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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).

Tuesday
Jun152010

What I Learned About Marketing From New York Times Best Selling Author Michael Port

I’m a self-help & business book junkie and as you well know, Music Success In Nine Weeks is a self-help book for musicians. If you read my newsletters and dig my philosophies, this probably comes as no surprise. So, as I’m nearing a birthday in June, I decided to treat myself to a weekend with New York Times best selling author Michael Port.

I read Michael’s amazing Book Yourself Solid about a year ago, and I think all musicians who are struggling to make money with live shows should read it.  I adore his teachings. So, when he e-mailed me and offered a private seminar for just eight lucky people, I took him up on it and had a phenomenal experience.

Here’s one of the golden nuggets I took away:

Marketing = Relevancy.

Social intelligence is an enormous part of being relevant and if people like you, they will naturally follow your marketing because you’re relevant to those people. Now, when you’re a musician this is difficult because your music may not at first occur as relevant to them (because they may not have heard it yet). This is where social media can become your best friend and your most useful tool for connecting to more fans because you can show what is relevant to you and therefore, relevant to them. Because social media is a fabulous, “keep in touch” tool.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun152010

After 15 years of practice...

Since 14, I was determined to be a great singer. But my pitch was bad, my tone was bad, and everyone said I was just not a singer.

At 17, I started taking voice lessons, and practicing two hours every night. I’d go into a soundproof room for two hours of long-tones, scales, arpeggios, and practicing specific song phrases over and over.

At 18, I started touring, doing two to four shows a week, always as the lead singer. Often they were outdoor shows, sometimes with no PA system at all, so I really had to learn how to project to be heard.

At 19, I was still practicing two hours a night, but still having a problem with pitch. People kept telling me I was just not a singer - that I should give it up, and find a real singer.

Then I heard a man giving a demonstration of Indian vocal music, and his pitch was so perfect, I went rushing up to him afterwards to ask how he did it.

I said, “How are you able to hit the notes so perfectly dead-on? Are you just natually good at this?”

He said, “No! When I first started singing, not only was I not within an inch of the note - I wasn’t within a football field of the note! I was horrible!”

“So how did you do it?”

He jabbed a finger in my chest, and looked me in the eye. “Practice. Thousands of hours of practice, and eventually I got it. I can show you how.”

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun142010

How to REALLY Get Your Music on Blogs: Defining Your Music, Your Lifestyle, and Your Fans

Music blogs have become an extremely effective medium for artists to garner positive, and sometimes career-changing exposure for musicians. Getting featured on a blog can cause significant boosts in music and ticket sales for an artist, and there are tens of thousands of new music blogs springing up each day. The potential reach for your music in the blogosphere is HUGE! However, getting featured on blogs is a very meticulous and time-consuming process. Blog promotion can be frustrating at first, but if you are persistent and work hard at it, the benefits for your music career can be astronomical. As with anything, it’s important to have a plan before taking the leap.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun132010

How to solve Royalty Collection Societies

This is a repost of something I published earlier today on my personal blog. Normally, I don’t like to repost stuff - but it kind of occurred to me that this is probably where I should have blogged it in the first place… :)

Performance Rights Organisations pay composers when their work is broadcast or otherwise performed in public. And rightly so. But making sure that everyone gets paid fairly is difficult to ensure - particularly when you consider how much data you’d need to track in order to be entirely accurate.

I think there’s another way.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun122010

Has the bubble burst on fan culture?

Total and instant access does not in my opinion make us like or value our artists and musicians more.  It means we take it for granted, we get used to it being free. But it can’t be free or at least it can’t carry on being free. Recorded music is not free to make, promote or produce so it should not be free to listen to or musicians can’t keep making it. We need, as musicians, labels and managers, to retain a level of intrigue and mystique around the acts that we promote. Sure promote but don’t give it all away (or certainly don’t give it all away on someone else’s website!) or to folk who are not even interested or interested enough to make any kind of move.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun082010

The Musician's Guide To The 360 Record Deal

For past few years, there has been quite a bit of talk of the ‘360 deal’ and how it is becoming the new trend throughout the music industry, as major record labels attempt to rewrite the way they do business. Some see it as signing a pact with the devil, and others see it as a way to establish the kind of powerful and influential brand that otherwise may have been impossible to attain with out the help of a label. While there are clear cases for either side of the argument, it is important to understand what a 360 deal is, and how it can both positively and negatively effect your career path.

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Tuesday
Jun082010

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 5 - Master the web !

Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun082010

Sweet Relief Musicians Fund Needs Your Help... Vote To Make A Difference For Artists In Need

I love making a difference. When musicians come up to me at conferences or at gigs and say “Thanks for writing your book, it really helped me learn how to market and promote myself more effectively.” Or, They say: “I read your articles online and they really help me and my band.”  It makes my day.

So, when my former housemate (and GM of the Fox Theatre in Boulder CO) Bill Bennett called me last year and asked me to be on the board of Sweet Relief, a charity I have long admired I jumped at the chance.

It’s all over the news these days: Approximately 15% of Americans are without health insurance, but when it comes to musicians that number sadly exceeds 45%; and that when faced with a medical emergency or disabling event there are very few resources for support that a musician can turn to. Since 1993 Sweet Relief Musicians Fund has been a strong and steady resource for professional musicians struggling with illness, disability or age related problems; but they can’t do it alone and the shrinking economy has made it that much harder for them to help (read: fewer people are donating individually).

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun082010

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 4 - Be A Geek !

Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun072010

Maverick Recording Company v. Whitney Harper

Whitney Harper is one of the 40,000+ targets of legal action the RIAA has brought against ordinary Americans in downloading music for free. Each one of these is a classic case of the little guy against giant multinational corporations. An army of lawyers with essentially limitless financial resources against individual defendants with pro bono lawyers.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun072010

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 3 - Monetize

Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun022010

Revealing Shakespeare's Inner Pirate

Our modern copyright laws are under assault by two factions. One group is demanding longer copyright terms and harsher penalties for infringers, while the other group is making noise for copyright’s abolition. This article takes a look at several artists throughout history and examines the impact that modern day copyright laws would have had on each of them.

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Wednesday
Jun022010

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 2 - Social Networks

Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun012010

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 1 - Introduction and Website

Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Click to read more ...