping and weeding out process. The shaping and weeding out process will define which artists and which models work best for you individually, the consumer. The process of definition for the music consumer will cross all boundaries including race, gender, and age. I would like to include money, but I can’t help but to imagine the rich kid who only wants to see their favorite artist live, so they pay for live shows whenever they decide to.

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Thursday
May052011

5 Easy Steps To Making Your Dreams Come True

Humans have the amazing gift of dreaming. It allows us to imagine things that are absolutely crazy, and completely out of our reach. Like flying, staying hours under water – or world domination. That’s what we do. Ambition is a great source of energy. Being able to dream big will give you guts and make smaller dreams feel much more attainable. Ambition will make you creative and more resourceful. Dreams are only dreams until you write them down. Then they become your goals. – Anonymous The difference between a dream and a goal is just a question of attitude. Dreams are by definition something that’s out of reach. A goal is something that you plan and work towards. If you start treating your dreams as your goals, then you have already taken the first step towards making them come true.

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Wednesday
May042011

Generate Demand for Your Music By Rightly Using A Loss Leader

A general rule of commerce is this: You cannot demand money until you have generated demand, or at the very least, the perception of demand. And a sure way to generate demand is by using a loss leader. Your music is your business. And in business, in order to spike sales and increase the bottom line, you have to pick and put into play a loss leader. A loss leader is a part of your whole product offering that you will lose money on (or not make money on) in order to get potential customers through the door. Once they are in, their experience with your “brand” should cause them to buy other products you also offer as well as become repeat customers. This adds to your bottom line. This is what a loss leader does.

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