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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).

Wednesday
Sep102014

The Musician’s Guide to the Sales Funnel: 10 Steps to Selling Tons More Tickets, Music, and Merchandise 

If you’ve been struggling to get results from your marketing efforts and continue to spend more money than your band makes, then this is a must-read.

 Independent - (adj) - 1: Not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc. 

2: Thinking or acting for oneself. 

As musicians, we tend to think we can do it all. We’re independent artists. We’ve got our music, our talent, our fans—and nothing else matters. Well, at least that’s how it works in theory. 

The reality is we need help, and lots of it. I don’t care how good you are—there is simply not enough time to do everything and still be a master at your craft, which is the music itself. You need tools and you need to outsource. You need to learn how to run your band like a business, and being resistant to this fact is the fastest way to kill off whatever income—and independence—you have left. 

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Monday
Sep082014

Musicians Guide: How to Get and Keep a Good Day Job

Working for others doesn’t have to suck – plus, you can even learn to make any boss love you …


The situation

Many players, composers, and engineers start their careers in music and find they still need that side job while they get going. Others might find themselves without a gig for the first time in years and need something to fill in the gap. Getting better at our craft is a life-long pursuit, one full of ups and downs. We have all been there. So here are a few tips we hope will help keep you on the path toward growing your career in the music business.
 
The interview: Always make a good first impression

Don’t spew all your hopes and dreams at the interview. The manager at Best Buy doesn’t want to hear about the summer tour you are hoping to book. Remember, at the start, you likely will have to overcome some anti-musician prejudice, especially if you’ve got long hair, tattoos, and piercings. In addition, if the first impression you make as a prospective employee is “Hey man…but I’m gunna need some time off next summer,” you might not even get past the first interview, never mind the job.

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Saturday
Sep062014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Musicians as Entrepreneurs

Wednesday
Sep032014

New Value in a Song for an Address


Follow the history of musicians and you’ll find a time when the minstrel played and was paid, but not always in the currency of the day.

Go back a few decades. You’ll find a time when musicians were led by record labels who would pick up the promotional tab and pay artists in cash. Far more groups were on the major circuits of shows. Merchandising became a major revenue source (for a few), and song sales succeeded because of thousands of record stores. As an artist, it was far easier to dream of striking it big.
“I went to see a local band last Saturday night. Great music. Enjoyed myself. Yet, at the end of the evening the wife and I got up from our table and left. The only revenue generated went to the bar.”

Look around at what you have to work with today; fewer artists are getting broadcast radio play, song sales have crashed because music is everywhere, and merchandising is weak (except for those few major acts receiving major label support).

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Tuesday
Sep022014

Musicians as Entrepreneurs

The music industry isn’t the same as it was in the past. A lot of people have spent a lot of time complaining about this following the rise of the internet, but like everything else, it’s just change. Change isn’t positive or negative, rather it’s what you do with that change that matters. The successful musicians and music business people are embracing that change and running with it as a new breed of entrepreneurs.

In today’s music industry there is no one-size fits all model. We are all free to experiment and find out what works best for us, our fans, and our music careers. This is the true definition of entrepreneurship. Today’s music business approaches would not have worked in the past when technology was expensive and valuable connections were hard to come by.

As an indie musician, I already know you are extremely creative—more so than most business people out there! You may have never thought of it this way, but you have the same mindset, problems to solve and thought process as an entrepreneur. The key is to harness that creativity in your career, capitalize on this new artist ecosystem, and build it into your own model.

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Saturday
Aug302014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How to Release Your Album Successfully (Even If You Don't Have a Record Label)

Friday
Aug292014

Could Video Games Teach Us to be Musicians?

With all the musical titles available on all games consoles, it is likely that you’ve given music a go through the medium of video games, be it from uncoordinatedly failing on Guitar Hero to a very out of tune rendition of your favourite song on Singstar. Although video games have been scientifically proven to help excel in many areas, with it sometimes being used specifically as a learning tool, it leaves the question; can my Xbox make me into the next big pop star?

For this piece, we won’t consider the dance games, mainly because they are awful, but also due to the fact that dancing is not a requirement of a musician; it helps, but is not a requirement. To begin we’ll discuss a staple for a musical artist, the singing. Most, in the privacy of their own home, probably consider themselves quite the singer, however when put into the bright lights of the karaoke set, tragically crumble. However with the vast number of singing based game which have been released, on nearly all consoles, the humble karaoke machine has been made redundant. But do these games help our singing, the answer; no. The reality is, these games are merely glorified Karaoke machines, which due to a clever marketing team, has got you needing a $300 console to play it on.

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Wednesday
Aug272014

How to Release Your Album Successfully (Even If You Don't Have a Record Label)

Whether you paid thousands of dollars working with a great producer or made your own bedroom recording, chances are you want people to hear your music.

Over my 20 years in the music industry I’ve seen bands and even record labels make the same mistakes which ultimately prevent their record from standing a chance for success.

In order for people to hear your music and increase the chances your album or EP release will be a success, you need to create a solid plan before you release the record.

 
1. Do NOT release the record the same day you receive your masters back or your CDs arrive on your doorstep.

This is the #1 mistake we see bands make. You’ve spent months, if not years, on your album and you just want people to hear it. I get it. However, as counterintuitive as it may seem, you greatly reduce the amount of people hearing your music by releasing it right away.

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Tuesday
Aug262014

5 Ways To Promote Your Music Teaching Business 

Do you want to start a private music teaching business? Would you like to find more students? A successful private music teacher possesses two essential features. 1) The ability to communicate and teach effectively 2) The ability to understand marketing and business. You can be a good teacher, and pick up referrals over time, but if you want to earn a full-time income and find students more quickly, you need to understand the business aspects of music teaching. This article contains five offline methods for promoting your music teaching business

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Saturday
Aug232014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 11 Ways To Be A Happier Musician Person

Wednesday
Aug202014

11 Ways To Be A Happier Musician Person

As artists we are constantly evaluating ourselves…and others. In order to succeed we make many sacrifices such as financial, social, emotional, or physical. I don’t believe in the “tortured artist”. Being an artist can be a hard life, but it doesn’t have to be. If you are mindful of what’s going on with you and the world around you, you’ll realize being an artist can be the most rewarding and fulfilling path you can take if you’re willing to work for it.

1) It’s about the journey, not the destination.

Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own struggles that you know nothing about. Stop coveting others’ success. It’s cancer for your band. Stop perceiving others as a threat and try not to be so hard on yourself. It’s not about all about the numbers or followers. It’s about you and who is connecting with what you do. If you’re in it for fame, you’re in it for the wrong reason. Focus on what you have accomplished and what strengths you do have and try being happy for others’ success. Everyone has their own path…and if you’re not happy with where yours is taking you, change it.

2) Stop the hate.

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Tuesday
Aug192014

What Does Free Streaming Mean for the Music Industry?

Music lovers everywhere can rejoice! T-Mobile announced that customers can stream music without worrying about going over their data. Users will be able to use apps like Pandora, Slacker Radio, iHeart Radio and Spotify on the latest T-Mobile phones and tablets like the Galaxy Note 3 to listen to music whenever and wherever they want. While this is obviously great for consumers, what does this do for the musicians? How are streaming services affecting the music industry? While there are some doubts that this move benefits the industry, the outlook is generally favorable.

Increased Exposure for Artists

In 2013, Nielson reported that 68 percent of Americans used music streaming services in the past year, and that sales of music went down 6.3 percent. Although this could hurt bigger artists, independent and lesser-known musicians can enjoy an increase in exposure by putting their music on this medium.

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Saturday
Aug162014

MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 6 Social Media Tips for Entrepreneurs 

Thursday
Aug142014

6 Social Media Tips for Entertainers

Although some businesses are still trying to figure out the value of building a fan base on social media, many entertainers have long understood that attracting a vibrant community of fans is critical to their success. Perhaps this is why entertainers were among the first to embrace social media as a way to engage and communicate with fans. Since the most effective marketing strategies include building a broad, dynamic, and engaged community around your act or business, social media can represent a healthy percentage of your marketing efforts. There’s much more to social strategy than creating a fan page, posting photos, or amassing a large following on Twitter.

By adding your own personality and flair to the following steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful social media strategy.

1. Choose Quality Over Quantity

You’re a busy person! You don’t have time to pour hours and hours into having an amazing social media presence across multiple platforms, and that’s okay! Instead of having a mediocre presence on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblrLinkedInand Pinterest, it’s better to have a strong presence on one or two of these platforms. Choose the social network(s) that suit your business the best and encourage the most interaction from fans and clients.

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