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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
Jan092012

Neuroscience Vs Talent?

I am a big advocate of the notion that anything is possible. I honestly believe that if I fully understanding what needs to be done and if I desperately want to achieve it, I will. 

But, unlike most “self help” doctrine that promotes a quick fix for almost everything, my belief is that real and lasting change requires time for repeated action, time for the brain to rewire for the job!

Many will retort sharply at this notion claiming that they are a product of their inherited genes and that they can no more change their brain as change their eye colour. But we may not be completely at the mercy of our biological make-up after all.

Neuroscientists have challenged the ‘hard-wired brain’ theory, suggesting instead that the human brain is extraordinarily plastic - a rather astute philosopher known as Buddha said the same many years before! It has been known for some time that in exceptional cases, victims of extreme brain trauma have regained function as a result of the brain “rewiring” and reallocating neurons.

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Wednesday
Jan042012

Lethal Peanut Hosts Charity Album Release 01/27/2012

Lethal Peanut Hosts Charity Album Release 01/27/2012
Advance Promotional Tracks Available Now; Additional Tour Dates Announced

WASHINGTON, DC – On January 27, 2012, Lethal Peanut will celebrate their long anticipated, self-titled, debut album with a release party at Rock & Roll Hotel. Joining the party will be regional favorites Fight the Lion and Once Okay Twice; a portion of the show’s proceeds will benefit the Duke Ellington School of the Arts to support music education in the DC area. Doors open at 8pm and tickets are $10 in advance, available at www.rockandrollhoteldc.com. Lethal Peanut recorded their debut album at Cue Recording Studios in Falls Church, VA under the direction of multiple platinum-award winning record producer Jim Ebert (Butch Walker, Meredith Brooks, Cowboy Mouth). Pre-release promotional copies of select tracks are available now for press review in advance. If you would like to request a copy, please contact Kip Talley.

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Friday
Dec302011

The Box

Grabbing outside the box all the time means you’re constantly jumping ship, constantly searching for the next great thing. Great things never come from nothing. Isaac Newton had gravity in mind years before the apple hit his head.

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Thursday
Dec292011

Cover Band Performance Contracts

If you are planning a live music event you will need to make sure you have a contract in place with the performers. This is especially important if you have a financial stake in the event and are inviting paying customers. You need to make sure you have a written guarantee that the cover band will attend the engagement and what is expected from both parties. There may be occasions with local function bands where a contract is not needed. Sometimes an email confirmation may be enough if you know of the act.

If you do go down the contract route the live band may issue you a standard contract with their terms. These are available from the Musicians Union and are very simple straightforward contracts. It will usually include as a minimum the date and time of the engagement, the location, fee and duration of the performance. More in depth contracts may include who is responsible to providing equipment such as staging and PA systems. Some cover bands will be paid a set fee for the gig and other larger acts may ask for a percentage of ticket sales as well. This is something that should be negotiated early on.

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Wednesday
Dec282011

Make A Name For Yourself Online 

While some people become a musician because they like music and love to play or sing, most do it because they also hope they’ll become famous. Of course, with millions trying, it’s difficult to be that special singer or band everyone is talking about. Nowadays though, getting noticed is much easier than even ten years ago. That’s because of the internet.

Using the internet, any musician can hit the big time, and sometimes overnight. You just have to come up with a plan, use the best social media and, of course, be prepared for a lot of hard work.

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Tuesday
Dec272011

PJ Harvey album tops end of year polls in the UK

PJ Harvey’s tenth studio album Let England Shake was named the best record of 2011 by UK music critics in a major poll by music retailer HMV.

The album finished top-of-the-pile in end-of-year polls across British media including Uncut, Mojo, The Guardian, and NME.

More than 30 media outlets were polled for their favourite discs of the last 12 months. The top 5 albums according to British critics were…

1) PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

2) Bon Iver - Bon Iver

3) Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues

4) Radiohead - The King of Limbs

5) Tune-Yards - Whokill

Harvey said of the honour, “I am very grateful to receive this accolade for Let England Shake. The response to this album has heartened me, and given me great hope for the future.”

The critics seemed pretty conclusive about PJ releasing the album of the year. But are these the best indie music albums that were released during 2011? The Black Keys, James Blake. Metronomy, and the Arctic Monkeys may have been in with a claim for a spot in the Top 5.

Andrew Parker is the editor of leading music news and entertainment website Electric Banana - often contributing album reviews.



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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