Home Think Tank

Last week, India Coran from Dale Speaking Radio Promotions and Digital Marketing in Toronto finally got to see Cher. It was a pretty incredible moment for her as she’s always been a fan. But as she likely danced all night, she came up with a list of things any artist can learn from Cher, and it’s pretty solid:

1) Have a kick-ass personality

She was known for years as “The Bitch” on Sonny and Cher. During her show while fans were screaming she was bold enough to say, “Shut up, I’m talking”. How do you not love that?

2) You don’t need to “fit in”

Cher made a point that she was never really a singer or an actress, so she had to figure things out on her own. You might not be a pop, rock, country etc artist. You may be a mix. You can still figure it out.

3) Make your shows a spectacle!

Granted, she does have A LOT more $$$ for fancy stage setups, dancers etc. But the point is that you should aim to make it impossible for people to take their eyes off of you.

4) Have a social media persona!

Cher is 67 and posts on twitter daily. Her tweets are emoticon filled, and it’s awesome. If Cher can do it, you can do it.

5) It’s ok to lack radio play

Cher’s newest album, Closest to the Truth, yielded 3 singles. Combined, they only received 105 spins on Canadian radio. Does she care? No. A lack of radio play is not the end of the world. I know that Cher has a huge reputation, but that’s all in the past. She’s not reaching any new fans via radio.

6) Use effects tastefully

Cher was the first artist to ever use auto-tune. It was an effect used in her 1998 single “Believe”. It’s a little bit of a signature sound now for her, but it’s used an an effect in dancier songs (such as Take It Like a Man), rather than a necessity. (In other words, she can sing!). If you’re a singer, make sure you can sing (live and recorded) without relying on auto-tune to fix imperfections.

7) Pay for the recording

Cher is listed as “Executive Producer’ on her new album. In other words, she fronted the $. It seems to be the way that music is going. As an artist, you’ll probably have to raise funds to record your album.

8) You can film a music video on a modest budget

Minus Cher’s extravagant paper headdress, her video for “Woman’s World” is just girls dancing in front of a green screen. Totally doable! There are so many ways to make a creative, budget friendly music video.

9) Be Confident

Cher doesn’t give a s*it what other people think about her. She looks, acts and dresses the way that she does because it makes her happy. A little marketing to emphasize who you are is great, but stay true to yourself!

10) Be Healthy 

Being an artist can mean a lot of late nights, partying, poor nutrition etc. The key to longevity is to be healthy. Cher has the most amazing body that I’ve ever seen for someone 67. If you want longevity in your career, you have to be healthy and treat yourself right (that includes adequate sleep!).

From Business Insider:

Investing in a startup like Turntable has to be hard. You put money in and it seems like a rocket ship — then all of a sudden it tanks. What’s that like?

FW: Well, I think we made a bunch of mistakes there, some of which I would blame on the board and some of which I would blame on the company. But in general I think we did not react to the data. The problem with that service was people churned out of it very quickly.

People would come in, fall in love with it and then six to eight weeks later, they were done with it. We knew that pretty early on, but it was hidden by the fact that the number of people who were coming on board every day was higher than the number of people who were churning out. It looked good, but we actually knew that there was something about the service.

I think the problem was that it was too demanding. You had to be in it. It was too social of an experience. What I think we could have done, if we had moved quickly, is that we could have created a passive listening experience. The reality is, if you’re into electronic music or Indie Rock music or Hip Hop or whatever, there were Turntable rooms that were creating as good of a passive listening experience as anything you could get on the Internet, with these super-engaged small groups of users who were creating the streams. If there was a way to just put a Turntable room on and listen to it in the background, I think we could have built an interesting business. But we didn’t move to do that. We just stuck with it too long and it fizzled out.

BI: Spotify came out pretty soon after and stole some of the thunder.

FW: Spotify had been around. I think Spotify launched in the U.S., though, in a big way. I think those are different things. I don’t feel that that was the problem. Someone told me a long time ago that 80% — and this number has been true since the dawn of recorded music — 80% of listening is when someone’s playing the music for you and 20% of listening is when you’re playing the music for yourself.

Vinyl records, CDs, MP3, iTunes and Spotify are experiences where I get to control what I’m listening to and Pandora or AM radio or FM radio is when someone plays the music for me. I think there’s a huge market out there for, “I don’t really want to think about it. I just want to listen.” Pandora is huge.

I think with Turntable we just got that mix wrong. But it was good while it lasted.


The Best Anti-Bullying Ad I’ve Ever Seen.

33 Fascinating Songwriting Stories.

150 Amazing Quotes to Feed Your Creative Soul.

9 Things Every Musician Needs To Know About The Sound Guy.

Thurston Moore’s 38 Favorite Songs Of All Time.

Building your fanbase with more frequent releases.

U.S. Internet Ad Revenue Surpasses Broadcast For First Time Ever.

‘You’re Still Here?’: A Brief History of the Movie Post-Credits Sequence.

‘Say Anything’ At 25: Nothing Bought, Sold Or Processed.

Love to listen to music at work? You’re not alone! Spotify just released their research study showing that two in three people (61%) listen to music in the workplace and best yet, that listening to music at work leads to happier employees and boosts office morale and creativity.

This month, the music streaming company partnered with Dr Anneli Haake, an expert on music in the workplace, to conduct research on office listening habits. Here’s some of their fascinating findings:

* Over a third (36%) of workers find that music helps to get them through the day
* 20% of workers find that listening to music is a welcome distraction from their “boring” jobs.
* 16% admitted that they listen to music to drown out colleagues.
* One in ten (10%) revealed that they have judged a colleague based on their choice of music.
* The songs that topped the workplace charts? Their research showed that the most popular genre of music in the workplace is pop/chart music, with over a third (34%) choosing it as their preferred genre, closely followed by rock (29%).

From DIYMusician:

Here is a quick list of artist revenue streams you may not’ve tried to tap into yet.

Remember, I said “streams.” Not all of these options are going to turn into giant rivers of cash on their own.

But when you add them to your normal music sales and performance revenues, they can make a huge difference in the success and sustainability of your music career.

14 ways musicians can earn more money this year
1. Alternative performances and house concerts - Fill in those blank calendar dates while touring. Check out “The Musician’s Guide to House Concerts” and our list of alternative venues.

2. Performance royalties - Get paid whenever your original music is used on terrestrial and internet radio, TV, and more.

3. Mechanical royalties – Maybe you’re already collecting a lot of your performance royalties through a Performing Rights Organization. But are you getting paid mechanical royalties for global streams, international downloads, and more? If not, CD Baby Pro will make sure you get paid ALL the publishing royalties you’re owed.

4. Your music on YouTube - That’s right, the video streaming giant is also becoming a giant in the world of music discovery and monetization too — and CD Baby can help you get paid for the usage of your music on YouTube.

Continue reading the rest of the story on DIYMusician

From DIYMusician:

Gone are the days when you’d record and release a new album every three or four years, throw all your promotional eggs into that one basket, tour non-stop for two years, and then repeat. Everything has changed, from the consumption habits of music fans to the costs and processes of music production.

Nowadays — especially in the independent music world — the more music you release (assuming it’s good music), the greater your chances of building a loyal fanbase that can help you sustain a successful career. Whether you’re releasing monthly singles, two EPs a year, or creating multiple live albums per tour, frequency is becoming key to building a buzz.

Here are 10 reasons you should be recording and distributing more music
1. Keep your existing fans “tuned in” - Our attention spans are getting shorter and our entertainment options are increasing. If you disappear for three years without any new music, you can’t expect your old fans to pick right up where you left off. You need to stay on their radar if you want them to continue supporting you with equal fervor. The more frequently you release music, the more chances you have to remind them of why they love you.

2. Generate more opportunities for press - Likewise, the more music you put out, the more chances you have to contact bloggers, music magazines, local weeklies, etc. Pinning all your PR hopes on one album release every few years really limits your chances to get the press talking about your music.

3. Pace your creative and recording workload - It’s very time-consuming (and potentially expensive) to complete a major recording project all at once. Generally to finish tracking and mixing a full album in one stretch, you’re looking at anywhere from two to twelve weeks’ worth of work. But what about one song a month? That sounds more manageable, healthy, and realistic, which probably means it’s more likely to happen!

You’ll put everything you have into one song at a time to get it right; then have a little break from recording until next month — rather than exhausting all your energy or ideas. You can release a single every month for a year (and even do a release party for each one if you want to draw some extra attention to the new music). At the end of the year, compile the best ten tracks into an album.

Continue reading the rest of the story on DIYMusician

Jerry Seinfeld stopped by Reddit for one of its famous Ask Me Anythings a few weeks back, and he has a few interesting thoughts on life for anyone to follow:

On Critics: “Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist…Instead of fighting them, I would say “You seem so upset, and I know that’s not what you wanted to have happen tonight. Let’s talk about your problem” and the audience would find it funny and it would really discombobulate the heckler too, because I wouldn’t go against them, I would take their side.”

On Having Enthusiasm: “In fact I would go so far as to say that was the key to the entire show, was that we really felt like together we were funny, and then the audience felt it, and that’s how you can somehow catch lightning in a bottle.”

On His Popularity: “That’s why I wanted to go back into doing standup comedy, because as the star of your own TV show you don’t get treated like that but as a standup performer you do get treated like that. It was hilarious, and absurd, but standup is a life of just brutal reality which is the opposite of the life I had been leading in LA and that I missed.”

On Creativity: “Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.”

On Having A Dream: “I chose comedy because I thought it seemed much easier than work. And more fun than work. It turned out to be much harder than work, and not easy at all. But you still don’t have to ever really grow up. And that’s the best thing of all.”

From Salon:

From the ’60s on, Jim Henson’s work would reach nearly every child, whether it was “The Muppet Show,” “Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas,” “Fraggle Rock,” “The Storyteller,” the Muppet movies, “John Denver and the Muppets,” “Labyrinth,” “The Dark Crystal,” “The Jim Henson Hour,” or “Muppet Babies.” Unlike Sesame Street, Henson’s later work did not have a “curriculum” created by Harvard psychologists at the Children’s Television Workshop. All the same, each show and movie had purpose.

Henson told his staff that with “Fraggle Rock,” he wanted to make a show that would help “stop war in the world” by teaching conflict resolution. “Muppet Babies” was made to encourage imagination. According to the show’s head writer, “[Henson] wanted children to believe anything is possible. That’s the only thing that’s going to save this planet — the power of imagination.” Though “The Muppet Show” did not have any overt “teaching objectives,” it had the implicit message that all kinds of weirdos and goofballs can work together in peace, give or take a few explosions. Underneath the screwball humor, “The Muppet Show” had a message of brotherhood.

From The Dissolve:

Frank Sinatra was almost designed to appeal only to teenage girls, in a way their parents simply couldn’t understand. 

Savage: He had a big cock, as it happens. I’m sure that wasn’t promoted at the time. Sorry. [Laughs.] I don’t have a problem with teen pop. I’d actually much rather have One Direction than any number of boring, shit rock bands, and there are so many boring, shit rock bands at the minute, I can’t tell you. They drive me to distraction, because it’s kind of dishonest. People are trying to be something they’re not. There’s loads of awful rock bands in the States, there’s loads of awful rock bands in the U.K. There’s a current one they’re promoting, a band called Elbow, and they’re so fucking dreadful. There’s also the way it’s promoted, real music for real people, and I just think, “Oh, for God’s sake.” They’re just as constructed as a teen band, and a teen band is more honest, and probably a lot more fun. What people always forget is that pop culture, as we understand it, begins with young women going crazy at a boy band or a solo singer. That’s the way it starts. Everybody goes on about rock culture in the ’60s—which is great, which I love, which I grew up with—but The Beatles began as a boy band, and they got a lot of attention because they wrote records for teenage girls, and teenage girls screamed at them. That’s the way it all started. A lot of guys forget that, and they sneer at teen pop, but if it hadn’t been for teen pop, the kind of music they like probably wouldn’t have existed.

The Dissolve: I’ve never been able to find the exact quote, but Andrew Loog Oldham said one of the key ingredients for a pop band’s success is that “the girls have got to want to fuck them.” You’re kidding yourself if you pretend that’s not part of it. 

Savage: Exactly. And Andrew Loog Oldham knows. Andrew’s views on the whole thing are so right on the ball, it’s incredible.

From The Dissolve:

Author Jon Savage has been steadily making his way through the 20th century’s fourth quarter, writing The Kinks: The Official BiographyEngland’s Dreaming, the definitive history of U.K. punk; and the essay collection Time TravelFrom The Sex Pistols To Nirvana. But with Teenage: The Creation Of Youth Culture, he jumped back to the 20th century’s first half, to a time when adolescence as we now know it was thought of only as a brief way-station between childhood and adulthood. Between the first and second World Wars, popular culture discovered the teenager, a new audience whose preferences could be served and shaped without passing through the closely guarded gates of parental approval. In Matt Wolf’s documentary, which Savage helped adapt from his book, the coalescing of this newly understood demographic is broken down into representative characters like movie star Brenda Dean Paul, a member of the London social circle that became known as the Bright Young Things, and burgeoning Hitler Youth Melita Maschmann; not everyone who learned how to exploit adolescent psychology did it with good intentions. In a sense, theTeenage film isn’t a documentary so much as a séance, transporting viewers into the minds of those who, unbeknownst even to themselves, helped give birth to a world where the whims of teenage consumers leave marketing mavens quivering with a mixture of anticipation and fear.

You first came up with the idea that became Teenage when you were working at Granada TV in the 1980s. Was there a sense of bringing it full circle in going back to a documentary format?

Savage: This is such a convoluted story. It’s taken 34 years from the first memo I wrote to the head of features in Granada in early 1980 for the film to finally be made. After I finished the book, I didn’t want to have anything in television or film coming out at the same time. I wanted the book to stand alone. Also, I didn’t have time to work on anything while I was finishing the book; it was such an all-encompassing task. We talked to a few TV people in the U.K., and it was just really depressing. They all wanted to put their own stamp on it—you know, “Why don’t we do this? Why don’t we do that?” Because I don’t want to. Because it’s my project, and if you don’t want to do what I want to do, then you can fuck off, basically. I’ve been in the game for long enough to know what I want, and to know that if by the end of the first meeting, somebody’s actually trying to turn you over, then it’s not going to work.