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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.

Friday
Mar042011

Swiss Cheese And Toilet Paper

At least once a week I get a CD of an aspiring artist handed to me. I’m convinced Starbucks is the music and business hub of Nashville. I really try to make an effort to listen to everything that I receive. After all, I know first hand from the last fifteen years how hard being an independent musician can be.  You never know, that blank disc with the band name scribbled in mint green marker just might be the next Coldplay.

Ninety-nine percent of the time the CD is sonically not up to par (this is my nice way of saying absolutely freaking terrible!) and there are always basic song writing mistakes spread through out. Now if you had stopped reading here you would walk away thinking there is no hope and that Blake guy is a total jerk. But wait, there is hope! This is the point where we all sit back, take a deep breath, take a sip of our favorite coffee, and address the issue of why working with a producer is so important.

A friend of mine once told me about when he fell into an opportunity to work at a small

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Mar022011

Time To Find An Alternative To Facebook?

A week or so ago, I started to notice a steep decline in response to updates and general postings on my Facebook fan page. Then, like the great Sherlock Holmes, I followed the clues and stumbled upon another link in the chain, my posts were getting about 50% less impressions than before. Elementary my dear Watson. I was still puzzled until one day I saw one of my friends had posted this next clue:

 Have you noticed that you are seeing updates or getting comments only from the same people lately? That’s because Facebook made a change. You only see posts from people you interact with regularly. To change this, scroll down to the bottom of the newsfeed on the homepage and click on ‘Edit Options’, click on ‘Show Post…s From’ and change the setting to ‘All of Your Friends and Pages’.REPOST AND LET EVERYONE KNOW”

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Wednesday
Mar022011

TrueDIY Tech: How To Build Your Own Subkick™

Welcome to the first installment of TrueDIY Tech! In this do-it-yourself technology series, we will be providing details on how to create your own tools in the studio and explaining the most commonly practiced studio techniques. We’ll also be reviewing new equipment that is priced for aspiring engineers and how to use it to best suit your project.

In the video below, Chris Thomas of Strewnshank Productions explains how to build your own Subkick™ featuring audio examples showing the difference in a drum sound with and without the speaker microphone mixed in.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb252011

Industry Benchmarks: Why the Music Industry Finishes Last

1. We are spoiled. Our fans are so passionate about music that we are used to them coming to us and spreading the word. It is simply not good enough to just flier for your shows or treat every fan in the same way.

2. Whose job is it? In most industries, there is a CMO or a Marketing Operations Manager. In the music industry, there are still unclear roles about who should do interactive marketing. Is it the band, the manager, the promoter, the label?

3. Who owns the fan? Who owns the lists? Is is the band, the label, the promoter ?

4. Bright Shiny Objects. We are always trying to be one step ahead of the curve. We have to have a facebook, a twitter, 4square, a great music video, awesome tour dates. ooo and whats that?! We are distracted! We have a ton on our plate and really need to focus on a cohesive multi-channel marketing strategy.

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Friday
Feb252011

5 Game-Changing Music Industry Philosophies 

If you work in or around the music industry it’s obvious things are changing drastically. The way people perceive and find their music has completely changed. New technology has turned the music industry on it’s head. How do we keep up? and why hasn’t the industry’s platform of doing things completely flipped as well?

Over the course of the last year I’ve been researching and developing a new platform, at least for my company to operate under. Instead of traipsing around complaining about the demise of the record business (like many of the major label execs spend most of their time doing now) I figured, something’s gotta change and fast! Being the owner of a young company, I’m not going to operate by the old platform’s standards and jump aboard a sinking ship.

More people than ever before are listening to music. It’s great! They have it coming at them from all angles, it’s just fantastic. This should be a very prosperous time for the music industry. Music is everywhere - embedded in their phones, tv, public spaces etc. So much room to make money from music. So where do we start…

Here’s my top 5 game changing philosophies. I think with an outlook shift we will actually be able to sustain ourselves. Well, I hope so at least…

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Wednesday
Feb232011

The Third Ring: How To Measure Success

So just how good do you have to be to make a career out of your music?

Damn good.

Any advice that I, or anyone else, give out on how to advance your career will only help you do so if the music is amazing.  That’s why it’s important to beware of any books or courses that guarantee success, because without outstanding music, the advice won’t do you much good. You may see minimal success, sure, but it probably won’t last or grow.

So how do you measure outstanding? I was discussing my theory on this topic over the weekend with a talented local songwriter, and I thought I’d share it with the rest of you. I know, ‘theories’ can be boring, but stick with me…

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb212011

Musicians Take Note: 3D Is Not Just For Movies!

Remember getting those red and green 3D glasses with comic books back in the day? Now, 3D movies in theatres (and in people’s living rooms!) are the next big thing, and they make the old 3D specs look like antiques.

Likewise, most people with a home theatre setup have their speakers set for 5.1 surround sound, but very few people are savvy to the most immersive, ear-tingling 3D audio format that’s actually even more accessible.

Binaural audio is the sonic equivalent to today’s ultra-immersive 3D movies, and it’s actually been around for ages!

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb142011

Your Band Is Building a Name For Itself. So Where's The Money?

I was reading a New Rockstar Philosophy blog post this morning and it got me thinking.

The post was suggesting that major web media could theoretically perform the role previously performed by the major record labels. They are well-placed to get your band exposure, and have pockets filled with gold, in the same sort of way that the majors used to.

At the same time, there are a number of blog posts and tweets out today questioning whether downloading is dead, and suggesting that people can’t even be bothered to steal music anymore, let alone buy it!

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Friday
Feb112011

CTRL - How Much Are You Willing To Give Up? 

Control. It’s not an easy thing. Everyone wants it in one way or another, and it can do strange things to people. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to know how much to seek, and when.

Take, for example, the relationship between artist and the other players in the recording process.  If we look at it from an “assembly line” point of view, the musicians come into the studio, play their parts, and leave.  The mix engineer is responsible for capturing those sounds properly and mixing them.  Then, he/she hands it off to the producer, who plays with the sounds captured and potentially adds new ones.  Once that’s done, it’s handed off to the mastering engineer, and the final product is ready for press.

Of course, this is far from a real world scenario.  Along the way, the artists want to give input into how the record is mixed, produced, and even mastered.  As a guitar/bass/keyboard/percussion player, your expertise may lie primarily in playing your instrument, but as a musician or member of a band, musicianship extends to artistic expression on a larger scale.

This can lead to disagreements, and when it comes time to figuring out who has the ‘final say,’ it’s a matter of role definition and – you guessed it – control.

So how do you tackle this?

It’s important to remember that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.  Identifying your strengths is often much easier, but it’s the latter that is often more important.  The main role of a producer is to take the songs he or she is presented with, work out an overall ‘vision’ for the album, and make the two meet.  That’s a difficult task that not everyone can achieve, and even MORE difficult to define.

However, if you recognize someone who has experience or expertise in this specific, it’s vital that you allow them creative space to work.  This doesn’t mean allowing them ‘free reign,’ but it does mean that they’re the experts who’s ‘say’ should hold more weight.

That may sound scary, but in reality, it all comes down to trust.  If you chose a producer whose work you respect and trust, you should feel comfortable letting them take the lead.  If you don’t, you might want to re-evaluate your choice.

This applies to other aspects of your career, too.  In general, you should be the leader of your career at all times.  Just make sure that you leave room for others to be in control from time to time, in the areas where THEY shine, and you’ll find that everyone will benefit.

This article originally published here on Your Band’s Best Friend

Learn more about the author here

Tuesday
Feb082011

Festival Sponsorship Extremes

It’s rare that you go to a festival in this day and age that isn’t presented by some corporate sponsor who proudly drapes their brand on every imaginable piece of the festival. That’s not all, you can of course count on there being a number of other sponsors handing out free swag and creating these larger than life experiences for you to be a part of. It’s all become part of the festival experience . But at what cost?

The bigger the festival, the more extravagant the sponsorship partners. After attending Budweiser’s Lollapalooza in 2008 in Chicago and many years of Van’s Warped Tours, Virgin Festivals, Sirius Satellite Radio’s North by Northeast, Molson Canadian’s Canadian Music Weeks etc. etc. I’ve become accustomed (if not a bit obsessed) at watching how these corporate partners continue to out-do one another with their on-site presence and forward thinking campaigns.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb072011

Kings Of Flow On The Come Up: Rising Stars!

So, Kings Of Flow got more terrestrial radio spins than any other emerging artist at last year’s Spanish due to their aggressive expansion with the addition of their “Rumba Callejera” to the music-on-demand unsigned latin chart service to their IHeartRadio app for iPhones, prompted yet more gasps over their latin hood type choice outfits. 

Amid such hoo-ha it would be easy to forget the scale of their victory over us - their supporting fans - these past 12 months. 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb072011

Ten in Ten: New music industry poll launches 08.02.11

Horace Trubridge, MU Assistant General Secretary, says: ‘Although we can guess, none of us know what the next ten years will do to the music industry – that’s why Music Supported Here will be launching Ten in Ten. The concept is simple. Ten questions that will be answered by experts from the music industry – musicians, fans, managers, labels etc – to give an overall picture of what we think is going to happen.

“Will illegal downloading become less of a problem? Will recording contracts be fairer? Will there be less new talent emerging? None of us can really be sure of what 2021 holds for the music industry, but we think that the opinions of thousands of people who live and breathe the music industry will produce some pretty accurate predictions’.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb042011

The Musician's Secret Weapon

“Life can be very, very hard for a musician. You’re competing against millions of others, desperate to be heard over all the noise. And you’ve got no money.

But you’ve got a secret weapon. To outsiders, the music industry is sexy. People with day jobs are fascinated with the mythos of “The Rock Star”.

Make the person you’re talking to feel this. Make them feel like a part of this world.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb042011

How To Get New Fans To Your Music Website From Facebook

As a musician do you find it harder and harder to get new fans to listen your music? You’ve  probably been using social media like Facebook already to promote your music. If you are wondering if there are ways to improve your success in getting people to check out your music then you are in luck because here are 5 ways that really do work.

1. Use Facebook To Build Your Fan Base By Actually Using It For it’s Intention!

Do not make the mistake of using Facebook personal pages like many musicians used Myspace which is by treating it like a bulletin board to advertise your band. You may get banned and people will get annoyed with you or worse by just ignoring your page. The truth is most people are not interested just because you are in a band. The good news is that once new facebook friends get to know you they may find it interesting that you are in a band and want to know more. Timing is everything. Yes, this process takes longer and has to be genuine but it really works to build your fan base when people can become interested in you as a person first. Start to think of fans as friends who like your music and you will be way ahead of the game. Often times your new friends will want to help you build your fan base too as a bonus!

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