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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
Nov222010

Is the Internet Dead or just Dead to Artists?

Is the internet dead? This has been a question I have been asking myself for a few weeks now. If it’s not dead is it just going through changes like most businesses do? I have read several articles of late that seem to think that it is dead and that the future of the internet will look much different then it does today. So what if it’s dead, how does that impact us? Do we even care?

I’m looking at the internet through the eyes of someone working in the music industry, as a recording artist, a studio owner and a music publisher. What was once the supposed gateway to music business success is closing and its closing fast. In fact it may have never really been open at all.

We have all heard the stories of how a band was found on myspace and then international fame soon followed. I once bought into this, but now I’m not so sure. How true can this be? Success in business has always been built on hard work, time, effort, energy, preparation and education. There are always the stories of overnight successes but even then all of the above things were at some point involved. No one can succeed at anything if they have never put forth any effort to succeed can they?

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Friday
Nov192010

Google Music Currently Shuts Out Independent Artists

Billboard recently posted details about a proposed music service currently being created by Google. The proposal outlines ways to help major label artists with its tentative format, but there is no mention of indie labels or artists.

The proposed plans are to offer a basic digital music retailer concept with a twist. The company is hoping to provide an innovative cloud-based service where consumers can have their music in a “locker” for $25 per year. Music in the “locker” could be downloaded or streamed by an internet connected gadget.

The proposal seems to be an iTunes competitor and not a game-changer like most music fans had hoped.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov122010

Record Any Vocals Lately? Read This.

Audio engineering and production is an art and one of the most technically demanding areas of the art is vocal recording. Vocal performance recording - on a general level - is taught in recording and engineering programs of most colleges and universities, around New York and California. I learned some useful information from the Institute of Audio Research, however what I am about to share with you came from painstaking hours in the school of hard- knocks.

The human voice is naturally forward and present to our hearing system. And the equal loudness contours show us that we hear the human voice three to four times louder than the greater part of the human hearing spectrum.

This is important because in a musical production, the human voice not only tells the story of the song, by communicating the emotions and sentiment through language and other expressions, but it naturally wants to be heard above all else because of its frequency range. To get the best sounding vocal recording, a producer or engineer must start with the vocal performance.

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Tuesday
Nov092010

Win A Copy Of “How To Make Money From Free Music”

In celebration of the launch of the new ebook “How To Make Money From Free Music”, we’ve decided to give away free copies to three lucky readers! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning one of these free copies is:

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Tuesday
Nov092010

Don't Get Screwed!!! Music Contract Terms Every Artist Should Know, In Plain English-Part 2

In Part 1 of this list, I began listing common terminology you will see over and over again in the contracts you receive. And although an entertainment attorney and other experienced professionals should be reviewing and explaining them to you, it is always good to have at least a basic understanding of some of the jargon. So here is Part 2 of Music Contract Terms Every Artist Should Know, In Plain English…

Common Contract Terms Every Artist Should Know

License - This has nothing to do with your driving…A license in the entertainment business is permission a company or any other 3rd party gets when they want to use your music. If you write a song, and Lady Gaga wants to sing it, she has to get a license from you to use it. If “Ride Or Die San Andreas-The Movie” wants to then use her version of that song in their new game, they need a license from you AND her…Radio gets a license for every song they play. So does every bar, club, and restaurant! (Well, they’re suppose to anyway…) This license is needed because under copyright law, you own the song, and therefore have a right to decide who gets to use it (for an exception, see compulsory license below).

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Monday
Nov082010

Is Your Band Budgeting Correctly?

I’ve encountered two extremes when it comes to bands and saving money. Some bands save everything, don’t pay themselves a cent. Other bands save nothing, paying out the individual members everything. Then there is the moderate approach, saving some of it, paying out some of it.

For the bands that save nothing, when it comes to a major expense, recording an album for an unsigned band, going on tour or even minor expenses like photoshoots and getting merchandise, how do you pay for it? Does everyone just chip in? Do they pay equal amounts? Does one guy bankroll it all? Surely it would be better to not have to reach into your pocket each time your band wants something?

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Friday
Nov052010

Why Spotify is being denied in the US: A matter of pride?

The music industry has been getting kicked in the nuts from P2P and illegal file-sharing for a long time now. They have tried everything they can to try to stop their aches and there has always been one main reason why these illegal file-sharing sites get away with it - THE SONY BETAMAX CASE

Without going too much in to this, BETAMAX (VHS’ forgotten brother-in-law) came to US shores and hollywood went in to a state of panic. The thought that their movies, which millions of dollars were pumped in to making,  could be duplicated so easily was a huge issue! Soon a law suit followed led by Universal Studios. They pleaded to the courts that this would ruin the movie business as people will stop buying movies and shift to duplicating movies with the record feature the Japanese company included. After a long battle the courts favoured Sony and technology.

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Friday
Nov052010

Hometaping: Anyone can make music. Record yours this November!

Some people think only the talented or the beautiful can make music. This is rubbish. Anyone can enjoy making music. And everyone has something worth making a noise about. Hometaping is a big effort to get as many people as possible to make an album of music in one month - that month being this November. It’s a celebration of what happens when they do.

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Tuesday
Nov022010

The Virtual Tour, Parts II and III (OR: Keep Your Studio Slippers On!)

To successfully promote your music you need to be able to influence potential listeners from all across the web. A new and potentially effective method of increasing the recognition of your music, influencing new listeners and spreading the awareness of you, as a band or musician, is to set up a virtual tour.

In this article we look at why you should be setting up a virtual music tour, how to find blogs to host your tour and how to get the most out of the experience. In the final paragraph I share a trick that has proved to be a very powerful way of encouraging listeners to interact and leave blog comments.

What Is A Virtual Tour?

The basic structure of a virtual tour is a collection of different types of web/blog posts, hosted on a number of different sites/blogs, all promoting your band and/or music. A simple example: the tour might be six different blogs to each post about your band/music, each posting on six consecutive days. Another example might be four different blogs, one standard website, and an announced and date specified new video post on your youtube channel, over a one week period.

The idea behind a virtual tour is that the musician/band has a chance to influenc

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov022010

There is no money in the music industry: Are we all in it for the money though!?

It is a cold Tuesday morning here in NYC and on the typical walk from LES to Chelsea I notice all the boys and girls in their fancy suits and dresses. Money is evidently a huge motivator for people, the root of all evil some will tell you. It got me sighing - if only music was still swimming in pools of cash. But I am comfortable with that. My motivator is the challenges this industry faces. I love a challenge. So I think, is less money maybe a good thing?

Everyone moans there is no money in the music industry. I am one of them. I understand the problems that come from this; less money to reinvest in new artists, less risk-taking for new music, less money for artists’ creativity and intellectual property etc. Everyone needs a pay cheque and rightly so. How much of a pay cheque do we really need to do our dream jobs though?

This could be a great thing for the industry. A chance to take the trash out. The majors are suffering due to lacking any entrepreneurial intelligence, trying to acknowledge the social movements happening on the ground or having foresight.

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Monday
Nov012010

Relationships Are The New Distribution

Social Media superhero Chris Brogan recently wrote a post on the basics – the 4 P’s of marketing(product, price, place, and promotion) and talked about how many people don’t spend enough time on their Product, and try to make up for it in Promotion. If that doesn’t work they try competing on Price. But rarely is much time spent thinking about Place.

This got me thinking about how music is marketed, and how absolutely right he is. A lot of indie musicians tend to spend the majority of their time on Product and Promotion, with Price usually being the standard $0.99 per track. The common mistake is in thinking that Place, which is your distribution, is taken care of once you’ve gotten your music up on iTunes or Bandcamp.

I think we need to start thinking of distribution as more than just where people download or buy your music from, and maybe shuffle a few P’s around in the process.

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Friday
Oct292010

Internet Radio Is The Future......Duh

On my site called IntoTheMusic.Biz I wrote a little rant about articles I had been reading:

I run across articles with titles like “Internet Radio is the Future”. This cracks me up. Its like writing a book on the fact that the sky is blue.

But, last night, a friend of mine and I were talking about how I’ve never owned a tv. My friend said “how do you get the news then?”. I didn’t know how to respond. I’m not in Orange County anymore and this person is a little older than me, but really?

Here’s some links to articles like this (I hope they’re written by people who live in the jungle):
Internet Radio A Favourable Choice For All Your Favorite Music

Is Internet Radio The Future?

Thursday
Oct282010

How to Get Endorsements or Sponsors for your band, tour, record, etc.

While conducting music business industry panels across the country, I’m often asked one question more than anything else: “How do I get an endorsement?” Other variations include “How do I get a sponsor?” or “How do I get free stuff?”

My philosophy is that if this is your point of view, you’re probably already doomed. Sponsors (whether music instrument companies, beer, or clothes, etc.) don’t care about what they can do for you. They care about what you can do for them – or rather, what you can do together. So to begin with, you have to switch the mentality from “What can I gain from this?” to “What can we gain from this relationship?” Below are a few things that I recommend in your approach:

Ask, straight up: There’s a saying that “the answer is always no until you ask.” In the music industry, there are three kinds of people: those who make things happen, those who wait for things to happen, and those who wonder “what the heck just happened?” Don’t wait for an opportunity. Create it by initiating contact, networking, or asking the right questions that will get you a lead, information on how to get a sponsor, etc. Don’t be afraid in emailing, calling, or scheduling an appointment to do an in-person presentation on why they should sponsor you. That being said…

The Approach: Find a way to be unique, succinct, and intriguing with your ini

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Tuesday
Oct192010

Are You Really Selling Music?

It is critical in any business to ask yourself several questions before starting. As a performing artist (or songwriter, composer, producer…), one question you must ask yourself at some point is, “What am I selling?”.

One of the biggest ‘light bulb’ moments I ever had was as a senior in high-school, when I learned the story of Ray Kroc. For those who aren’t sure what I’m talking about, let me explain….

Ray Kroc is the man milkshake machine salesman who took McDonalds from being a small,  innovative, fast food restaurant, into the largest restaurant chain the world has ever seen. Before he died, he was asked what was his secret to selling burgers. His reply was simply, “I’m not in the burger business, I’m in the real estate business…”

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