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Sunday
Jan012012

Happy New Year from Music Think Tank & Hypebot.com!

 

Happy New Year from Music Think Tank & Hypebot.com!

Thanks for reading and contributing to the conversation! If you would like to contribute a post, read the guidelines and post a summary on the MTT open tab. Every week, several posts will be moved from the MTT open tab to the main MTT page and featured on Hypebot.com so if your post seems to be “missing”, your post may have been moved to the MTT main page and will be published soon.

It’s a new year and fresh start! What are your plans for the new year and what projects are you working on?

What improvements or suggestions do you have for Music Think Tank and Hypebot?

Let’s make 2012 great!

Happy New Year!

 

—Natalie (@ncswim881), MTT Community Manager, and the rest of the MTT & Hypebot crew

Friday
Dec302011

Goal Setting Workshop For 2012

Many people start thinking about their goals on New Year’s Day, many start thinking about this 3 months ahead and start gearing up for it and preparing to have it. This is the best time to start, it helps you think ahead, gives you more time to prepare and gives you extra time to think about strategy. 2012 is a few days away but of course it isnt too late to start thinking about what you want for the year!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec292011

Why You Should Give Your Music Away for Free

Digital music caught the record labels off guard and smashed their business to pieces, and from the rubble new economic realities are emerging. In this new reality, most independent artists, especially those who are just starting out, should give their music away for free. Sound crazy? Maybe, but hear me out. It boils down to 3 main concepts.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec262011

The importance of good email standards

Why getting an email right is important, and why.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec222011

5 Easy SoundCloud Music Promotion Tips

SoundCloud continues to be a terrific location for music promotion. Taking advantage of SoundCloud’s growing community of music lovers should be a strategic practice of all musicians, big and small. Sharing tracks, creating sets, and interacting with other users are all essential parts of good SoundCloud promotion. Add to that commenting, following and group joining, and SoundCloud becomes the online pulse of social music.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec212011

Permission Marketing Vs. Self-Entitled Marketing for Musicians

This is an adapted piece from something that I wrote on my marketing blog.

Permission Marketing Vs. Self-Entitled Marketing

The concept of “Permission Marketing” has been around for some time. Popularized by marketing guru and author Seth Godin, it essentially boils down to marketers asking for “permission” before advancing to higher levels of engagement or a purchasing process with customers. It’s often contrasted with what Godin likes to call “interruption marketing,” the practice where advertisers try and “interrupt” a person’s normal pattern through an advertising blitz (such as a billboard, tv commercial, magazine ad, etc.).

I believe that a better descriptor for interruption marketing and stronger contrast to permission marketing is the idea of “self-entitled” marketing. Self-Entitlement generally refers to the idea that one feels they deserve access, privileges, or rights without regard to others and (whether it is deserved or not). It’s narcissistic. And it’s also the approach that many brands take to spread their message.

Godin’s describes permission marketing by writing, ”Permission is like dating. You don’t start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit.” Self-entitled marketing is like asking for a long-term commitment with the first impression.

Let’s apply these concepts to the world of musicians…

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec202011

Mobile Marketing for Independent Artists: Reality

There’s no doubt about it. Mobile marketing is the term “du jour.” Music industry conferences, networking events, the twitterverse and blogosphere are on fire with mobile marketing chit-chat. Bands apps, QR codes, SMS marketing….it’s a never-ending mobile maze. This is the first blog post in a three-part series attempting to demystify the issue of mobile marketing. I’ll be exploring the foundations of a solid mobile marketing strategy for musicians and identifying what tools are out there for the DIY music community. But firstly, what does mobile marketing actually mean to your average, trying-to-do it all local musician?

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec192011

Don't Let Your Past Dictate Your Future

Don’t let the memory of a past experience hold you back or prevent you from trying again.

Everyone experiences failures. It’s a part of life. 


The important thing is to learn from the things that didn’t work out for you. Take a step back from your failed attempts and try to remove your emotions from the situation. I realize how hard this is, but try to look at things analytically.


If the same thing were to happen to someone else, what advice would you give them? When you take a subjective look at the situation, be honest with yourself and ask, 
Why? What was missing? What could have been done differently? 

For a developing artist, failed attempts are often the norm rather than the exception. In Canada, the first thing that jumps to mind is funding and grant application rejections from our government’s cultural organizations 
(FACTOR, BC Music, Alberta Music, SaskMusic, Manitoba Music, etc.). It can be a real drag to find out that your application was rejected. Especially after you spent so much time creating the “perfect” marketing plan… and you even printed it on pretty paper too!

There’s no lack of things to get you down when you live the life of an artist. Heartbreaking and frustrating things surround you 
(if you let  them). Let downs such as your songs being rejected by radio programmers, promoters not accepting your band to play in their venue, being denied a slot on a festival, agents turning you down, managers saying you’re not ready for them, and of course… empty venues.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec152011

What Publicists Need From Musicians – Guest Post by Anne Leighton

Posted By: Michael Brandvold (Michael is a 20 year music marketing veteran who has worked with unsigned indie bands and international superstars. Michael owns Michael Brandvold Marketing a site dedicated to providing tips and advice for musicians.)

This is a guest post by Anne Leighton.

The best, savviest musicians listen to their publicist’s expertise.  Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson and Tower of Power’s Emilio Castillo pay attention to what I tell them when I disagree, find a wrong fact in their bio, or if they NEED to do an interview during a vacation.  They also tell me when something needs to be fixed.  We’ve never had an argument.  Sure, we’ve all made mistakes that were based in misunderstood e-mails or my faulty research for an address. All my artists have missed interviews, but we rebound and reschedule.  We’re human.

Your publicist interfaces with you: the media, other world and industry tastemakers, or gatekeepers to get you more known in your career.

We work together.  Whether it’s you or Ian, artists have to realize the type of coverage (radio, print, TV, internet) they will receive in conjunction with where they are at the time of their album’s release.  If you’re at Lady Gaga’s level, most everyone will devote space and time to you.  If you had hits more than three to 40 years ago, selected national outlets might be interested, but chances lie more in local print and radio. If you’re still determined to wake up early in the morning, you could get some local TV coverage.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec142011

3 Signs Your Band Is Getting Scammed 

Yesterday a friend of mine called me with a question. His band had been contacted (via ReverbNation) by a company who claimed that they were a publishing and licensing firm in Los Angeles. Oooooh Los Angeles.

The company told him that they saw his profile, liked one of his songs, and thought they could get their song placed in Television and Film, but of course there was a price, three hundred dollars to be exact ($300!!!). For this price the company would spend the next year getting the band’s music out there…. rrrrrrright.

See this example contains all of the classic signs you’re being scammed and they are…

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec132011

5 Tips on Getting a Label, Sponsor, or Booking Agent

1. Treat it Like a Job Application

I can’t stress this point enough. If you want to get the right sponsor, label, agent, etc., you have to treat the process like you would for a high-end job. You wouldn’t send a generic cover letter filled with typo’s and grammatical errors or an incomplete resume would you? It seems basic but nearly 70% of the submissions I receive lack some of the basics - at least 20% forgot to include the band’s name or a link to the website. If you want a someone to take you seriously, then you have to take yourself seriously enough to make sure the presentation is just right.

It’s often said “It isn’t what you know but who you know.” Just like job applicants who have a mutual contact or letter of recommendation have an advantage, artists that have spent their time networking and building their reputation will have much greater odds. Think of A&R reps as recruiters or the HR department. Put yourself in their mindset, ask someone else to look at your press kit before you hit send. Try not to send unsolicited demo’s (if it is a company you want to work with, introduce yourself and get to know them first).

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec122011

Why I Still Use Jango

Jango offers free Pandora-style internet radio. Type in an artist’s name and it generates a playlist of related songs. Jango Airplay lets artists buy their way into the recommendation engine, promising guaranteed airplay alongside your pick of big names.

I’ve been running Jango campaigns pretty much continuously since the service launched in March of 2009. My songs have been played 270,000 times, 23% of which were unpaid “organic” plays. It cost me $1841.50 out of my own pocket, plus at least that much in affiliate earnings from my previous articles on the topic.

What’s my return on that investment? There’s no way to know.

Jango reports 25,000 likes and 9800 fans, but those terms have little meaning. A like on Jango is a simple thumbs-up that has nothing to do with Facebook, and most of those “fans” are unreachable. An average of one email address per day has been shared with me since that feature launched in early 2010, but those 700 email addresses alone don’t justify the expense.

The reason I stick with it is because I’ve seen so many Jango listeners become genuine fans. They friend me on Facebook, reply to my email updates, comment on my YouTube videos, and yes, buy my music. With the possible exception of Facebook Ads, I’m convinced Jango is the best passive promotion out there.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Dec082011

So Whatcha Want?? - The Indie Musician's Diagnostic Check

The zombie apocalypse has eroded into the music world. For every person that decides to pursue a career in the music industry, there is another that is paralyzed in a state of limbo, eyes glazed over fixating on the the current sentiment of the socio-economic climate brainwashing them into believing-  “there just ‘aint enough (paying gigs, deals, quality tours..[insert your ideal music career scenario here] etc.. )to go around.” If you’re not careful, your career could be over before it even gets started simply by inadvertently allowing your mindset to fall victim to the fickle, ever-wavering mood of the economic atmosphere.

Sadly, for some, this may very well be true, but it doesn’t have to apply to you. As a savvy indie musician, you owe it to yourself to run a regular inventory check on your mental approach to your music career. The notion that our thoughts create or sabotage our own success is a real phenomena… I promise, I’m not trying to turn you into a magical law-of-attraction fairy  - but I assure you, I’m not the first person to suggest that the link is crucial. Don’t believe me? Brian Thompson over at The Thorny Bleeder.com has a wonderful post on your thoughts and their link to your success here.

Friends, the truth is, identifying and defining key areas in your outlook regarding your expertise, and the opportunities available to you form a sturdy protection barrier for your perception - (which is directly linked to your motivation) - and ultimately poises you for a greater likelihood of success. As for success, it’s all relative. It’s up to you to do the maintenance to ensure you attain it, how you want it, and on your own terms.  Understanding the power of self-discovery and awareness is a priceless, invaluable tool in your musician’s toolbox. Here are a few ways to nurture and stay high on your own supply.

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Wednesday
Dec072011

The top 5 reasons your band should record binaurally

Binaural recordings are reproductions of sound the way human ears hear it – it’s the purest, most natural way to record and listen to music.


Binaural recording is perfectly suited to indie, pop and rock music – and here’s why you should be planning to take advantage of it on your next record.

Click to read more ...