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Tuesday
Dec012009

9 out of 10 dentists

I’ve read two very interesting related articles this week. The first suggested that people who download music via peer-to-peer services spend more money on music than their non-filesharing peers. The second insisted that the net drop in CD and download sales overall has increased concurrent with, and as a result of filesharing.

It’s difficult to argue with either, since they’re both backed by respectable-seeming research and surveys - and yet they can’t possibly both be true. Until you realise the fundamental logical flaws in both positions: the presupposition that unauthorised downloading of music has a causal effect - indeed, is the only causal factor - on the fortunes of the music business.

Clearly, as soon as you take a step back and think about it logically, so-called ‘piracy’ cannot possibly be anything more than one of a whole range of factors affecting the music industry as a whole, simply because the world is a complicated place and people are complex and interesting. There are political, economic, social, cultural and technological factors all influencing the industry’s affairs - and it stands to reason that different influencing factors are pulling in all sorts of different directions.

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Monday
Nov302009

So now you get it, but do you really?

It’s a hard thing to admit when you’re wrong. Whether it’s in an argument or approach, at work or at play, it can be incredibly challenging to suck it up and admit that it’s not someone or something else’s fault, but your own. You know the people who have a thousand reasons for why they’re not getting somewhere, and the reasons always have to do with all these other people and all these other things, but let’s be honest: the world at large is seldom solely to blame.

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Monday
Nov302009

Money can't buy you love

If I had $5,000 to spend on music promotion, I certainly wouldn’t waste it on any of the following:

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Monday
Nov232009

An Interview With Zoë Keating

zoe-keating-interview

I recently had the chance to interview acclaimed musician, Zoë Keating. Zoë has been called a “one-woman orchestra,” layering her cello into unique and captivating works. She has worked with Imogen Heap, Mark Isham, The Dresden Dolls, Rasputina, DJ Shadow, and Paolo Nutini. Her self-produced album “One Cello x 16: Natoma” soared to #1 on the iTunes Classical charts and #2 on the Electronica charts. Continue reading to get a glimpse into the mind of one of today’s musical greats.

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Monday
Nov232009

First Impressions are now more important than ever.

Everyone is tired of that same old  phrase “you only get one chance to make a first impression”. It is repeated ad nauseum from business schools to beauty pageants and everywhere in between. As much as I would rather say to throw away the stuffy old phrases, parables and sayings, this is one that seems to grow more and more true every day. Especially in the music industry.

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Sunday
Nov222009

Music Think Tank is Under Renovation

Over the next few days, Music Think Tank will be undergoing some cosmetic renovations.  At times, the site may appear unfinished and some items may look out of place.

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Wednesday
Nov182009

Does Anyone Have a Music Related Domain For Sale?

Does anyone have a good music-related domain they want to sell for less than $1,000 USD?  Please post a comment that includes the domain.  I can’t provide more information, but chances are there are other readers looking also.  Personally, I prefer the .com over any other extension.  Thanks.

Monday
Nov162009

Ten Tips that Every Musician Should Apply to Their Career

As the holiday season approaches, and we get in to that thing about good will to all, all those other quips about being better people for a moment—which personally, I think should go through out the whole year and not just the shopping season (sorry, holiday season), I wanted to put out a quick rant (speaking of Good Will) that I’ll call Ten Tips that Every Musician Should Apply to Their Career. These apply to both the music and business sides of he equation. Many apply to those who are not musicians but work in the music business.
Hell, a few apply to anyone working in any business. So, New title: Ten Tips for Everyone Alive on the Planet

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Saturday
Nov142009

Transformative Vs Incremental Change

OK, I’m going to try and explain why Big Music genuinely doesn’t get what’s happening with the online stuff. It’s easy to dismiss the thoughts coming out about ‘3 Strikes Laws’, and Bit Torrent being to blame for the death of musicians’ livelihoods etc. as being a bunch of really rich people want to keep their massive piece of the pie - and there is some of that, for sure. But there’s also an entire way of thinking that explains why they feel the way they do. 

The problem is to do with the difference in response required between transformative change, and incremental change. 

Sticking with the music industry, let’s have a look at some examples of both, starting with incremental change:

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Thursday
Nov122009

How to RUIN Your Music Career in 7 Easy Steps

Everybody wants to know the easy, proven steps to music success. Therefore, most experts offers tips and strategies to help you reach your goals in a positive light — including me.

Well, it’s time to shake things up and serve a new audience — which explains why this post takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the dark side: How to destroy your music career in seven easy steps …

1) Give Away Your Personal Power

The first step to destroying your music career is to realize that your destiny is in the hands of other people and circumstances beyond your control. Fully embrace the fact that you need to be in the right place at the right time to get your “lucky break” and be “discovered.”

Know that industry people and music critics must deem you worthy of success for you to have value as a musician. Also, cling to the belief that all the answers are “out there” somewhere and out of your control and you will be incredibly successful at failure.

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Tuesday
Nov102009

University research proves that the smart interlinking of multiple artist-controlled web properties drives success

I recently took a fantastic journey to Australia where I spoke at a music conference called Big Sound in Brisbane. There I had the honor and privilege of meeting Dave Carter, a Dr. at Griffith University who was presenting a fascinating study called The Online Marketing Research Paper. 

The Online Marketing Research Paper examines the web presence and sales data for 99 independent Australian artists distributed by Musicadium (a digital music & video distribution service) to identify whether any of the documented online activity corresponded with proportionally higher royalty returns to artists.

I think all artists should read through this important case study.  You can download it by visiting here: http://www.musicadium.com/online-marketing-research-paper

In my opinion Dave Carter found out some very interesting things: (Disclaimer: I may find this study so inspiring is it scientifically backs up my theories and teachings at Ariel Publicity and in my book/online course Music Success in Nine Weeks. Affirmation feels so sweet….)

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Monday
Nov092009

Ok, you make great music, but what’s your value proposition?

Listen to your music for the first time again.
Examine your online presence as a first-time visitor would.
Imagine standing in a corner watching one of your shows for the first time.

Ask yourself: As a fan or potential fan, what does your stuff, message and existence do for me?  The answer to this question is your ‘value proposition’. 

For example:
All of this entertains me.
All of this helps me to forget.
All of this helps my social life.
All of this makes me socially aware.
All of this informs me.
All of this energizes me.
All of this calms me.
All of this helps me to feel young again.

Artists and songs don’t necessarily compete, but the value proposition(s) you choose to deliver defines the broad (market and product) segment you are competing within.  For example: are you competing within the ‘all-this-entertains-me’ segment or within the ‘all-of-this-energizes-me’ segment or within an overlapping slice in between?

When considering the delivery of a value proposition, consider the following (random examples):

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Sunday
Nov082009

What are you listening to when it comes to music?

What music did you listen to today? Was it one of your favorite songs, albums or compilations? Was it something you listen to often? Once you’ve got that figured out, ask yourself a few more questions. Beyond practicing your instrument, writing your music and managing the business side of things, how are you nurturing your ears and your inspirations? Just as you needed books in school to provide you with a vocabulary that would allow you to write, you need to listen to music in the same way. It’s about connecting with what you like but also listening to where it comes from.

In some ways it’s like vitamins—musical supplements. While you might prefer big band jazz, it can be educational to listen to other styles, like pop, country and Latin, to name a few. Even crooners like Frank Sinatra listened to and even covered artists like the Beatles. It’s about understanding what inspires you, but also about being a student of music, which means listening to as much as you can, even the stuff you don’t like.

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