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Is Your Music in an Art Gallery or at Ikea?

Imagine a painting that you really like. Imagine that you see that painting for the first time at an opening in an art gallery (think a fancy, somewhat pretentious art gallery…). You like the image, the colors, the technique, etc. You’re impressed. You love that painting.

It would look awesome in your living room, wouldn’t it? You have a chat with the artist, where she explains the concept and the process behind creating the painting, the materials used, and what it means to her. She tells a bit of her life story, and how and why she became a painter. You have a glass of wine; you discuss the painting with a few more people. They also like it.

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Apr142012 Weekly Recap: Other Ways to Think About the Copyright Debate and more


The Importance of Album Art in the Digital Age

As we all increasingly download our music rather than browsing through the shelves of our local record shop, album artwork is less important. Or is it?

There is evidence to suggest that musicians and audiences are still interested in imagery surrounding music.

“I like a bit of controversy. It tests the nation’s intelligence.”

When photographer and director David Boni came up with the idea of hanging The Stranglers in a kids’ swing park, bass player JJ Burnel, replied “I like a bit of controversy. It tests the nation’s intelligence.” And so, the cover of brand new album ‘Giants’ was born. Currently touring the album – and, inevitably, some of their classic tracks like ‘No More Heroes’, ‘Golden Brown’ and ‘Peaches’ – the band has seen a revival in fortunes across Europe, only tainted by drummer Jet Black’s recent illness.

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Other Ways to Think About the Copyright Debate

I recently started a discussion on discussing Rob Reid’s presentation, The$8 billion iPod, and a response that was posted by Ken Sanney. While my original intent was discuss the simplification of complex issues, people began some passionate arguments about piracy and copyrights. You can read the whole thing (with comments) here from TED’s conversation page.

I started getting frustrated because the majority of the people posting were not involved in the music industry nor did they have any knowledge of copyright law. If there’s one thing that I can’t stand, it’s simply the regurgitation of rhetoric, especially when there’s no basis in logic and not supported by evidence. 

Here’s my personal take on the issue. If you’d like to see my responses to all of the traditional arguments in favor of unauthorized piracy and the debate whether copyright protection should exist at all, please check out the TED debate linked above.


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Track names in iTunes 

Once I deliver a master disk to a client I often receive a call or email asking a common question. I am often asked how to get the track titles and artist details to be listed in the iTunes application. Contrary to popular belief iTunes does not retrieve track names from the CD itself. Red Book CD’s do have the capability to contain sub code data such as CD TEXT for track names, artist etc. These are pre defined fields within the specification that will accept alpha numeric data for the track names and artist, amongst other details. However, iTunes does not get this information from the disk itself. Instead it accesses an online internet database (Gracenote Media Database) from which it retrieves that information. here follows a quick guide to inputting that data. The following information is relevant as of iTunes version

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In Defense of 1,000 True Fans – Part XII - How Kat Parsons Has Built Her Mailing List to Over 10,000 Strong

I met Kat Parsons through a mutual friend and she hired us to write a full marketing plan for her. After working closely with her, I thought she would be the perfect addition to the 1000 True Fans series! By putting a strong focus on building her mailing list and genuine engagement through social media, Kat has been able to take the big leap into becoming a full-time musician. Her understanding of building long-lasting relationships with her fans has helped her to build a sustainable career in the music industry, and it is one worth discussing, so enjoy!

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Apr072012 Weekly Recap: The Viral Power of Fan Communication and more


How to Handle Problems in the Band

Problems: they happen sooner or later.

Every group will go through some kind of major disagreement that could possibly dismantle the band. Huge levels of success won’t solve those issues; in fact, they tend to sharpen those differences even if you are bound my family (just look at the Kings of Leon or Oasis). So how do you handle those problems or minimize the damage?

Here are some tips to reduce the heat of the situation in your band:

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How Flexible Pricing Can Help You Sell More Merch

This article originally appeared on CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog.

Why the Value of Your Merch Changes Every Day

Let’s say you just started a hot-sauce business. The price of your product probably changes depending on the buyer; lower-end grocery stores, shi-shi markets, restaurants, and direct customers on your website will all pay a little something different for the same mouth-burning sensations— to say nothing of the folks who will try free samples at the store.

Musical products aren’t that different; the value of your merch changes from gig to gig, and should (or could) be priced accordingly. This is NOT “Name-Your-Price,” but an alternate system where the band and manager keep the context of the concert in mind when setting today’s “market price.” And unlike fish, your music won’t grow stale,… right?

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How To Talk To Strangers  

Networking online or in person (eventually it is necessary to do in person) involves talking to complete random strangers. People you don’t know, people who might be untrustworthy, people who might have an agenda, people who might take from you, people who might steal from you, people who might harm you. We don’t like talking to strangers. Strangers are bad. Strangers will hurt you. Strangers have negative associations. Yet we are all strangers to other people.

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The Viral Power of Fan Communication: A Case Study On Fleet Foxes

It’s always exhilarating finding stories like this that validate the lessons we so often, teach, learn, and debate here on MTT. This story in particular, highlights the power of conscientious direct-to-fan (D2F) communication on the part of Fleet Foxes’ front man, Robin Pecknold.  

If Grammy awards were given to artists DIY’ing it each year, Pecknold would win the award for “Outstanding Performance In D2F Communication”. Pecknold’s proclivity for treating fans like friends recently went viral when a fan of his enthusiastically wrote the following post on reddit:

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New Ways to Think About Facebook Timeline for Bands

The Facebook timeline requirement for pages has been looming for a while and now that it is a requirement, many artists have been wondering how to take advantage of the new features. While I won’t go into the detailed steps about it (there are plenty of other blogs that do that), I did want to offer some unconventional advice. Creating a niche marketing approach through a unique experience for your fans is the best way to grow your audience organically. 

Here are some of my tips:

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Mar312012 Weekly Recap: 10 Sales Tips For Artists and more


Ariel Hyatt: 7 Questions For A Real Live Music Supervisor Sarah Gavigan of Get Your Music Licensed

I’m kinda obsessed with how artists make money mostly because artists constantly ask me how they can make more of it.

Several weeks ago, we proudly blogged in support of The Future of Music’s incredible undertaking Artist Revenue Streams, which is a must read for any artist looking to monetize their music.

The FMC has begun to release the results of their in-depth study and they have identified 42 ways artists can earn money.

Numbers 5 & 6 on the list are:

5. Composing Original Works for Broadcast (an original jingle, soundtrack, score, or other musical work for a film, TV or cable show, or an ad agency…)

6. Synch Licenses (Typically involves licensing an existing work for use in a movie, documentary, TV, video game, internet, or a commercial).

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