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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).

Saturday
Mar062010

Ariel’s Tips On How To Advance Your Career at SXSW

I can not believe that March is upon us that means only one thing… It’s SXSW time again! Undoubtedly it will be just as full-on as last year with over 100,000 attendees expected to flood the venues and streets of Austin downing (free) Dixie and (free) BBQ and soaking up the music and the mayhem….

 If you are packing your bags for Austin Here are my tips for you (This guide is not just for SXSW; it’s also for any music conference out there!)

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar032010

Rock Band Network authoring best left to the pros

After 45 hours of work over six weeks, my song is one of the 118 approved to be in the RBN Store when it launches. My last article laid out what it takes to get your song in the game, namely a deep skill set and lots of time. While I managed to clock in well under my 60-80 hour estimate, I had a considerable head start. Knowing what I know now, would I do it again?

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb262010

Do you have conference advice for musicians? Want to be in my SxSW talk?

Have you had some success at a music conference?

Could you distill a lesson from that success that you could share as advice to other musicians in under 2 minutes?

I’m doing the opening keynote-style one-hour talk at the South by Southwest Music Conference in three weeks, and I’d like to include you, if so.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb242010

3 Music Biz Mindsets I Learned From My 3 Year Old

The other day I had the pleasure to spend the afternoon with my son Elijah.

After hanging out and playing with him for a while, the scene turned pretty nasty when the talk of a lollipop surfaced.

Now, anyone who has kids knows very well that when the discussion around candy hit’s the table, you know you’re in for a tough negotiation. They usually nag until that sugar stick is firmly wedged in their mouth without interruption.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb222010

What Do You Pretend to NOT Know About the Music Biz?

Does that seem like an odd question to ask? Read this and I think you’ll agree there are many times when you simply lie to yourself about the workings of the music business and how to find success in it. And it’s costing you big time!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb182010

Secrets In Stereo 2 Years + No Live Shows = $97,000 In Defense of 1,000 True Fans - Part VI 

Here I go again….  It’s Part 6 in my 1,000 True Fans series. 

For this installment I asked my new friends at Sorted Noise in Nashville to introduce me to some of their artists who are doing it right.  I am happy that they introduced me to Josh Ryan. Josh fronts the group Secrets in Stereo and in just two years has made some impressive inroads by using social media (blogs) to bond with a tight knit community of fans who support him. What is interesting about Josh is the fact that he makes a lion’s share of his money from TV/Film placements and not from live shows. 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb172010

Create An Elaborate Plan

The name of your brand, the URL you use, the first word you type, the sequence in which you release your songs, your lyrics, the images you feature, the videos you release, the messages you type, and everything you put into your online presence should be part of an elaborate plan to seduce fans.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb152010

My Interview with SXSW Magazine on Online Strategy for Musicians

At last count, if I’m correct, I’ve attended the SXSW Conference at least seventeen times, and on many of those visits I have been very grateful for the opportunity to speak on a panel. When Brian Zisk, a co-founder of the SanFran MusicTech conference, invited me to speak again on a panel in December, and also to join him on his panel at this year’s SXSW, I gave pause.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb152010

Swami Sivers on Leadership

In case you have not seen this video on leadership lessons by Derek Sivers, have a look.  This video is destined to be a classic, and it’s one of those YouTube videos that parents should consider showing to their children.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb092010

The five most crucial points for any new artist just starting out...

The following was copied from the interview pertaining to Music Think Tank Andrew Dubber and I gave to the BBC.

1) Decontextualize first, promote second. Artists are in love with their songs/music, and they should be. However, prior to throwing a year of your life into promotion, force yourself to get anonymous feedback from at least thirty friends, twenty artists, and from ten industry professionals. If most love your songs, then promote. Otherwise, go back to the classroom/studio and learn how to make “better” music first.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb082010

a Concept for Reinventing MySpace

Most of the people that show up to a band’s MySpace page are not randomly browsing to find unknown music; rather they already have a specific (and rather obvious) purpose in mind (no specific order):

Purpose 1 - To get information or updates:

Fans want to stay updated.  Casual fans want the essentials.  Super fans want updates on everything.

Purpose 2 - To listen to an artist they already know about:

Previously recommended, or previously discovered, or entering your MySpace page via a Google search, fans are often clicking in to have a (another) listen.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb042010

Digital Distributor Math: Choosing the Right Distributor for Your Band

Question:
You are a musician and you want to sell your music on digital retail sites.  You are deciding between two digital distributors to deliver your new album to retailers.  The two distributors, Distributor A and Distributor B, have different payment terms and fees.

  • Distributor A charges a one-time album set-up fee of $20, plus an annual “maintenance” fee of $20, and takes no percentage of your sales (Distributor A passes 100% of the sales revenue it collects on to the artist).

  • Distributor B does not charge any set-up or annual maintenance fees, and takes a 10% cut of your sales revenue (you the artist keep 90%).

Assume both distributors will deliver your content to the same stores and offer identical service except for the payment terms. Which distributor do you choose?

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb042010

Man wins Grammy award and then racks up seventy-eight plays on MySpace the next day.

Several days ago, Allan Shadow published a colorful tribute post about David “Honeyboy” Edwards and how he received a Lifetime Achievement (Grammy) award last week. 

Here’s a ninety-four year old man that has given his life to songwriting and music.  How could we (humans) not be somewhat interested in this story?  At least that’s what I thought.

I counted seventy-eight plays on MySpace (where Mr. Edwards’ online presence is maintained) - twenty-four hours later.  It’s kind of shocking at first, but I guess it’s not all that surprising when you think about our culture.

If you have fans, an audience, Twitter followers or Facebook friends, please let’s show this man the ATTENTION he deserves. 

Congratulations Mr. Edwards.

Tuesday
Feb022010

The Musician’s Guide to Facebook Fan Pages - Six Apps to make your Artist Fan Page Pop!

Have a Facebook fanpage but still not sure how to make it pop?

Many artists have been asking me about the bext Apps for their Facebook Fan Pages

Here are six Apps that will set you on the right path, help you to stand out from the pack and keep your fans engaged and interested in you on a consistent basis.

Click to read more ...