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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
Dec202010

Global Music Ecosystem & Cultural Implications

I recently did an interview of this young mash-up artist that turned out to be a really good exemple of how technologies are changing the way music is being produced and promoted. He is 22, comes from the North East of Brazil and rules the Asian Mash-up remix scene. Leaving on his first tour to South America in early 2011, DJ Masa is living proof that the new music ecosystem is emerging and that its cultural implications are real.

You are getting close to 100,000 downloads on official.fm alone. I saw that you have 12 Million + views on your You Tube profile … This is quite significant, can you tell us a little bit of your story?

100.000 downloads already? Wow!! I hope it didn’t make your servers busy! Well, I’m a 22 years old journalist and I’m from Brazil. I’ve been following the Asian Pop scene since 2003, when I discovered J-pop and K-pop through the Internet. That time I joined a lot of forums and fan sites to keep me updated and to contribute with that community anyway that I could. I started to learn about music production software in 2005, when I released my first mashup and shared it with my online friends.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec202010

Mobile Connect-with-Fans For DIY Artists – Why, And How? 

Recently, on ContentSphere.de I argued about how highly required it is for DIY artists to get mobile – to find a way for mobile communication with fans. Actually, it is key to truely connect with fans. Apparently, there’s a solution to that. Finally.

I know, it’s beaten to death… but – there is an app for that. Of course, the main issue in CwF (Connect-with-Fans) is authenticity. You can’t buy that, same with the quality of your music. Yet it is required to have something to grow that on. A medium like an app.

That’s why I was curious to see if there’s anything like that available for the common DIY artist. But first off, why is it necessary at all?

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Friday
Dec172010

Think For Yourself & Question Authority

I have found myself commenting (ranting?) on various posts on Music Think Tank a lot recently, normally versions of one theme, which can be summed up by a phrase borrowed from Timothy Leary, the psychedelic guru/grass, who nevertheless had a way with a catchphrase: ‘think for yourself and question authority’.

What bugs me are the posts that state or imply that there are routes to success available to any artist who follows certain rules.

Hardly any provide proof of any kind.

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Wednesday
Dec152010

One Artist’s Saga of Getting Added to Apple Ping

I have been assisting my good friend, legendary blues harmonica and sax player Jimmy Z, with his online presence and marketing for him and his band, ZTribe. Though he has recorded and toured with Rod Stewart, Eurythmics, Tom Petty, Etta James and others, and has worked in nearly 1000 sessions, he still struggles to make a living as an independent musician. So I help him any way I can. Right now, he has a presence on MySpace, Facebook, Reverbnation, Soundcloud and we’re building our Amazon page as well as a page on the sixtyone.com.

I have worked with Apple and it’s reps over the years and have learned that their only interest is self-interest. So when iTunes Ping was announced last September, I treated it with great suspicion, but also realized that I should get Jimmy on it, because you have to explore every opportunity that seems worthwhile. And having any leverage on iTunes is an opportunity that should not be missed.

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Wednesday
Dec152010

What Do You Do For Your Band?

Besides your instrument. Any musician can do that. What makes you irreplaceable in your band?

This is important.

Music is a highly competitive industry, and it’s no secret band lineups change all the time. Unless you happen to be a prophet of the guitar like Hendrix, being “good” isn’t enough to ensure you stay in a band. Youtube practicly has a dedicated channel called “12 Year Olds Who Are Better At Your Instrument Than You Will Ever Be”. A Total musician, the kind of person you always want in your band, contributes something that can’t be replaced by someone who can read guitar tabs.

What would qualify as something making you more valuable to the band?

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Tuesday
Dec142010

Share And Earn

Today, thinking about ways of selling content online, especially music, demands to take a close look at even distribution channels you didn’t bother to think of before.

You simply can’t afford to miss any options for sales any more. As album sales still drop and single downloads do not compensate for the loss of physical sales diversification of revenues is gaining more and more relevance.

The crux of diversification is that new revenue models must not cannibalize existing products.

So let’s think of revenue channels that do not concern physical media or downloads but opening revenues without loosing channels you already have.

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Tuesday
Dec142010

The Real Reason You Fail To Make Money From Your Music

I’m going to keep this one short and straight to the point. The music industry is a hard one to make money from, we all know that. When it’s all said and done however, if you’re talented, have been making music for a while and don’t make any money from it, you’re doing the wrong things!

For a lot of people, their idea of promotion is adding people on Facebook and Reverb Nation and messaging them about their music. In all honesty, this is doing next to nothing for your music career. How much money do you ever make from doing this? My guess is none, at most you’ll get a small ego boost when the odd person replies saying your music’s good.

The thing is, this type of marketing is very short term and a big waste of your time. While social media should be a part of your strategy, looking for fans one by one isn’t the best use of your time. If you stop and analyse your results in terms of sales from this promotion, I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion.

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Friday
Dec102010

Promotional Tool Idea

With street marketing being one of our most popular services, we’re continually asked for new promotional tools which grab the attention of potential fans here at The Syndicate. The item needs to be eye-catching,  pocket or purse-friendly, needs to make people act, and ideally, is trackable. Not many physical promo items have all of these aspects, but one has solutions to address all of these, and because of that, we end up using and recommending Dropcards. Often.

For example, we’ve used them in many street marketing campaigns, such as Tropicana’s “Rescue the Rainforest” campaign with Cool Earth, where we used FSC- and SFI-certified cards and had Dropcards print unique codes on them for people to redeem to save their own area of the rainforest.  Twin Atlantic, a band from Scotland on Red Bull Records, also used the seeded cards to promote their album “Vivarium” with a code to redeem a free song, unique videos, and other information about the band.

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Friday
Dec102010

10,000 Hours of Practice Makes Perfect?

How much should you practice? In This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Daniel Levitan writes about the ten-thousand-hours theory, which proposes that 10,000 hours of practice is required to become a world-class expert in any field: basketball, ice skating, chess, or the viola.

This idea was further popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his 2008 book Outliers: The Story of Success. Gladwell points to examples including Bill Joy, Bill Gates, and the Beatles, while Levitan counts up the hours to Mozart’s Symphony No. 1, which he composed at age 8.

Is there such a thing as “talent”?

In a study cited by Gladwell, violinists at Berlin’s Academy of Music were divided into three groups: the “stars”, who had the potential to become world-class soloists; the students who were merely “good”; and a third group who did not intend to ever play professionally, the “teachers.”

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Wednesday
Dec082010

Bad Music Can Be Good

So I saw this video today that’s going around:

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it. I mean clearly it is pretty awful in a certain way. But it makes me think that maybe all of the horrible singer-songwriter stuff you see on an open-mic night might be the performers & not the songwriting. & also it reminds me that when the music & lyrics are thoroughly separated that most lyrics are pretty freaking awful (as I’m sure mine are). & it reminds me that I was never impressed with the music on The Wall. & that if you are going to do a cover song & don’t have the chops or equipment to pull it off, you should alter it into something thoroughly your own.

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Wednesday
Dec082010

The Science of Becoming a Rock Star

Working with both well-known and unsigned artists for over a decade, I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why some people succeed in music while others fail. And though this might sound strange, there are a few physics ideas that can help you think differently about how great music careers are made.

Rule #1: Quantum Events = Music Success

Building a music career is different than learning how to sing or play an instrument. Practice makes you slightly better with your voice or instrument every day – over years, as you put in your 10,000 hours of work, you steadily move from novice to pro (see Figure 1). To be a truly great and lasting artist, you must master your voice or instrument – a lot of this work is done alone or with bandmates. But mastering an instrument isn’t the same as building a music career, and understanding the difference will improve your chance of success.

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Monday
Dec062010

Everyone Is Lying To You On Facebook 

I mean this in a tongue in cheek way somewhat.

The reason I say this is because of this question I got one time on a karate forum (More about THAT experience later)

“What are your thoughts on pushing information out to people on the web?”

This is a fair question but it details a common error when it comes to social networking. Social networks are not I repeat NOT TV, radio and press.

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Friday
Dec032010

Ten Tips For Do-It-Yourself PR and Publicity For Bands

1. Learn how to sell yourself.  Want media coverage? Ask.  Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask to speak to the person in editorial who handles music or entertainment.

2. Be Creative.  News doesn’t happen.  News is created… and develop a sense of humor, especially about yourself.  If they’re laughing, they’re listening.  Let’s be real… you’re playing music, not curing cancer.  Try not to be so serious, but don’t be a buffoon either. 

3. Grammar. Learn how to spell and know the fundamentals of grammar.  (Use the spellchecker).

4. Proofread your work.  Then have someone else proofread your work… and then have someone else proofread your work.  Then let it ‘marinate’ for a few hours or overnight.  You’ll be amazed at how many spelling and/or grammatical errors will appear, as well as glaringly required edits, when you come back to it with fresh eyes.  Sloppy, incoherent press releases or introductory pitch letters will result in their instant deletion.  You only get one chance to make a first impression. 

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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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