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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
Jun222010

Sonic Bids - Don't Get Me Started! Part 2

A couple of years ago, I set out to test SonicBids, and the opportunities it presents, and to see what kind of gigs we could turn up. If you don’t play, you can’t win.

My band, The Folk Unlimited Orchestra, is a pretty good test case. While not a top-tier attraction in our niche, we are well established and have played at many of the top venues that specialize in our genre (folk/Americana/acoustic) such as Club Passim, McCabes, The Freight and Salvage, The Point, the Boston Folk Festival. We have been reviewed in Performing Songwriter, twice in Sing Out, received airplay on more than a 150 radio stations and been featured on at least a dozen major radio programs. Our band has also been featured in the Boston Herald, the SF Chronicle and NPR’s All Things Considered. So we are not new at this, and we have proven that we have something to  offer to presenters and audiences.

We’ve had a SonicBids account for about since 2003. We first used it to submit to Folk Alliance, a national conference, and then to FAR-West, the Western regional conference. It turns out that for FAR-West, we were selected for a slot. But as the co-founder of the organization, we were well-known to all the judges in advance, and it is hard to attibute our “win” to Sonic Bids.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun222010

Three Simple Rules for doing 21st Century Business on the Web

B.J. Jansen is the co-founder of Pitch Artist Services

1. Information is FREE – Internet and technology have created an environment where there are no secrets anymore. Further there are no logical ways to block or censor information anymore. Many pay-sites are still trying to monetize information, as if they are selling a hard-copy newspaper or magazine online, at the cost of their own success. People will negotiate around barriers to find the information they need. China is a wonderful example; the people of China are constantly finding ways to circumvent the government’s obsessive attempts to censor the internet. On the net, if there is a will, there always is a way. Information is Free and should be treated as such, then, if the information is high quality, watch the traffic on your site explode.

2. Content is FREE – Content goes hand and hand with information and should be treated accordingly. Many companies complain or sue their customer base, as with the case of the RIAA, to attempt futilely to stop the piracy of content online. The simple fact is that Torrent download sites continue to thrive unabated. The web is nebulous and exists everywhere, even well beyond the long arms of international law. If people want your content for free, they will find a way to pirate it. Instead of wasting time dwelling on that, spend time moving forward. Give away free downloads, as research is showing that musicians who give away free downloads actually show increased sales of paid downloads.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun212010

10 Essential Tips For Musicians To Improve Their Facebook Page

Facebook Pages are the most effective way for musicians to get their name out there. While each application has its own stand out features there can be some overlap between what each application offers. Choose the apps you use wisely, you don’t want to hit your fans with information overload and leave them overwhelmed and unlikely to return to your page. Whether you use one application - or a combination of a few of them - make sure your fan page stays well-organized and users can easily find what they’re looking for without searching through a bunch of clutter. After all, wasn’t that was wrong with a majority of MySpace pages?

 

1. Promote Outside Content

Your fan page is a great place to aggregate all the content you’ve created on the various social networks you belong to. Your fan page can be the ultimate destination for your fans to find your tweets, blog posts, and even other people who have acknowledged your work. 

Here are a few ways you can share your content with your fan base:
Sync your Twitter account with your Facebook page. This will save you the hassle of having to update Facebook AND Twitter. There are a few different options out there that will automatically update your Facebook page with your Tweets but one of the most popular is the official Twitter application. If you would like control over which Tweets are posted to Facebook try using Selective Twitter which will only upload Tweets to Facebook that end with “#fb”.

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Monday
Jun212010

Social Networks & Music Promotion: If all your wishes were heard... 

Dear Music Think Tank, 

We appreciate what you do, mainly the fact that you are very critical and yes, demanding. The world can’t improve without demands, and that’s why we’re taking your information, input, complaints, suggestions and everything else that comes out of this one and other websites very seriously. Not that we have read it all but that’s precisely why I am getting in touch. 

We are building a new social network, and we will do it with musicians in mind. Not because we are hopping on the bandwaggon to “serve unhappy Myspacers” and take that market share to exploit for commercial reasons, but because we are in the music industry and we know how important it is that musicians are given a platform from where they can reach out to their crowd in the most effective way. In a world as overstimulated as ours, we know how difficult it can be to stand out, not in terms of the music itself, but in terms of marketing and PR and reaching an audience. 

Maybe it’s the fact that we’re not owned by some major media conglomerate or that we are made up of industry professionals who simply give a lot of credit to artists and understand that not everyone is striving to become the next “Guns’n’Roses” but that most often musicians just want to make music, and that’s more fun when people are listening. 

Anyhow, long story short: We want to have your input! What do you want that you can’t find at the other networks? What do other networks have that you believe is so critical and a reason you’re using their services? If a fairy came along and fulfilled all your wishes, what would they be? Basically: if YOU could build your own social music network, what would it entail?? 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun212010

TOP UK CHARITIES BACK FEELGOOD ONLINE MUSIC PLATFORM

Music industry stalwarts Lee Cannon and Jonny Woolf, with the support of many of the UK’s leading charities, have today launched an innovative new music platform that uniquely combines legal music downloads with charitable giving.  For the first time ever, music lovers can donate as they download with www.fairsharemusic.com - at no extra cost and with a huge music library to choose from that includes the hottest new releases.

Fusing the best of iTunes with the ‘feelgood’ factor of donating, the easy to use site lets music lovers rapidly search, browse and download tracks directly into their existing music library.  With prices starting at just 79p per track, over 8.5 million tracks to choose from and tailor-made playlists and charts, it is like every other popular music site – except for every download it donates half the profit to charity.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun202010

Sonic Bids - Don't Get Me Started! Part 1

SonicBids is a web site that advertises itself as a online marketplace were musical artists can get gigs. It is in its eighth year of operation and has gained considerable popularity as a place to solicit artists for various “opportunities.”
In concept, SonicBids is a great idea: a “place” for promoters and presenters to hire musical performers for performance opportunities. Performers pay a subscription fee to host an electronic press kit (EPK) and can than submit their EPK to promoters who list opportunities on the site. Sonic Bids allows you to upload songs in MP3 form, a bio, keep a gig schedule, a single video clip, and information on band members and repertoire.

For each “promoter” opportunity, which include radio programs, song contests, conferences, performance opportunities at your local coffeehouse, colleges as well as major festivals, a performer pays a submission fee ranging from $2 to as much as $90 on the high end (for instance for a major college booking conference). There are even “opportunities” to have your CD reviewed by a Billboard magazine reviewer. That will set you back $375. 

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Friday
Jun182010

River To River Festival & Dan Zanes Invite New Yorkers to Join 4th of July Marching Band in Battery Park

http://www.rivertorivernyc.com/events/eventDetail.php?eventID=3419

Musicians of all ages invited to perform “76 Trombones” in spectacular holiday parade; free show to include La Cumbiamba eNeYé, jugglers, stilt walkers, and more

New York, NY (June 16, 2010) – Grammy® Award-winning artist Dan Zanes and The River To River Festival are inviting musicians of all ages to dust off their trombones, tubas, and trumpets and be a part of one of the biggest Fourth of July celebrations in the city. Named “one of the city’s most compelling summer series” by the New York Times, the River To River Festival is New York’s largest free summer arts festival.

For the first time this year, the River To River Festival is expanding its annual 4th of July concert in Battery Park to offer a day of free music for all ages. The show’s grand finale will feature Zanes leading a marching band made up of members of the public playing “76 Trombones” on their own brass instruments. Participants will be able to practice beforehand using sheet music and audio clips posted on the River to River Festival website at RiverToRiverNYC.com.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jun172010

The Creators Project

The Creators Project is a new network dedicated to the celebration of creativity and culture across media, and around the world. At a time in the history of the arts where digital technologies have revolutionized distribution, democratized access, and completely re-imagined the scope and scale with which an artist can create a vision and reach an audience, The Creators Project is a completely new kind of arts and culture channel for a completely new kind of world.

The Creators Project has two mandates: on one hand it’s a modern day media channel that we will continually identify and celebrate the work of visionary artists wherever they are. On the other hand it is also a content creation studio, an arts foundation of sorts that will facilitate the production and dissemination of new work with these artists and their collaborators.

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Tuesday
Jun152010

The Happy Decline of The Music Industry

This week’s headlines have been overwhelmingly predicting the death of the music industry, which as they report, may only have months to live.

Nick Neyland of Prefix Magazine, among others, reports that Radiohead singer, Thom Yorke, has predicted that the music industry has months rather than years to live.

Glenn Peoples, Billboard.biz, goes on to state that even with some upward movement this past quarter, there is an “overall falling [of] physical recorded music revenues.” Digital Music News additionally reports in “Worse Than Worst Ever? Tommy Boy Starts Number Crunching Again…” that the last week of May saw the worst album sales in decades.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jun152010

MAKING MYSPACE INTO A TOOL THAT MATTERS

MySpace360Wizard.com has just developed an exceptional new business environment within MySpace that enables artists of any stature to enhance their online presence, optimize fan engagement and really do business. The wizard is compatible with all the latest services and widgets including TopSpin, Fanbridge, Reverbnation, Nimbit, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Fairtilizer, The Bizmo, and more. Many artists believe that MySpace has become irrelevant. Many have built beautiful sites for their fans using Wordpress or some other equally compelling platform. However, many of these same artists have failed to take into consideration a few inescapable items regarding MySpace:

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jun132010

'BandPage' On Facebook; Is This What Will Replace MySpace?!

MySpace, once the best place for anything music related. If you wanted to hear audio from your favourite musician or discover up and coming talent, MySpace was the place to go.

These days however, MySpace is full of musicians promoting to each other. And that wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it led more sales, but the truth is most of the people on MySpace are only in it for themselves. The ‘real people’, the potential fans, have more or less all left, choosing to instead use the multimillion pound social networking website Facebook.

Those forward thinking musicians instantly jumped onto the Facebook train, hoping to pick up fans with their newly set up ‘Facebook fan page’. But while Facebook has allowed musicians to create their own fan pages from near the beginning, it’s never been a complete music solution… That is until now!

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Thursday
Jun102010

5 Tips to Increase Sales in this Failing Music Industry

1. Personal Communication
FACT: Social Media is a great “Keep In Touch” tool. With social networking sites like Twitter, Myspace and Facebook now giving fans 100% access to artists, many aren’t sure what to say or how to keep their fans actually engaged and coming back. The key to this is understanding how to personally communicate with your fans. Ariel Hyatt wrote a great article that breaks down easy ways to create that emotional connection with your fans. (http://musicsuccessinnineweeks.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-i-learned-about-marketing-from-new.html)

2. Mix It Up – Try Variations of Content
Event blast, and promo tweets are not the end-all answer to everything. Try mixing your content up a bit!

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Wednesday
Jun092010

"When Will We See You On MTV?"...Thoughts of an Independent Musician

“So when will we see you on MTV?” “When will we be hearing your stuff on the (mainstream) radio?”  “You should be famous by now.”  “When you’re famous we can say we knew you when.”

These are all questions and statments that I’m certain many relatively well-known touring independent musicians and bands (including myself) hear on at least a fairly regular basis.  I don’t know about you, but I usually feel slightly taken aback when I hear statements such as this even though I know the person or persons making the statement/s probably mean well.  I’ve sat down to think about why these feelings arise when I hear such statements.  When I think about it though, certain key words from such statements that are frequnently uttered when they are made: MTV, radio, and (most prominently) FAMOUS.  That then raises the question; What exactly is fame nowadays? 

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Tuesday
Jun082010

Brisbane, Australia’s indie record labels join forces to celebrate the sound of the city

Brisbane’s proud DIY music scene is being supported and celebrated through a unique initiative that promotes the city’s booming independent record labels – soundslikebrisbane.

Believed to be a world first, soundslikebrisbane (SLB) is bringing together the city’s indie labels under the one banner - already 13 local independent labels are represented with more to join the fold soon.

That first batch includes prominent local labels: Plus One Records, Mere Noise, Dew Process, Turkeyneck, Room 40, Someone Good, Pinnacles Music, SUGARRUSH, Lofly, El Nino El Nino, Red Tape Entertainment, Starving Kids, and Valve Records.

Covering every genre from hip-hop and jazz, to garage rock, country and pop – the labels define the creative melting pot that Brisbane has become. Together these labels work with dozens of artists, promoting close to 100 releases each year.

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