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Music Think Tank Open

Anybody (no really anybody) can contribute anything relevant to this page…All mp3s should be posted on the MTT radio page. If you cannot find your post here, your article may have been moved to the MTT homepage.

If you would like Music Think Tank to publish your contribution, please read our posting guidelines and our posting advice.


What IS Exposure?

“Getting your name out there.”

Some are willing to give away their entire catalog for free in hopes that the extra exposure will build loytalty and gain fans.

Other artists insist that every piece of music should be paid for and don’t care about exposure.

What, exactly, is exposure worth?

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How Important is a Lyric Anyway?!

I am about to propose that lyrics are perhaps less important than one may first think. I’ll admit, I am playing devils advocate a little because we all know that lyrics are very important, but stick with me, I may have a point and it may throw up a nice debate!

The overwhelming majority of people will say that the lyrics are the most important part of a song. They’ll claim that the lyrics are the thing they like most about a given song, especially a ballad.

This afternoon I played devils advocate with my girlfriend who told me how she loves Stevie Wonders’ “Over Joyed”. I agree with her that the song is awesome, but I wanted to know why she likes the song so much. She told me that the lyrics are beautiful and explained that the lyrics are the primary reason she loves listening to the song.

I proposed that the lyrics play a tiny role in why she likes the song. I explained that if we took the lyrics and sung them in a grungy, upbeat punk way (which I know she dislikes) then the lyrics would carry no meaning and she would avoid listening to the song!

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Don't think you need custom cover art? You might want to think again.

As with any business (and yes your band is a business) you try and find out where you can save money. I am advising not to settle for a generic album identity and to budget for a custom cover. Your cover is really an album identity. To promote your album you should use that same design for a Facebook skin, t-shirt design, set design, possible new website design and more. Building a solid brand identity is crucial for success in this modern market, and your cover becomes the visual identity of your music.

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Arrrrrgh my ears are ringing! (Part 1) - I have Tinnitus

I was never that super cool dude with the booming car stereo, where the sub-woofers significantly caused diminished trunk space, or the super cool kid on the bus with the loud iPod anyone can hear from more than 5 feet away;  Best yet, where I’m from in Jamaica, the dude in front of the speaker box at the session (alternative word for party) acting like the ridiculously loud volume is not bothering him.  Instead, I am the guy that complains about volume levels in the rehearsal room, at the sound check, and during the gig.  I’m the guy that wears ear plugs only on rare occasions, but could never sing with them because of this and that, so just never used them much.  That’s unfortunate, because now I’m the guy with TINNITUS.

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Why join the musicians union?

Most musicians have heard of the Musicians Union but what are the benefits? If you are a professional musician then you should definitely become a member. Even if you are an amateur musician who performs part time then you should still consider joining.

The Musicians Union was set up to protect the right of musicians. They negotiate and set standard minimum fees and terms of service for musicians and live bands. There is also a whole range of advice and guidance available including approved performance and recording contract for things like session work as well as legal advice available. It can be costly having contracts drawn up and professional music industry legal advice is very expensive. Joining the MU give you access to these.

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"The Internet As A Platform For Musicians"

During my last semesters at university I started to work on the relationship between music and technology (you can take a look at my blog about Media & Technologies:

My thesis “The Internet as a platform for musicians” (it can be found at: focused on how technological innovation have shaped (and still shaping) the music world.

For this work I gathered reading material such as books, magazines, online articles, etc and I had the chance to interview ( mainly by e-mail) musicians from the US, from UK and from Switzerland. There were independent musicians, soundtrack composers & producers, radio show host and other people involved in the music business.

The project is divided in 4 sections:

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Annoying music sends shoppers heading for the exits

Study illustrates the danger of retailers leaving the sound of their brand to chance

Half of Britain’s shoppers have left a store because they were annoyed by the music. This is the result of a study carried out by Immedia Plc, which develops music strategies for retailers. 

The findings illustrate the danger High Street brands face by not developing a suitable ‘sound’ for their brand.

1,000+ shoppers were asked both about their attitude to in-store music, and about how music affects them psychologically and emotionally. 


Key results are as follows:

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Getting paid gigs - a mindset issue?

An interview with Simon Scardanelli of Dr Scardo by Eliza Michaels, author of The Fan Formula.

Chatting to Simon Scardanelli about his new band, Dr Scardo, he mentioned most of their gigs are paid. I was intrigued so I asked Simon how he does it.

Scardanelli is able to look back on a long and varied career with an ironic appreciation of its highs and lows. As a child of the 60’s, Simon has been singing, writing and recording since the age of 16. He’s worked extensively in Europe and the US. Having been signed to both major and independent labels, Simon has an uncompromising attitude to his work and now releases independently through Resonator Records.

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Unusual Song Writing Technique

Hi guys,

I am not sure if any song writing teacher would recommend this but I wonder, can a poorly written, lazy and uninspiring verse make a well written chorus sound twice as good as it otherwise would have?

And, more controversially, could this be a song writing technique that is worth using?

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Internet Promotion from Zero in 2011

I know similar articles to this have been posted here many times, but I thought it would be worth giving my take today, right now, with my perceptions, right or wrong.  So please comment & debate.

Recently a friend of mine was asking where he should post up stuff for his brand new band (no web presence yet at all) given the decline in MySpace.  So I came up with this as my list in order of importance.

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Pete Townshend calls Apple 'a digital vampire'

BBC 6 Music launched “The John Peel Lecture” with Pete Townshend, the creative force, guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who, speaking live at this year’s Radio Academy Radio Festival in Salford’s Lowry Theatre.

The topic was: Can John Peelism survive the Internet? In an age of free downloads and a disposable attitude to music, can creative people earn a living, and without radio how can the “unpolished” music that John Peel championed find an audience?

The rock legend listed eight services that record labels and music publishers have traditionally provided to artists, such as editorial guidance and “creative nurture”.

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Competition: Win A Year's Subscription To The IMA Music Business Academy ($181 Value)

Hi guys. I’ve been a long term reader and contributor of Music Think Tank, and thought it’s about time I gave something more back to the community.

As some of you may know, I recently released my course ‘The IMA Music Business Academy’. It’s a course that aims to teach the independent musician the business side of the industry, giving them all the knowledge and practical skills they need to fast track their music career.

The course has received a lot of good feedback so far, and with the door now back open, I want give you the chance to get involved free of charge.

I’m giving away three prizes of a year’s long access to the IMA Music Business Academy (Each prize valued at $181). If you want to win this great prize, all you have to do is:

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Sonic Youth & Romantic Relationships

So Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore are breaking up.  This one didn’t hit me too hard as I was never a huge Sonic Youth fan (just a guy who liked some of their music), but back 15 years ago when Michael Gira & Jarboe of Swans broke up it really threw me for a loop as far as the hope of ever being able to find that ideal relationship of either (a) two equals that are successful artistic individuals (I’m not going to get into the debate about how many people are willing to shush off Jarboe & Gordon as tagalongs as I think it’s false) or (b) the ability of a semi-broken man (representing myself) to somehow ensnare an angel.  Of course both of these things are wrong & about celebrity worship, but when you’re someone obsessed with music it’s really hard to find any role models that present themselves as being in any kind of successful romantic relationship that doesn’t seem detrimental to their art.  There have been a couple minor rock star couples I’ve been friends with that have made me retain hope for the dream (in fact I did a series of interviews with them a few years ago in QRD), but also see the reality of the everyday problems in any relationship because in the end we’re all just people, which unfortunately kills the dream of one day rising up to having some kind of ideal indie rock god life.


Brian John Mitchell has run Silber Records since 1996 & the zine gone webzine QRD since 1994.  He is perhaps best known for his music in the band Remora.  He runs a daily blog about running a label where this article originally appeared.


Biz: Why You Need Musicians Insurance (Pt.1 of 2)

Life as a professional musician these days often means being self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and self-employed. You may throughout your career work with different bands, be signed to different labels, or work for different companies that help shape the story you tell. One thing that you may not consider until you’ve started to develop your career is the importance of musicians insurance. Whether you’re a band on the road, a studio owner, or a private lesson instructor, several levels of musicians insurance can help ensure that your livelihood is protected.

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