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Thursday
Dec092010

What If You Owned Music Think Tank?

It’s been a few months since the Hypebot team has taken over the stewardship of Music Think Tank. In that time, we’ve published some really spectacular material along with a couple of things that did not deserve to be featured in this thoughtful forum. Along the way, we’ve learned and are (we hope) slowly improving how we do things and the quality of the content.  But now that we’ve got our bearings, it’s time to ask for feedback: If you ran Music Think Tank, how would you do things differently?

For example
:
  • Should we more or less selective with the articles that we publish on the home page?
  • Does the current level of self-promotion in some posts bother you or is it payback for sharing their content?
  • Are there additional voices that you wished were represented here?
  • Are there topics that you wish we’re covered more on MTT?
  • Do you listen to MTT Radio and if so, how can we improve it?
  • (Your great idea here.)
We may come back to you with more questions or even a survey, but this seemed like a good place to start:  So, if you ran Music Think Tank, how would you do things differently?

Reader Comments (15)

* Should we more or less selective with the articles that we publish on the home page?
Yes, Ive been constant reader of Music Think Tank before and after hypebot took over, I was a fan of hypebot as well, having said that, recently there has been articles with misleading titles, and promotional things that are not very helpful, which is not the usual.

* Does the current level of self-promotion in some posts bother you or is it payback for sharing their content?
In the end all of us are looking for like minded individuals who can provide answers and techniques that work, with a clear outlook on the reality of this industry. Not some snake oil salesman, who calls himself a Guru and wants to sell me yet another book, or e-book or whatever. People should follow their own advise provide valuable content, show your worth, and people will be drawn to support your work naturally, rather than using some stuff to sell me a dream, and that clearly doesn't reflect the reality of this industry that infuriates me. People who contribute to this site should keep in mind the us the readers are well informed and know enough about the industry to know when someone is making exaggerated claims or is trying to portray a reality that simply no feasible.
* Are there additional voices that you wished were represented here?
I can usually tell if the article is going to be great by who wrote it. Having said that the people who write the best articles on this site, don't do it on a regular basis, but when they do they are great.
* Are there topics that you wish we’re covered more on MTT?
This is music think tank, I think music discovery, how independent artist can find ways to connect to their fans, and hopefully eventually make a living doing what they love is the purpose of this site, and it should stay true to that. At least that's what interests me about it. There are countless other website that teach people how to play an instrument or use a plug in. I want to know about the marketing and promotion side.

* Do you listen to MTT Radio and if so, how can we improve it?
Actually no I don't, But I would like to know more about it, cause i would listen to it.
* (Your great idea here.)
HAVE MORE VIDEO!!! Have a live discussion on anyone topic and several members of this website join in and weigh in on their points of view, you can use ustream or something like that.
Or Simply have people do videos and post the you tube link so we can listen to this person expose their ideas in a natural way, that would be awesome.

December 9 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I'd like more interviews. It's another good way to see how ideas play out in the marketplace. Things like the music business plans are gold, too. I like solid examples like that to go with what's discussed here.

Thanks for all of your hard work!

December 9 | Unregistered CommenterWes

I thought we did own Music Think Tank...

This site reflects the best and worst of the interactive internet: exposure to great info and exposure to unsubstantiated hype. Honestly, I can't see how you would be able to filter the latter unless you set MTT up as an actual magazine with editorial decisions based on prior investigation and commissioned pieces that you actively sponsor.

That said...

If you can seek out people with the experience of hands-on success (there's that word again) then that would be wonderful. Despite what many people seem to think, there are so many parallels to the online music biz with previous eras that the advice and experience from then is totally relevant to today.

As is the experience of people who are actually selling music now, not just talking about it.

In fact, a subtle repositioning would do immense good. De-emphasise the interweb and concentrate on across-the-board advice, theory and practise.

Invite contributors like: online PR (try Anorak/Darling/Big Machine/Fake/Purple), management (try Coda/Richard Baskind/Giant Men/ICM/Levels), record company (Mike Smith - Columbia/Sylvia Rhone - Universal Motown/Stephen King - Believe/Carl Gosling - Heavenly/Derek Davies - Neon Gold/Saul Galpern - Nude/Peter Robinson - Popjustice HiFi/ ...many more)

...you get the picture.

I've had a good look around and there really isn't another site with the same brief of looking to the future with active contribution from musos and business people from all genres.

A place where Music Week/Billboard meets Seth Godin and TED meets indie meets Joanna Average, Muso.

One thing's for sure, though. No more numbered lists. Please.

December 9 | Registered CommenterTim London

- Should we more or less selective with the articles that we publish on the home page?

I think you need to go in a different direction with your articles in general, so I will say "more selective". Still, you find ways to keep the content coming at the same pace by expanding or changing your contributors. If the article is a reheating of vapid concepts that have been covered here before (and many often are), then don't post it. If its offering a new idea or perspective, or has a good story to tell, then put it up.

- Are there additional voices that you wished were represented here?

How about, um... musicians? Ok, I know that many of your posts are by musicians, but more often it seems like they are bloggers\writers\promoters first and musicians second. I would like to think that now that Hypebot is involved, you could get in touch with serious working musicians out there today who have a hands-on story to tell. These are the best articles, when they surface on occaision.

MTT is just a little to cozy with "music PR consultant" types who, frankly, are peddling a lot of easy answers. I remain damn skeptical of the usefulness of what I read here, generally because it tends to come from people who seem to be playing more of an observational, rather than active, role in the industry. I want to read things by people who are DOING what they are writing about.

Why else am I skeptical about many authors here? Because the writing here consistently leaves out or glosses over what has to be the most important aspect of promotion: peer networking. For every article that talks about building real, working relationships with booking agents, corporate sponsors, publishers, and record labels, there are 50 that talk about getting more facebook friends and random fans. Yeah, building a fan base is what its all about, but don't try and tell me that making the right connections isn't essential.

December 9 | Unregistered CommenterJustin

No more numbered lists. Please.
No more numbered lists. Please.
No more numbered lists. Please.

December 9 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Warila

Should we more or less selective with the articles that we publish on the home page?
No. I haven't read an article yet that I considered truly useless; you can learn something from every article. Sometimes, in topics like social networking, management, marketing, etc, a few lessons are repeated through several articles, though no one article is the same. Maybe create one article per subject in wich you make a list of all the advice or something..

Does the current level of self-promotion in some posts bother you or is it payback for sharing their content?
Payback for sharing their content. If I'd dislike it, I just wouldn't look at it.

Are there additional voices that you wished were represented here? & Are there topics that you wish we’re covered more on MTT?
No, but it would be nice if there were more articles on some subjects, like Leadership, Live Music, Recording, etc.. 8 articles per topic would be a good minimum for the future I guess

Do you listen to MTT Radio and if so, how can we improve it?
No

(Your great idea here.)
Make little 1 minute videos of artists giving advice, like The Man's Guide To Love, except you take "artists" instead of "mans" and "music" instead of "love". Monthly or even weekly blogs by 1 random major artist per month/week would be cool too. John Legend this week, John Mayer the next, Lionel Richie after that, Lady Gaga after that, etc..

December 9 | Unregistered CommenterDidier Leclaire

On occasion their articles I find on the internet that I'd like to post on here just a link, but not write an article. I'm hardly qualified to write an article about COICA (the bill that may fight piracy or destroy the internet depending on who you believe), but I think it would be of interest to folks on this site to read some of the stuff I've read about it. Or I just did a series of interviews with label owners for my webzine, but I hate disguising a self promotion as an article so I didn't post something on here about it. But maybe a quick links tab where it's just a URL & 100 character description would be a cool addition.

i don't visit the homepage. i just read through the feed and when other people share articles on twitter.

December 9 | Registered CommenterElliott Fienberg

I've been a dedicated reader of MTT for the past couple years, and as you say, I recently started to notice, for lack of a better word, the deterioration of the content.

Here are some examples...

- Some posts seem to be coming from people who are not part of us struggling independent artists. Their content is irrelevant, too wishful, or redundant.

- Great idea men like Dubber stopped posting great posts, at least on a regular basis, which is a shame.

- Some of the articles seem to come from people whose real intention is to take advantage of and prey on independent musicians, as opposed to help them.


If I owned MTT, I'd be more choosey of who gets to write and what gets published.

People have different views and opinions so they can vary. But the quality and authenticity of what's being said, which was what got me and so many other independent artists into MTT in the first place, may well be more closely monitored.

I'd also make sure that the content is relevant to the current independent music climate, and I'd avoid redundant messages posted over and over by different people.

That is, if I owned MTT and had enough time/energy to do all of the above...


-Sincerely from your big fan in Japan.

December 10 | Unregistered CommenterAki

I would offer regular local music business missions, track progress, and offer the results as tangible lessons for the community. And appreciate that it might have stimulated some local scenes.

December 10 | Unregistered CommenterTom Davenport

I would keep on paying the hosting bill and keep the domain renewed for as long as possible.

Everything works in fazes and through the years i have seen some changes, both good and bad on MTT.

The site is obviously already working...

Thanks everyone for your comments and articles!!

December 11 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

Been thinking about this one all day, be gentle.

As i have stated above, MTT is working well. What i have not put though is how it works well.

The articles are written up by more experienced musicians, digital marketers, web developers than i am. I am vying for my own success in those three industries and from what i already know, I can pick and choose what i want to take from each article. The fact there will always be a new main article every week covering a totally different angle appeals to me as well.

The second part of how MTT works so well is due to people who comment and then the main article writer returning new ideas based upon what the commenters have brought up.

Here is my first brainstorm/idea i would implement to answer "What If I Owned Music Think Tank?"

I would make the comments, of which the visitors create, selectable so that you could add them to the main article under a sub heading. This will then help me define either my own answer to an argument through other peoples perspectives and also save me writing notes down, as instead I could save the bookmark.

Or something like that... :p

December 11 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

Not sure what I would do if I owned MTT, but as a fairly regular reader/visitor I would like to see more "nuts & bolts" on how to put some of these ideas to work. Guys like Andrew Dubber can spout ideas all day long, but I want to hear from someone who has found a way to implement an idea successfully. I'm not saying that "idea" pieces are bad - sometimes I can run with an idea, but most often I find the idea pieces too vague or too generalized.

And while an idea might look good on paper (or pixels, as the case may be) it may not be practical or "do-able" in the real world. So give me ideas (that is the purpose of a "think tank," after all) and supplement them with empirical data & "how-to" information.

I don't mind a little self-promotion from folks on occasion in the comments; I actually am bothered more by the music biz "self-help gurus" that contribute articles designed to promote their books, paid online courses, etc. The vast majority of them seem to be simply out to take advantage of the desperate, and again, they offer ideas with no track record.

As to being more selective vs less, I need to catch up on my reading here a bit before I can say. In general I tend to prefer the high-quality providers of content over the high-quantity, but who's say what is "high" quality, right?

I haven't listened to the MTT radio yet, but I will soon, and I'll let you know my thoughts.

Overall, just don't make too many radical changes; I liked the old MTT quite a bit.

December 13 | Registered CommenterClark Colborn

A very small request. I sometimes print your articles and take them with me. I'd love a better print function that is simply txt and minimizes pages needed to print. Of course, i try not to print whenever possible.

Keep up the good work.

December 13 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Rinker

Peter,

I use the method below (use link)..
http://www.echolouder.com/echo-louder/do-you-consume-lots-of-information-heres-an-rss-tip.html

And there is a print article link (button) at the top of every post that should work.

December 13 | Registered CommenterBruce Warila

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