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What They Really Mean: The Musician's Guide to Industry Speak

You email your heart out to target industry people and you are probably used to not getting many responses. This is the life of a hustling artist. Don’t hate it – embrace it. I always tell my bands – if you feel like you’re doing it wrong, you’re not! You’re doingsomething proactive; therefore you’re doing it right.

First things first – don’t get discouraged by rejection (you can read my other blog here with more info on that). Sometimes you might not get any responses. But when when you do, they are seemingly cryptic. As a fellow industry person, trust me when I say we aren’t trying to make you rip your eyes out. We are talking in industry speak. We are moving quickly, managing a million things and sometimes the idiosyncrasies can get lost in translation. Sometime we are too short and a more elaborate answer could help, we know.

It takes that one email sent in the right moment to the right person to change everything. Hopefully this blog helps to navigate some of our answers and feedback.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Swimming Upstream


Swimming Upstream

Since releasing my first digital album back in 2002, technology has played a crucial role in the distribution of the music I create. At that time, CDs were still the way folks listened to music but sales were definitely well in decline. Napster had scared the crap out of the music industry and was shut down for good. Mp3s were all the rage and there were these things called iPods that were changing the way people consumed their favorite songs and albums.

Thanks to and Creative Commons, I was able to distribute my music free of charge to my listeners without fear of the music being used for commercial purposes. I’d release a concept album that could be downloaded and enjoyed around the world. At the time, this was a novel idea for an independent artist.


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6 Artists Who Are Amazing At Twitter – And What You Can Learn From Them

Let’s not beat around the bush: tweeting is easy. Even the most cursory glance at the Twitter feed of just about any celebrity will prove this point. For example, it probably didn’t take Ashanti very long to come up with her classic “Hey yalll!!! What do u think about face book??” So it’s true that tweeting is easy, but using Twitter as an effective tool to engage with your fan base and build your career - is hard. Lucky for you, there are a few musical artists who have Twitter figured out so why not learn from them and see what you can apply to your own future tweets.


You could choose to forgo basing your Twitter identity on your music at all. Seems counterintuitive but some people make it work for them, like Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. He tweets almost nothing about what he sings about, but tirelessly about political and social issues he cares about.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Tips From Jack Conte: 6 Keys to Success


Can LANDR Replace Your Mastering Engineer?

Drag-and-drop online mastering is here, and it’s free to try. LANDR provides unlimited 192 kbps mp3 masters of your tracks in seconds.

If you like what you hear, you can pay for uncompressed 16-bit .wav masters. Pricing is very reasonable at $9 for four or $19 for unlimited masters per month. Paid users also get to select the “intensity” of the mastering: low, medium (the default), or high.

Their algorithms were refined over eight years of university research, and they even have a resident astrophysicist. An astrophysicist!

Guess this mastering engineer is out of a job, right?

To find out, I selected tracks from three recent mastering jobs, to compare my results with LANDR’s.

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Tips From Jack Conte: 6 Keys to Success

The new music industry is really about finding your own path - one that is unique to your music and career. That’s exactly what Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn did with Pomplamoose and it is the foundation on which Jack’s new endeavour, Patreon, is built. Pomplamoose and Patreon may not be names you see plastered all over billboards and flashy advertisements, but Jack and Nataly have made a sustainable career for themselves, and that is something all musicians should strive for.

Recently, I talked to Jack Conte about some of the tips and strategies that have gotten him to where he is today - living comfortably as a musician and CEO. He gave me some really great advice that you could be incorporating into your music career right now. Here’s a few tips, but we’ve got a full hour of information for you that you can check out in this free webinar.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: What I Learned From Releasing Monthly Music Videos for a Year


What I Learned From Releasing Monthly Music Videos for a Year

Over the last year, people have been responding to me differently. They view me as someone who is a famous, successful musician… People want to be part of a winning enterprise and they are star struck because they have watched my content on-line and know that many others have as well. I can command more a higher fee for concerts becasue people’s perceptions of how much I am worth as an artist has changed.

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YouTube is NOT removing music! Well... probably not yours anyway.

For the past 3-4 days, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing from artists and local labels asking why YouTube is going to be removing their music. For those that haven’t already heard, YouTube (owned by Google) is planning on launching its own subscription music service soon. It has been in negotiations with the 3 major record labels and the independent labels to set a rate for their music used in the new service. The details of these deals has been kept very quiet, but apparently the Big 3 have already signed on, as have most of the independents. Only a small percentage of indies are holding out for better rates. 

The big swirl of confusion started a few days ago when the Financial Times website posted a story quoting YouTube exec Robert Kyncl, stating music could start being removed in a couple of days. This sent “the internets” into a frenzy, and is what began my phone ringing.

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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry


3 Ways Musicians Can Learn from Other Industries

When I was in my MBA program, I often learned more about business from business owners (and running one myself) than the instructor. Usually, the people out in the field have a different perspective than those who are teaching. With the music industry, you have experts who come at it from many different angles: managers, lawyers, record labels, promoters, booking agents, publicists, journalists, solo artists, bands, studio musicians/session players, academics, consultants, and more. One of my favorite ways of learning is to study how other people are approaching their music career. Another is to look completely outside of the music industry itself.

When I want to improve on something specific, I often see what other successful artists are doing. This can be anything from a website layout, social media posts, biographies, and press kits to music videos, color palettes, song formats, and live performances. I often keep a portfolio of these artists’ work to monitor trends, key words, and imagery. It’s like having a list of reference songs in the studio when recording and mixing: the collection becomes a good point of reference to compare against.

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How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry

We’re in the midst of the greatest music industry disruption of the past 100 years. A fundamental shift has occurred — a shift that Millennials are driving.

For the first time, record sales aren’t enough to make an artist’s career, and they certainly aren’t enough to ensure success. The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone.

Even superstars have it tough. Pitbull — despite having 50 million Facebook fans and nearly 170 million YouTube plays — has sold less than 10 million albums in his entire career. This is the reality of the new music industry, which is built off of liquid attention, not record sales.


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MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: 7 Dangers To Watch Out For When Considering Music Promotion Services