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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
Mar292011

The Facebook Dilemma: "New" Media, Just Like the "Old" Media

You can’t live without it.

And you can’t live with it, either.

In the past week, if you have been trying to access the Facebook page for The 1861 Project and wonder why you keep winding up at your own homepage, I have a tale of woe for you.  Bear with me here, it’s a bit of a shaggy dog story…

Two weeks ago I created a Facebook “Fan” page for The 1861 Project. Within the “page,” I added some features using a service called DamnTheRadio (DTR), which adds audio and video to a Facebook page, along with the option to lock some of the content behind the “Like” button.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar282011

10 Pieces of Essential Content For Your Band's Website

If you’re a musician or in a band that’s trying to get your music out to the world, your website is a valuable marketing tool. Your website helps your fans, bloggers, and journalists find out who you are, what you sound like, and where you’re playing. It’s important that your website contains content for all types of visitors, from fans - current and potential - to booking agents and media outlets. Below are ten essential elements that every band’s website should have.

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Thursday
Mar242011

The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites Part 2

This is a response to Ariel Hyatt’s recent post ‘The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites’. In this article, Ariel outlines the fact that all musicians should have a website, and goes on to detail how you can set one up on a tight budget. In this article however, I want to elaborate on some of the points she makes, and give you an alternative method to setting up a lot cost website. As I’m sure you know, there’s more then one way to skin a cat, and today I’m going to show you a method that has worked well for me.

I’ve already outlined step by step how to build a music website, but today I’m going to be looking at the reasoning behind each of these decisions, so you can yourself decide if they’re right for you. I will also be looking at the set up cost, so you will know how much something like this will set you back. Considering what it costs to get a ‘professional’ to set up a website for you, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised…

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Thursday
Mar242011

Turning TV Placements Into Fan Engagement: Lessons From Mr. Robotic - In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Episode X

A few weeks ago I got a tweet from Mr. Robotic, asking if I could include him in my In Defense of 1,000 True Fans series.  I love meeting people via social media, and what follows is the first artist who has approached me to tell his own story.  It’s the perfect roadmap of how to take full advantage precious TV placements.  Instead of the usual interview, I’m combining my “How To” article format (Sound Advice) with this In Defense of 1,000 True Fans piece, giving you an action plan. This article is so long it will be delivered in 2 parts.

When I teach master classes to artists I often get asked:  How do I leverage a TV placement? 

Creating more fans and friends from a hard earned TV or film placement takes a combination of fast action and solid strategy. In the end as evidenced here by Mr. Robotic, this combination can really pay off!

First: A back-story and a word of precaution: I have stood by and watched helplessly now as two of my Cyber PR® clients (who shall remain nameless) have been included in NATIONAL TV spots (one on an Apple commercial and one on a car commercial) and completely squandered these massive opportunities to make new fans.

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Wednesday
Mar232011

3 Essential Elements of Music Marketability

While artists may wish the capital M in this industry belonged to music, the truth is there is many other elements which have to be in place to successfully launch and nurture a career.

The record execs and publicists would have you believe that the M stands for marketing. They love to take credit for how they masterminded the strategy that broke the band.

In reality when it comes to successful acts, the dominating M is not music, or marketing, but marketability, and that ultimately lies in the hands of the artist themselves. The most successful acts in both the mainstream and the more niche genres, understand this as the key to growth and sustainability.

So many artists fall down because they put too many eggs in one basket. They woefully neglect other key ingredients, which, unless firmly in place, will lead to missed opportunities and ultimately, failed careers.

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Tuesday
Mar222011

The Musician’s Guide To Affordable, Effective Websites

I got a slap in the face in Perth, Australia two weeks ago.  I went there to talk about Apps, Foursquare, and advanced web marketing strategies.

I had many one-on-one sessions with artists and a vast majority had a big problem:

They didn’t have web sites.

When I say they don’t have web sites, I mean they’re only using MySpace and Facebook.  Which is a critical mistake. See here why: http://bit.ly/musicadiumpaper

I’m not saying this to make anyone wrong or to be righteous.   Websites, as I soon found out in Australia, are very expensive to build with local web designers. A few artists showed me quotes of $5,000 for a website. It’s not 1997 anymore and those quotes are not OK.

An effective website can be created $20 or less a month with no upfront costs.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar212011

Managing Relationships With Fans When Your Fan Base Gets Too Big

Social media gives you the opportunity to create genuine relationships with the members of your growing fan base, helping to create more super fans and ultimately working to strengthen your fan base as a whole. 

At first, this is the best possible situation: as you grow, your fans will demand more attention and more access from you, and thanks to social media, you can now supply them with it. And again, thanks to the level of transparency that social media offers, the experience of the artist/ fan relationship is more authentic and personal than ever before.

And this is all good. Both you and your fan are happy. You continue to grow and your fan continues to gain more access and attention in return for support.

But as you and your fans go down this path together, you will inevitably run into the situation where you couldn’t possibly continue to manage all of the existing relationships that you’ve formed with your fans. No one can. Sorry.

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Friday
Mar182011

Music Think Thank Is Now On Facebook

Find us and ‘Like’ us here: http://www.facebook.com/musicthinktank.

Thursday
Mar172011

7 Tips to Make Your Next Music Video

Considering making an original music video?

You may want to check out the 7 tips below to save you time, money and added stress. I just completed my first music video after more than three years of investment where I learned these lessons directly…the hard way. I’m now working on my second video and vowed to avoid the same pitfalls by following these lessons. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes!

1 . Always have signed contracts no matter whatIn the beginning, it is usually such a love fest between you and the the very people you want to hire to help realize your vision. They get it!

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Wednesday
Mar162011

SEO for the Discerning Musician

Search engine optimization (SEO) often gets passed off as a sort of snake oil — some gimmicky trick that people do to manipulate search results in their favor.

SEO is really about one thing: making what your website is about clear to people and bots alike. There’s no tricks or gimmicks, and if you can make a website or manage a wordpress installation, you can do some very simple things to make your website more search engine and people friendly.

How People Search

When someone enters a query into Google, the google algorithm returns results that it thinks are relevant. Many factors contribute, and we’re really not exactly sure what they are — Google, and other search engines, are pretty hush-hush about this. So SEO is a lot of educated guesstimation combined with a bit of common sense.

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Tuesday
Mar152011

The Realities of Making a Living with Music in 2011

John McCrea, lead singer of the band Cake, stirred up a reaction when he told NPR’s Melissa Block that he is skeptical about the future of music as a vocation.

I see music as a really great hobby for most people in five or 10 years,” he remarked.

Keep in mind this was part of a segment about Cake’s historic new album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in January. It was historic because the album earned the coveted ranking by selling just 44,000 copies — the lowest amount for a No. 1 in the 20-year history of calculating record sales.

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and blog posts lately about the doom and gloom of the music biz — including depressing news about the state of independent music. There have been references to the failure of direct-to-fan as a business model, and the harsh realities that aspiring musicians, managers, and promoters face.

Really? Give me a break!

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Monday
Mar142011

How Can You Drive Your Fans From Offline to Online?

To get someone to visit your band’s website, they need to have the intent to do so – put in other words, they need to get something out of it for it to be worth their time, which is why “check out our website” is about as effective as saying “we don’t have a website” as there really is no incentive offered for them to do so.

However, assuming you’ve got that one covered (ie. you have some free downloads,  or some awesome photos of your crowd from last nights gig, or maybe even some exclusive videos etc.) here are some techniques to get them to view that content from offline.

Here I’ve suggested five effective methods to take your fans from the real world to the virtual world of the net. Please chip in with your best tips on driving fans online from offline in the comments beneath this article!

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Friday
Mar112011

SEO Band Names: How To Choose A Band Name So You Will Be Found Online

Make it easy for your fans to find you online.

Choosing a band or artist name that is search engine optimized (also known as SEO) can help your career down the road.

Yes, many bands have managed to achieve success in spite of unsearchable band names (the band Girls come to mind), but why not make it easy on your fans and choose a name that is easy to search for and find?

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Thursday
Mar102011

The Hidden Challenges of Subscription Music

Nearly a decade ago, Rhapsody debuted its subscription music service.

Giving fans access to unlimited music for a monthly fee appeared to be the answer to the social epidemic of file-sharing that occurred, and yet they still seem indifferent towards it.

Rhapsody failed to break into the mainstream market, leaving critics to question if it ever will. Many companies including MOG, Rdio, Slacker, and Spotify have since entered the sector too, none of which have had better luck. While Apple’s iPhone gave services a second life, experts argue that they have failed to reach critical mass due to issues of consumer awareness, user retention, smartphone penetration, and software design.

Click to read more ...