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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.


Unusual Song Writing Technique

Hi guys,

I am not sure if any song writing teacher would recommend this but I wonder, can a poorly written, lazy and uninspiring verse make a well written chorus sound twice as good as it otherwise would have?

And, more controversially, could this be a song writing technique that is worth using?

Click to read more ...


Internet Promotion from Zero in 2011

I know similar articles to this have been posted here many times, but I thought it would be worth giving my take today, right now, with my perceptions, right or wrong.  So please comment & debate.

Recently a friend of mine was asking where he should post up stuff for his brand new band (no web presence yet at all) given the decline in MySpace.  So I came up with this as my list in order of importance.

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Pete Townshend calls Apple 'a digital vampire'

BBC 6 Music launched “The John Peel Lecture” with Pete Townshend, the creative force, guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who, speaking live at this year’s Radio Academy Radio Festival in Salford’s Lowry Theatre.

The topic was: Can John Peelism survive the Internet? In an age of free downloads and a disposable attitude to music, can creative people earn a living, and without radio how can the “unpolished” music that John Peel championed find an audience?

The rock legend listed eight services that record labels and music publishers have traditionally provided to artists, such as editorial guidance and “creative nurture”.

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Competition: Win A Year's Subscription To The IMA Music Business Academy ($181 Value)

Hi guys. I’ve been a long term reader and contributor of Music Think Tank, and thought it’s about time I gave something more back to the community.

As some of you may know, I recently released my course ‘The IMA Music Business Academy’. It’s a course that aims to teach the independent musician the business side of the industry, giving them all the knowledge and practical skills they need to fast track their music career.

The course has received a lot of good feedback so far, and with the door now back open, I want give you the chance to get involved free of charge.

I’m giving away three prizes of a year’s long access to the IMA Music Business Academy (Each prize valued at $181). If you want to win this great prize, all you have to do is:

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Sonic Youth & Romantic Relationships

So Kim Gordon & Thurston Moore are breaking up.  This one didn’t hit me too hard as I was never a huge Sonic Youth fan (just a guy who liked some of their music), but back 15 years ago when Michael Gira & Jarboe of Swans broke up it really threw me for a loop as far as the hope of ever being able to find that ideal relationship of either (a) two equals that are successful artistic individuals (I’m not going to get into the debate about how many people are willing to shush off Jarboe & Gordon as tagalongs as I think it’s false) or (b) the ability of a semi-broken man (representing myself) to somehow ensnare an angel.  Of course both of these things are wrong & about celebrity worship, but when you’re someone obsessed with music it’s really hard to find any role models that present themselves as being in any kind of successful romantic relationship that doesn’t seem detrimental to their art.  There have been a couple minor rock star couples I’ve been friends with that have made me retain hope for the dream (in fact I did a series of interviews with them a few years ago in QRD), but also see the reality of the everyday problems in any relationship because in the end we’re all just people, which unfortunately kills the dream of one day rising up to having some kind of ideal indie rock god life.


Brian John Mitchell has run Silber Records since 1996 & the zine gone webzine QRD since 1994.  He is perhaps best known for his music in the band Remora.  He runs a daily blog about running a label where this article originally appeared.


Biz: Why You Need Musicians Insurance (Pt.1 of 2)

Life as a professional musician these days often means being self-sufficient, self-sustaining, and self-employed. You may throughout your career work with different bands, be signed to different labels, or work for different companies that help shape the story you tell. One thing that you may not consider until you’ve started to develop your career is the importance of musicians insurance. Whether you’re a band on the road, a studio owner, or a private lesson instructor, several levels of musicians insurance can help ensure that your livelihood is protected.

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The Future of Music Coalition Looks to the Past to Understand How Musicians Make Money [Part I, Interview]

Whether or not you’re a musician, over the past ten years or so there have been incredible shifts in the music industry.  It wasn’t very long ago that you probably didn’t buy your music over the Internet, or have the ability to listen to any song you wanted to hear with a couple touches of the button, or if you were a musician have an incredible range of tools to promote and record yourself that weren’t ridiculously expensive.  All these changes have been welcomed thus giving greater opportunities to musicians and their fans alike to create and consume music.

While it seems these opportunities are being taken advantage of, how do we know these opportunities are leading musicians to a fruitful life of creating and living off of their art?  In music circles, we often hear about the “middle class musician” and how much easier it is to be a musician today than it was 15 or more years ago.  Yet, most of the evidence backing these claims in anecdotal and does not give a complete picture to the changing landscape in the music industry.

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Birmingham Recording Studio

I set up a London recording studio business almost 10 years ago and have worked with thousands of musicians in that time, something I consider to be a real privilege. Recently I have been looking at opening a recording studio in Birmingham, it makes sense from a business point of view because Birmingham has a very vibrant music community.

The introduction of a Birmingham recording studio to our company is exciting but I am very keen to get the right producer on board. After years of producing I think I know what musicians want from a recording studio but I see a great opportunity in asking you guys what you consider important.

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Desitara: The Search For Talent Continues

There are a lot of people around the world who are immensely talented in one or the other form of art. However there are very few platforms for these individuals to exhibit their talent. is a talent portal that has come as a boon for all talented individuals around the world. is one of fastest growing talent portals in the world. It offers a platform for individuals to exhibit their talent to the whole world.

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Overcoming nervousness (PART 1)

It’s fifteen minutes before your scheduled time to sing. Your palms become sweaty. Your throat tightens up and gets dry. Your lips flex uncontrollably. Your whole body shakes in a convulsive manner. When you finally stand up to sing, you open your mouth, but no sound comes out!  Then, when you eventually get the sounds out, you forget all your lyrics.

What we just described is a singer overcome by an acute bout of nervousness. All of us have been nervous to some degree, either BEFORE we sing or DURING the performance.

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Let's get real about streaming!

Okay streaming is here and very soon Joe + Jane Doe consumer will know all about it. The majority, as some predict, are honest and will subscribe to a service paying a minimal monthly fee. And they’ll love how cheap music is for them to get. 

But who gets the money? Labels and songwriters are the beneficiaries of the royalties paid, but it hardly compares to revenue generated from sales. And what about Johnny and Jeannie who are the non-writing part of the band and get two points each from the group’s record deal? They are screwed! 



R.E.M. wrote the book on music and activism, and have tirelessly protected human rights, the environment, and supported those who needed it. To honor this rich history of great music and activism, Air Traffic Control (ATC) is collecting donations for an R.E.M. Fund through the end of October here:

ATC will work with R.E.M. to give the donations to some of the great organizations the band has worked with over the years. We will also pass along well-wishes and messages with the donation list to the band. All donations are tax-deductible. Make a donation online here: or mail checks made out to Air Traffic Control: 1475 15th Street San Francisco, CA 94103

If you want to tweet or post, here is some language: 

Please Share: Celebrate R.E.M.’s long history of great music & activism by making a donation to the #REMfund

About ATC: Air Traffic Control (ATC) helps musicians play an effective, unique and vital role in the promotion of social justice. Musicians and managers established ATC five years ago to assemble an experienced and trusted team of leaders, resources and tools that would help them to create more effective social change collaborations with each other and social justice organizations. As a result, ATC became an artists’ air traffic control—one that develops capacity, efficiency, and coordination to produce stronger and more creative social change collaborations. For more information about ATC, please go to


The Fame Formula

There are several secret ingredients to making a star shine and sparkle. A lot goes into defining and sculpting the X Factor that ultimately is the key to making them stand out so big and bold. We all know by now that it’s not an overnight thing. It’s a complete recipe and leaving out even one ingredient, or adding them at the wrong time – and the formula won’t work.

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Rockin' in the New World: Taking Your Band from the Basement to the Big Time"

Ok, there’s a bit of hype here since this is the title of my new book, but it really is a special book and addresses issues bands face in today’s changing industry. Those of you who know me, understand it’s not a vanity piece about me, instead, just like I did with TCG, it is a platform for helping artists, fostering the arts.

The letters I’m getting from kids in bands testify that it has hit it’s mark head on! 

We never had any resource written by people who, other than being lawyers or academics, actually were veterans of the industry. Martin Atkins’ Tour-Smart is the ultimate guerilla touring guide for today, Jim and Jean Youngs’ book from the 70s had interviews with an assortment of people in the industry including me as cocky a 24 year old manager. RNW includes today’s bands, the websites, the labels, DIY, Indies staff, and pages of resources. 

Check it out, it’s already in public libraries and receiving accolades. We need to support and nurture young artists as they are the future of our industry