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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.

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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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.

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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

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