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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).


One Easy Way to Sell and Share Music on Facebook

This past week — completely by accident — I discovered a surprising way to use Facebook to share and sell music. I’m sure some of the more astute Music Think Tank readers already know about this, but I bet most of the musicians who browse these pages have no clue. So as an author, teacher and fellow musician, I feel a duty to pass on this valuable tip. What’s this all about? Well, if you’ve used Facebook at all, you know that the site allows users to easily upload and share photos and videos. That’s great. But there’s no built-in mechanism to easily share audio files — meaning your music!

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The Musician's Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools and Sites Featuring BandsinTown

We test a lot of Apps and tools and look at a lot of websites. On behalf of our artists and me and the Cyber PR team are going to start featuring them here at MTT. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Jason Loomis. Jason has worked at Ariel Publicity for a year this week, first as an intern, then as my assistant and now as our Director of New Media Maker Relations. Enjoy this first installment of The Musician’s Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools and Sites

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Do Social Networks Really Help Musicians?

The purpose of this article is to cut right through to the heart of why it’s so hard for musicians to benefit (in any meaningful way) from social networks. The social network provides new and exciting benefits for musicians, which is why most embrace new social networks as a way to expose their music to thousands of potential fans and music industry reps. The only trouble is overcrowding. What always struck me as strange is the myspace mentality. It appeared that musicians actually thought that having a million friends was a good thing on myspace, despite the fact those friends were all musicians who only ‘friended’ you so that they can get more ‘friends’ for themselves. Perhaps myspace’s tag line should have been, “Join myspace, an endless circle of incestuous pleasantries probably amounting to nothing”. I guess that wouldn’t have been snappy enough.

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The Talent Myth

Logic would suggest that the most talented musicians would get the best work. The better you play the more people will want to hire you, right?

The validity of university music programs - especially the ones that focus their curriculum exclusively on performance and completely ignore business, entrepreneurship, or career-building - seems to be predicated on this talent myth. Become the best and you’ll succeed. Why else would you pay $100,000 for a fancy conservatory education?

But we all know the truth. We’ve all seen overwhelming evidence that the most talented musicians do not, necessarily, have the most success as working musicians.

How’s that fair? What’s the deal?

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No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways to Stop Being Forgettable

Attention - disorderWhat bands tend to forget, not everyone at the show knows who they are. Some people are just there to hang out and could care less about the bands. Knowing this, you have to use every tool at your disposal to get your band recognized. It’s no good to entertain a crowd of people and then let them leave not even knowing the name of your band. (It happens…trust me…)

1. Large banner on stage

Displaying your band’s logo prominently while you’re playing has to be the number one way for everyone to know who you are. At any point during your set, people will immediately see who you are.

Simply announcing the name of your band during your set is not enough. You never know at what point someone will or will not be in your audience. People wander in and out the entire time: getting beer, smoking, going to the bathroom, just got to the club, etc. There is no gaurantee your new, potential super-fan will be in the room when you say your band’s name.

Yes, even if someone really digs your band, they can still wander out and miss who you are. Why? Well, there are usually two things that trump your show: alcohol and getting laid.

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2000 Things to Generate 20,000 Fans – Create a Monthly Fan Meetup

Author David Meerman Scott made a honest and realistic quote, “if you want 20,000 fans you must do 2000 different things that each generate 10 fans.” This was my favorite quote from 2010 and I am going to take this on as a challenge for 2011 for an ambitious project to give you 2000 different things you can do to generate 20,000 fans.

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How to Get a Booking Agent to Book Your Band

Dave Cool is the Blogger-In-Residence at musician website and marketing platform Bandzoogle.

One of the most common questions I was asked by artists during my time as a venue booker was how they could find a booking agent. I inevitably answered that they should just keep playing gigs, grow their fan base, and an agent would find them. But is the answer really that simple? In a word, yes. By far the best way to get a professional booking agent is for bands to book themselves until the point where they are selling out shows on a regular basis on their own.

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Remake Remodel - The Major Labels Speak

Amongst the busy chatter of digital DIY dudes and galloping gurus it’s easy to forget that there is a major, multi-million dollar music industry that already exists. That’s because we seldom hear from the major players outside the sanitized propaganda sheets of Billboard and Music Week. But this week we can read their views in a Music Tank report by ex-EMI head, Tony Wadsworth.

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The Many Hats of a Musician

Balancing the different facets of being a musician, along with our social, personal and professional lives can be very difficult. How do we do it, and do you have anything useful you can share with others?

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2000 Things to Generate 20,000 – Give a Musical History Tour

Author David Meerman Scott made an honest and realistic quote, “if you want 20,000 fans you must do 2000 different things that each generate 10 fans.” This was my favorite quote from 2010 and I am going to take this on as a challenge for 2011 for an ambitious project to give you 2000 different things you can do to generate 20,000 fans.

Some of these items will apply better for larger acts, some items will work for any act. Some may work for you, some may not… not yet. Some these can be done with little effort, some will take some web development, some might even require some significant development. Some of these have successfully worked for me over the years. The point is to create a list of items that would cover a wide range of acts and abilities.

The end result of all this will hopefully be more Facebook likes, Twitter followers, email list subscriptions, more sales and more traffic to your website… more fans!

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How To Rule The World

Go on, admit it! You are probably nurturing some kind of a world domination plan in the back of your mind. Wouldn’t it be nice to play to a huge room filled with people that came specifically to see you? How amazing would it be if your music could take you around the world? What if you managed to find people from all corners of the world that connected with you and your music?

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A Nashville Musician Needs Us... A Run To Joplin Missouri

Hi Nashville Friends & Family,

I have a favor to ask. If I was there I would do this but I’m in New York feeling really unable to do the Maximum I can.

Vince Romanelli is an extraordinary friend and independent musician who I adore needs us.
see why I love him here

His bandmate Kenny’s parents just lost everything they had in Joplin.

Vince is leaving tomorrow evening to drive to Joplin on a supply run.

Anything you can do to contribute will be deeply appreciated.

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One Man's Ode To The Beauty Of Bandcamp

The album format has it tough these days. With all the FB posting, tweeting, and social networking going on, how can any musician hope to grab attention with a product that takes longer than three minutes to experience?

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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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