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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.

Monday
Dec262011

How an Indie Musician is Taking Control of Her Health Insurance Problem until our Country Awakens from its Dark Age. (What you probably don’t know about the Affordable Care Act and more)

(It is a dark age people: in my dream last night I went to a doctor’s office. Doc pulled me aside and said, “look, we need to talk about how you are going to pay for this before I look at you. If you don’t have insurance it’s ok. If you do, I will have to charge you for every question you ask me.” I said I did and spent the next 3 hours trying to find the receptionist as the tumor on my leg kept growing. I literally woke up crying.)

You probably just decided it wasn’t worth worrying about health insurance. It’s all a scam you think (you’re right by the way). But then you hear the story of your friend who fell off a balcony and spent weeks in a hospital. Or your buddy who thought he was healthy and then had a heart-attack. Or one of your good friends gets a cancer diagnosis at a young age…it’s not hard to believe it could happen to you. It happened to me. I had a small tumor growing on my back that I discovered at age 29 because I accidently touched it wrong got all nauseous and dizzy and almost passed out. I got it cut out. I’m good now. I had insurance.

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Monday
Dec262011

Attention Musicians: Please Stop Using Myspace!

 Musicians and independent record labels:  As a music reviewer and internet radio station operator, I have a heartfelt plea.  Please, please stop sending links in your press kits to your Myspace page.  As a reviewer, I often receive  dozens of submissions every day.  That means I have a lot of artists to choose from, since I only publish a few reviews every week.  With all that selection, do you really think I am going to try to listen to your music on a website where I am constantly bombarded with music players that don’t play, assaulted with pop up ads, and tortured with pages that take forever to load?  Quite honestly, I am going to simply skip over the press kit with the Myspace link, and review somebody that provides links to one of the numerous quality websites designed especially for musicians, such as ReverbNation, Bandcamp, or Soundcloud.  Myspace seems to be run by 5 year olds, and greedy, incompetent five year olds at that.  To any musician that wants to convey a sense of professionalism, I would recommend that the only thing one should post on their Myspace page is a link to an actual functioning website where fans and reviewers can have an enjoyable and simple listening experience.

 

Matt Hundley is a musician and creative director of www.IndieReviewer.com

Friday
Dec232011

Planning corporate music entertainment

Planning corporate entertainment can be daunting. There is a lot to consider and getting it wrong might not improve your career prospects. Perhaps a cheesy cabaret entertainer or comedian won’t quite cut it. Most corporate companies are looking to impress potential business partners so you need to go all out with the entertainment.

For most corporate businesses though the entertainment industry is not too familiar. The best place to start is a reputable entertainment or music agent. A live band always goes down well at such event however you need to be sure of the quality of the act. Bands that perform at corporate events understand the attitude and planning needed to make sure everything runs smoothly. There are lots of great bands out there but not all have experience of working with corporate clients. If you can find an entertainment agent that specialises in corporate bands then even better.

If you are looking for everyone to have a great time and provide a true party atmosphere then live music is second to none. A great front man can work the crowd and get the whole audience involved. By booking through an entertainment agent you are usually assured a quality band. You should always talk to the agent though and be very precise about your requirements. Listen to demos usually available on the agent’s site and browse pictures and video footage.

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Thursday
Dec222011

Guerrilla Promotion; Building Better MI Relationships

Contacting music industry professionals can be easy if you have the right approach. Unfortunately, many independent artists do not use the right approach and have limited success. The Guerrilla Promotion tips in this post are designed to help musicians that find it difficult to get in touch with or to work with music industry professionals. If you find yourself leaving a lot of message that don’t get returned, or cant get people on the phone, this article may help.

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Wednesday
Dec212011

The Label Phenomenon Epiphany 

As a new guy here I hope not over stepping my bounds but I had an interesting discussion with a musician friend and thought I’d share it because honestly maybe I’m the only one who thinks this way…

I put out my new record today (Dec. 20th) and while talking with a friend about it he said “when are you going to start shopping it to labels?”  I thought about it very briefly and said “there are a couple small labels I’d like to get it out to but that’s actually not the first move on my list…” after I said that he looked at me like I had just kicked his baby or something and said “first of all, why would that not be a top priority and secondly why only small “independent” labels?  You should be banging down the door to get in with the big guys, that’s where the success is.”  I graciously disagreed and he asked why.  (he asked in kind of a prick type, puffed up minor might I add) 

Here’s my reasoning for not going after the big guys and feel free to add your two cents:  

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Wednesday
Dec212011

Crowdsourcing Live Music

Switchcam, a new music startup, is algorithmically “reconstructing” concerts from fan footage.  Switchcam has created software that takes concert videos from YouTube and syncs them together recreating the event.  The syncing is so exact, that viewers are able to switch views and camera angles enabling the viewer to see the concert from different perspectives.  

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Tuesday
Dec202011

Musicians looking for Gigs

Are you a musician looking for gigs near you? Come to www.MusicianMe.com and search a large directory of gigs that are lined up. Connect with other musicians and with employers!

Tuesday
Dec202011

5 Simple Steps to a Great Sounding Drum Mix

When I record drum or percussion tracks for clients, 9 times out of 10 I’m sending the RAW wav files straight from Pro Tools. Of course, my goal is to always get the best sounds that I can possibly get in the studio and at the source. However, mixing and processing the drum kit is inevitable.

In general, mixing audio is a personal art form. Everything from the style of music to the instruments chosen will determine how the mixing session will go. Because the drums are typically recorded first, it makes sense to mix the drum tracks within the context of the remaining instruments later verses starting with a processed drum mix. Of course, there are no rules here. This is just what I have found to be the most effective way to work.

That being said, I get a lot of questions from clients asking for my advice on mixing the drum kit. My only goal when mixing drums is to attempt to highlight the sounds as I hear them in the studio. Meaning, my approach is simple:

Get rid of what’s not necessary and keep what is. I know, really deep stuff right?

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Monday
Dec192011

Justin Bieber, Mr Blobby and David Hasselhoff head the list of least favourite Christmas songs. We’d rather hear Slade, Wham or Paul McCartney

Britain’s shoppers feel they are being bombarded by the same Christmas music again and again on the High Street.  This comes as a study reveals the songs people most and least want to hear while out buying Christmas presents.  

Immedia Plc, which provides music solutions to retailers, carried out research among UK consumers to find out what they liked listening to the most and the least at Christmas. 

The results show that the festive classic ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade remains the favourite song to put Britain’s shoppers in the holiday spirit.    Meanwhile, Mr Blobby’s Christmas in Blobbyland is the one song that people don’t want to hear, with Justin Bieber’s ‘Mistletoe’ and David Hasselhoff’sStille Nacht’ not far behind.  

Crucially however, while shoppers enjoy hearing ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’, they don’t want to hear it over and over again as they go from store to store.  Over two-thirds (68%) of shoppers polled by Immedia felt that the music they hear in shops over Christmas is too repetitive.  

According to Immedia’s survey, the list of favourite Christmas tunes is dominated by songs from previous decades.  The top ten includes:

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Thursday
Dec152011

Entertainment Attorney Dina LaPolt Educates Artists and Professionals On How to Navigate Business and Legal Aspects of Music Industry

Dina LaPolt, renowned Los Angeles-based attorney, who is The National Association of Record Industry Professionals’ 2011 Top Music Business Attorney, is once again bringing her expertise and experience to UCLA Extension with her popular “Legal and Practical Aspects of the Music Business” class for its tenth consecutive winter term.  LaPolt’s ability to break down into simple terms the complex legal concepts surrounding the various ways in which rights are exploited and monetized makes this course an essential for all artists, songwriters, managers, lawyers, accountants, executives, producers, publishers and other entertainment industry professionals.

Some of the most important issues covered by the course involve the growth of ancillary revenue streams for artists that are not even related to music but which have become important brand-building tools for music artists, such as sponsorships/endorsements, opportunities in television, book publishing, and creative forms of merchandising.  Licensing music for film, television and video games still create significant opportunities but licensing these rights have become very complicated due to the corporate mergers of the record and publishing companies.  To most, these subjects can be overwhelming but one of the main assets those taking this class will walk away with is a firm grasp of how to navigate one’s way through these minefields in order to have a complete understanding of today’s music business.  LaPolt, her firm’s associates,  and a stable of specific guest lecturers  will also discuss other areas as well such as issues that arise in the recording studio, recording and publishing agreements, as well as fans, brands, social networks, and cultural communities as they affect music, copyrights, and merchandising in a global music market.

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Wednesday
Dec142011

Anti-piracy platform AudioLock.NET announce new deal with Defected Records

Anti-piracy specialists Audiolock.NET, who provide robust and cost effective watermarking and anti-piracy solutions to the music industry, have announced details of a new deal with the world’s leading dance music label, Defected Records. 

The deal will see Defected running their secure watermarked promo delivery and management through the platform with Audiolock also taking care of the scanning and DMCA takedown on illegal links found online once the tracks are released via their powerful automated anti-piracy system.

 Anna Wall, Promotions Manager at Defected says…. “AudioLock.NET’s watermarking, scanning and takedown platform makes it easy to manage all our promo campaigns securely and effectively allowing us to concentrate on promoting our music” 

Ben Rush, CEO of Audiolock.NET says…..”We’re thrilled that such an iconic label has adopted our forward thinking approach to anti-piracy and we look forward to helping protect their content and supporting their ongoing fight against the music pirates”   

In addition, Audiolock.NET have also unveiled a new updated version 2.0 of the platform with a host of new functionality and features.  They are inviting new users to test drive their automated scanning and takedown system for free here

twitter.com/Audiolock

facebook.com/Audiolock

www.Audiolock.NET

Tuesday
Dec132011

Getting your bass levels right at mix down

As a mastering engineer one of the most common issues with a music mix is the bass levels. Commonly there is not enough bass, far too much bass or uneven response throughout the lower musical octaves. There can be a number of causes for bass level problems.


1)Inappropriate positioning of monitors/speakers in mix room.
2)Lack of acoustic treatment to deal with low frequency energy.
3)Speaker size inadequate to produce full range audio.
4)Low listening volume.


Ideally your loudspeakers should not be positioned in the corners this produces what is known as “bass tip up” or the proximity effect. It means that low frequency sound waves are reflected and appear in phase at the monitoring position. This means you get a bass boost at the listening spot. This can fool the mixer to believe there is more bass present than there is. I suggest trying to keep speakers 1 meter away from walls where it is practical to do so.

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Tuesday
Dec062011

A Fan-tastic Festive Quiz

A bit of light-hearted fun as the festive season hots up and the New Year fast approaches.

Imagine you are thinking about your year over a nice cup of coffee or a beer in the quiet corner of a bar. Tick the statements that accurately describe your thoughts (statements use ‘we’ and ‘our’ - if you’re a solo artist think ‘I’ and ‘my’). Be honest with yourself.

o       Over the year we generally only found new fans around gigs.

o       We haven’t got round to sorting out own web page.

o       We don’t have a fan email list yet.

o       If you look at the sites we use, it’s not very easy to get what we are about.

o       We spent a lot in the studio this year and feel disappointed with sales.

o       We tell our friends about our gigs but we’re not very good at communicating with our fans to create long lasting loyal relationships. In fact, if we’re totally honest, we’re not sure who our fans are.

o       We’re not very good at listening to anyone, particularly our fans (and also each other).

o       We do have a tendency to put our music out there and hope for the best.

o       We have a vague idea of where we want to get to.

o       We haven’t tried anything new this year so we are getting the same results.

o       Quite honestly, we don’t work well as a team; solo artist: I don’t stand up for my vision.

All/most ticked – You feel despondent and hopeless. Nothing seems to work. You seem to be going nowhere fast. Everything is a struggle. Fans have not been at the top of your priority list. You want someone to discover you and do all the work for you so you can just be left alone to make music. But you know the music industry has changed and you feel left behind and frustrated. You feel like you’re always banging your head against a brick wall. You know you can do better.

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Monday
Dec052011

Do You Really Need A Music Review?

Should you really go through the trouble of setting up a press kit, finding good music blogs, and submitting your music for a (Possibly negative) review?  The answer is a big, giant … maybe.  It all depends on the kind of music promotion you’re seeking.  So many artists will spend untold hours blindly sending EPKs out to hundreds of music blogs thinking that the resulting publicity will cause their popularity and career to skyrocket.  It’s a bit naive. (Some might call it stupid)  The reality is that the vast majority of music reviewing websites have a dedicated, but extremely small readership.  Most of the traffic to these sites comes from other musicians looking to promote their own music, and other music industry professionals. Simply sending all your music out will not by itself do much to benefit you, even if you are reviewed by several blogs.

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