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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).

Entries in music career (64)

Wednesday
Feb222012

Marketing OneOH!One: Break On Through To The Tangential Side

[Originally written for the Berklee Blog created for their Intern Program way back in January of last year, when Greenberg obviously had a lot of time on his hands, somewhere before going to sleep and those dark hours after midnight.]

When I interview interns for the Ted Kurland Associates program, which I oversee here at TKA, more than a few want to know if they are going to work directly with the agents, or with management, as if the marketing side of it were tangential to their education, not only as an intern at TKA, but as a whole to their career. Of course, working with the artists is more interesting than working with the pictures of the artists; getting into the thick of the business of music is really the key to their understanding of the booking process. I know that, which is why I try and give them face time with the agents.

Hopefully Berklee-ites…As this was first written for Berklee’s intern blog, I needed to address them head on. But you know, for all those who did not get into Berklee, got into, but could not afford Berklee, go somewhere else less fanatically music-oriented, or just answer “uh…Berkeley?” when asked about the Boston Music School, you can insert the name of your own school where-ever you see that moniker; making this as close to a real one-on-one with me — as that is less and less likely to happen the busier I get in this race to the finish — instead of the usual impersonal read you get off a blog like this one.

So, let’s start this again. Hopefully (Insert Your School Name Here & add the “ites” or just add, “all the young dudes and dudettes”) reading this will have a career where they can afford to shave off a nice percentage for a manager; one who understands all this tangential business kind of stuff and can honestly oversee the marketing. For nowadays, you need the right kind of marketing crew who knows how to use all the bleeding-edge tools-of-the-minute in order to shoot your career into the stratosphere, and, even more important, keep it there. Before you do, there is one basic term you need to understand. It’s not too hard to get, though I am perplexed when starving artists don’t even have this tool tucked under their belts. Perhaps that’s why they are starving?

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Tuesday
Feb142012

If Your Music Career Was Like a Food Cart

I often like to compare business practices of other industries and to take the lessons learned to apply it towards a music career. The other day, I was thinking about the food industry and it was so much like our world in music. I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family and started helping my parents’ restaurant business when I was still in elementary school so many of these lessons came quite early in life.

Here in Portland, OR, most people are starting their food business in the form of a food cart. It’s less expensive, there’s less risk, and you’re often grouped together in a “pod” of other food carts so often times you’ll just get crowds of hungry people who would like some food but are unsure of what they’d like yet (or you can be exposed to the customers of other carts). Picture yourself as a chef who wants to make a living doing what they love for a living: cooking. Not much unlike the music industry isn’t it?

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Wednesday
Jan252012

A Musician’s Guide To Setting And Achieving Goals For 2012

The last half of 2011 was intense for a lot of us.  The financial news across the world remained bleak, Occupy Wall Street was all over the news as the 99% spoke up to be heard.

The music business continued to take hits with Spotify’s arrival and news of more layoffs at record labels, management companies as we all scratched our heads to blog about positive things and good outcomes

Many of you may have seen this article (or another one) on setting goals as they crop up at this time of year.

It’s a new year and a clear slate is in front of all of us. The turning of the calendar from 2011 to 2012 is an ideal time to set your goals. I see a marked difference between artists who set finite goals and those who do not regardless of what is happening in the world and in the news.

Ask yourself: Is this the year I want to make a difference for my music career?  And if so – what difference and how?

Think of goal setting as if you were driving in a foreign place – You wouldn’t get where you expect to go without a clear set of directions. Goal setting is like drawing a map for yourself.

This article is designed to assist you in creating a personal roadmap for achieving what you would like with your musical career this year, whether you consider music your hobby and you do it part time or you are making a living out of it full-time.

I have included a few links from some of the best musician related posts on how to think about and achieve goals as well.  So, bookmark this long article and refer to it throughout the year!

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Thursday
Jan122012

The Compelling And Powerful Power Of Confidence

I’ve seen oodles of bands perform over the years in dark and dingy small clubs to soft seat theatres to hockey arenas. I’ve seen some of the world’s best and quite possibly the worst. I’ve also worked one-on-one with countless musicians and aside from sheer musical talent, one of the things that separates the good from the great is confidence.

When I think of bands without confidence, I think of shoegazers for example. You know, those bands who stand on stage and simply stare at their feet, too shy to truly connect with the audience. Too nervous to even look up and be ‘present’, for fear of being judged.

Think about it. Who’s more entertaining to watch on stage? Someone who has no confidence can be incredibly boring. In fact, you don’t even watch them, you end up watching the other guys. 

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Wednesday
Jan112012

Artistic Efficiency: How to Create More and Get Out of Your Own Way

Eight years ago, I left college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music. Untested and honestly, quite naive, I spent the next three years using money from designing websites freelance to ineffectively tour as an artist around the country, gigging myself into over $6k of high interest credit card debt. Embarrassed and defeated, I stopped writing, I stopped playing music outside of my home, and my answer to “what do you do?” begrudgingly changed from music to websites.
 
Fast forward to today and I’ve been debt free for over 2 years.  Within that time, I self-funded my own full-length record from cash and recently started a music marketing company to promote independent artists. I took 2 months, wrote/recorded and shot a video for one song a week about anything my blog readers submitted and released them all for FREE, and I’m currently in the process of booking the most extensive tour I’ve ever played.
 
How did I do it? I want to show you and show that you can too with 5 simple rules.

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Wednesday
Dec142011

3 Signs Your Band Is Getting Scammed 

Yesterday a friend of mine called me with a question. His band had been contacted (via ReverbNation) by a company who claimed that they were a publishing and licensing firm in Los Angeles. Oooooh Los Angeles.

The company told him that they saw his profile, liked one of his songs, and thought they could get their song placed in Television and Film, but of course there was a price, three hundred dollars to be exact ($300!!!). For this price the company would spend the next year getting the band’s music out there…. rrrrrrright.

See this example contains all of the classic signs you’re being scammed and they are…

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Thursday
Dec082011

So Whatcha Want?? - The Indie Musician's Diagnostic Check

The zombie apocalypse has eroded into the music world. For every person that decides to pursue a career in the music industry, there is another that is paralyzed in a state of limbo, eyes glazed over fixating on the the current sentiment of the socio-economic climate brainwashing them into believing-  “there just ‘aint enough (paying gigs, deals, quality tours..[insert your ideal music career scenario here] etc.. )to go around.” If you’re not careful, your career could be over before it even gets started simply by inadvertently allowing your mindset to fall victim to the fickle, ever-wavering mood of the economic atmosphere.

Sadly, for some, this may very well be true, but it doesn’t have to apply to you. As a savvy indie musician, you owe it to yourself to run a regular inventory check on your mental approach to your music career. The notion that our thoughts create or sabotage our own success is a real phenomena… I promise, I’m not trying to turn you into a magical law-of-attraction fairy  - but I assure you, I’m not the first person to suggest that the link is crucial. Don’t believe me? Brian Thompson over at The Thorny Bleeder.com has a wonderful post on your thoughts and their link to your success here.

Friends, the truth is, identifying and defining key areas in your outlook regarding your expertise, and the opportunities available to you form a sturdy protection barrier for your perception - (which is directly linked to your motivation) - and ultimately poises you for a greater likelihood of success. As for success, it’s all relative. It’s up to you to do the maintenance to ensure you attain it, how you want it, and on your own terms.  Understanding the power of self-discovery and awareness is a priceless, invaluable tool in your musician’s toolbox. Here are a few ways to nurture and stay high on your own supply.

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Monday
Nov212011

Best Kept Secret for Advancing Your Music Career

Let’s paint a scenario. Let’s say you’ve got some great music. You’re an up-and-coming independent. It doesn’t matter who you are - the songwriter, the producer, the artist, the manager, or the indie label owner. You’ve generated some pretty good buzz for that music. And, you happen to have $5000 to spend. What should you spend it on? What would really help advance your career?

A. Spend it on advertising
B. Spend it going on tour
C. Hire a publicist
D. Hire a lawyer
E. Hire a college radio promoter

And the correct answer is…

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Tuesday
Nov152011

The Importance Of Taking (The Right) Action In Your Music Career

In any industry you go into, there are always two types of people: People that take action, and people that don’t. In fact, let’s not limit that to industries people are in. In LIFE, there are two types of people…

The people who take action are the people who usually end up getting further. They are brave enough to make things happen, and even if they don’t work out as planned, they can always give it another go.

So why am I talking about taking action? Simple, because this is exactly what a lot of musicians fail to do!

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Tuesday
Oct112011

Navigating the Music Business - Mapping Out A Living

So how hard is it really?  You write songs and sell them, that’s all there is to it, right?  Unfortunately the music industry isn’t quite as simple as we’d all like it to be.  There are many different sectors through which an artist must pass and even more ways in which these sectors can be negotiated and traversed.  To successfully navigate the music industry one must learn what happens in each of these sectors and how they inter-relate.  To help you get started we have a ‘Map of the Musical Universe’ courtesy of PRS (click to enlarge).

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Tuesday
Oct042011

Reason #1 for The Fan Experience – A Take That Story 

At the tail end of 2005, I was sitting in my office as Digital Product Manager at Sony (BMG) working on the Take That website. The band had been away for ten years. Take That were making their comeback and this event was marked by many things - a documentary charting their career, a new “Greatest Hits” album called “The Ultimate Collection - Never Forget” and of course their first official website. Until this point in time the “Take That Appreciation Pages,” had occupied the prime real estate of web space as the number one destination for all things Take That. The owners of the “Take That Appreciation Pages,” were doing a better job then we ever could have at managing the fans. Resources at Sony were stretched between many, many artists. The Take That Appreciation Pages,were dedicated to their cause. When it came to Take That as Lulu said in the documentary you weren’t so much a fan as you were a disciple.

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Friday
Sep302011

On Being An Entrepreneur - Ariel Hyatt Interviews Andy Bernstein Founder of HeadCount 

Last week I went to Nashville to guest lecture at my Cyber PR® Course at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU).  The class has 18 amazing students in it.  17 of them are certain they want to create careers in the Music Industry.  I believe that they can.  I told them hat the best way to do this is to follow the path of the entrepreneur and not the path of the CEO. They shared with me their visions for their own futures and I will be posting much more about them here in the coming weeks. This is the 4th installment on entrepreneurial leaders in the music business for Music Industry and Music Business students, so that they can begin to follow their paths and look to them for inspiration.  This weeks inspiration comes from a man who inspires me deeply.  Why?  Because of him and his vision (which was born out of just one frustrating political conversation) there are now 175,000 new registered voters and a network of 8,000 volunteers working to make a difference for the future of our country. Please meet Andy Bernstein who like so many of us started as a fan…

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Monday
Sep262011

Make Practice Perfect

As musicians we’re all constant works-in-progress. Picture a your favorite musical moments from even the most gifted of musicians/artists alike and I guarantee you at some point one of them will admit that during one of those times, they felt they were not performing to the best of their capabilities.  It’s an inevitable facet of the human existence, and a necessary hurdle to jump early on in your artistic career. Plain and simple. We cant be “on” everyday. On the flipside, there are things we CAN do to eliminate this truth from ever obstructing our creative improvement ever again.

It’s similar to the adage of “doing the best you can,” and in the unavoidable events where things still go awry, it means cultivating a resilience that comes from being experienced enough that your “mistakes” are good ones- or not noticeably mistakes at all.

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Monday
Sep192011

On the Money: Examining Musicians’ Revenue Streams in the New Digital Landscape

Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has launched a groundbreaking research project called Artist Revenue Streams, where we ask US-based musicians and composers, “How do YOU make Money from Music?” Project Co-Director Kristin Thomson from FMC explains in this MTT post where they idea came from for this research and why it’s so important that every musician or composer in the US takes this online survey, which is available at http://futureofmusic.org/ars until October 28, 2011.

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