Home Music Marketing Indie Artists. When Two Becomes One. The Power Of Collaboration

Indie Artists. When Two Becomes One. The Power Of Collaboration

Indie Artists. Embrace The Power of Collaboration.

Collaboration is a proven way to extend the reach of your music to a new highly engaged audience and it anyone can do it.

The power of collaboration

It’s tough trying to make it as an artist right now, but spare a thought for labels too. It’s a tough time to be trying to turn a profit from music, especially as most people seem to think music is free.

Despite all the doom and gloom, there is something unsigned artists can learn from the record label model.  Think of a record label as an exercise in spread betting rather than putting all their eggs in one basket, they sign a bunch of artists and hope a few succeed. The money from the few flows down to support the development of the newer artists.

It’s not just financial support that is shared around, labels frequently send their bands out on the road together and encourage collaboration between their artists as a way of cross-selling and introducing their artists to a new audience. You only have to look at the pop charts to see this in action and there are some true masters of this. Madonna befriends Britney, Coldplay befriends Rihanna, Joss Stone befriends er everyone, and Elton John befriends Eminem.

Let’s face it, you could be waiting a while for that major label to snap you up. In the meantime why not try to borrow some of label best practices and collaborate?

As an independent artist, you are just that…’ independent’ but there are benefits to working with others and if you don’t mind surrendering a small amount of control you might just reap the rewards. However, before you dive in, here are some ideas about how best to ensure success and minimise the risk of a collaborative effort.

Start by finding your musical ally’s these are bands or artists that have a similar, but not identical sound. The best partnerships are equal so that means you both have to work hard, and you both have something to offer the other. It’s not about just siding up to a band with a large fan base and then sitting back.

Start with a plan.
  1. What do you both want to achieve? (Produce a list of desired outcomes)
  2. How are you going to achieve it? (What’s the promotional plan?)
  3. What are the roles of each band member in delivering this plan?
  4. How much time are you going to commit to this?
  5. How much money do you need to commit to this?
With an agreed plan in place, it’s time to start and see what you can achieve. Build in time for a midway catch-up to ensure the plan is on track allowing for any adjustments to be made. If somebody isn’t pulling their weight now’s the time to flag it up.

At the end of the promotional cycle take time to review the activity. Did you achieve what you had hoped? If not what needs to change before considering running future joint activity?

Ideas For Creative Collaboration:
  • Endorsement. Champion their music to your fans on Facebook, Twitter and mention their name during press interviews
  • Release a split single, EP or Podcast Half the costs and double the promotional reach
  • Gig swap. Invite them to support you in your home venue and they return the favour providing each other with an audience in a virgin territory
  • Equipment or member share. Play in each other’s bands and share gear and transport
  • Recording. Write and produce tracks for each other or create remixes
  • Covers. Record a cover of their track and introduce your fans to their music
  • Name Check. Insert their name into the lyrics of a song
  • Bundle releases. EG Introduce your fans to their music by including their last single bundled with your album
  • Sales swap. Sell their music in your online shop and vice versa
  • Skills swap. EG Trade your video production skills for their graphic design expertise
Remember there is nothing to stop you from working with more than one other artist. If it goes well, why not try adding more artists and forming your artist coalition?