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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.

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.

Click to read more ...

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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Friday
Dec022011

Create Music Mobile London - 7 Dec 2011

CDR Knowledge sessions are a series of experiential learning events that bring together tools that are used with the people that make them.

This session explores the world of music creation and development from a mobile perspective

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Wednesday
Nov302011

What is Going on Here?

Here we are in the land of “Best music apps for Facebook”, “2011’s Best Music Start-Ups”, “Creating a Powerhouse Website”, and so on and so on; yet there are so many artists still aimlessly drifting around as if we are still in the 90s.  Please someone tell me what is going on here? Does it not make sense to think that what you’re doing does not make sense anymore? Today there are artists still fighting to get a record deal, yet they haven’t sold a single song, no strong online or offline presence, mundane social media activity, no knowledge of the available technology and programs, but in 2011 they want a record deal. It’s a joke. We have to get to a place where we’re serious about the industry that we chose to sustain and in return it sustains us.  You can’t expect fans to make the transition in supporting a non-major label driven music industry, if you haven’t made a transition yourself.

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Tuesday
Nov292011

Perfect Pitch Piano: Learn to Play Piano by Ear

Perfect Pitch Piano is an app that teaches you to play piano by ear.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov282011

The Genius Of Secrecy

Do not make the mistake. Do not think that being completely transparent is the way forward. Not as an artist. The musical economy may change, and so may the ways of distribution and consumption, but our gut feeling towards art never will.

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Friday
Nov252011

What Do You Hear?

What do you hear? Cells in your ear are impacted by waves and register their shape and size-frequencies and amplitude-and almost everyone can hear those. Can you hear more? Listening is a skill; it can be improved upon. I’ll post tips on how to improve your listening skills later but now I just want to share a few examples of “insightful” listening. Please excuse the unfortunate pretentiousness.

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Wednesday
Nov232011

How To Get Your Music Posted In Hip Hop Blogs

A brief guide on increasing your chances of getting your music posted in Hip Hop Blogs. Sample pitch letter included

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Tuesday
Nov222011

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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Monday
Nov212011

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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Thursday
Nov172011

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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Wednesday
Nov162011

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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Tuesday
Nov152011

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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Monday
Nov142011

"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: http://mediaandtechnologies.blogspot.com/).

My thesis “The Internet as a platform for musicians” (it can be found at: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=101233079) 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:

Click to read more ...