Why Collaboration is Critical to Your Success as a Musician

Why Collaboration is Critical to Your Success as a Musician

Collaboration is a bit of a buzzword in the music industry. But it’s often misconstrued and not always well understood by artists at the level it should be.

The tendency might be to roll your eyes or even cringe at the thought of co-writing a song, hiring a session player to jam out a killer solo on your latest track, or inviting another band to open for you. But once you’re aware of the total upside potential, you probably won’t think that way anymore.

Here’s why collaboration is critical to your success as a musician.

Being a Good Hang

Successful collaborations are a measure of your willingness and ability to work with others and be a good hang.

All things being equal, most band and project leaders are looking for easygoing bandmates. Skill can be taught, but attitude? It’s usually more trouble than it’s worth.

From sessions to live performance, your ability to land more and better gigs relies a great deal on whether others see you as being a good hang. It seems insane, but more opportunity will come your way if you focus on building a positive reputation.

Unless you plan to do everything yourself in your music career, including but not limited to writing songs, recording yourself, replicating your own CDs, and more, you’d better learn how to play nicely with others. Your ability to progress in your career may end up depending on it.

Ideally, you want to build multiple strategic connections with people who can help you move with velocity in your career.

Creating a Better Product

Collaborating with the right people gives you instant access to more and better ideas. Other artists may have experiences you don’t, skills and knowledge in areas you don’t, approaches and methodologies you’re not aware of, and more.

Collaboration truly is the name of the game in the music industry, even at a high level. Rarely if ever does one person write and record a song from start to finish anymore. Usually, there are multiple people involved, in a variety of capacities, be it writing, arranging, producing, or otherwise.

If you want to make better music, collaboration is the shortcut you’ve been looking for. By focusing on relationship, you can even ask for tips on live performance, booking gigs, resources, connections, and more.

Show me an artist with access to more of the right guidance and direction, and I will show you an artist who’s capable of creating better music, better live shows, better content, and more.

Leveraging the Power of Cross Promotion

An easy way to amplify your promo efforts is with the help of others.

Know it or not, there are plenty of secret alliances and “engagement groups” playing out online on blogs, social media, email lists, and more. If you’ve ever wondered how some people you see in your feeds get more likes, shares, and comments, now you know how that happens.

If you’re not forging your own pacts, you’re leaving opportunity on the table.

Participation in a project does not guarantee proactive involvement on the part of all participants, but all things being equal, someone who’s worked on something with you and is getting credit for it is far more likely to share it out than someone who hasn’t.

If you’re wondering who to ask, artists and bands who are eager to grow are far more likely to be receptive to arrangements like the ones just hinted at.

But the real question is – are you receptive to cross promotion and working with others to grow your music?

Creating Goodwill with Others

Most people who are vocal in any capacity tend to be self-interested. They are clueless when it comes to pitching, because they think it’s all about asking for what they want, before they’ve established what’s in it for the person they’re asking.

True collaboration requires empathy. We need to be willing to see things from the perspective of those we’re collaborating with. What would serve them? What would make a difference for them? How could we add value to them?

From that place, just about anything is possible. But if you’re only interested in what you can get out of the collaboration, you’re going to deplete even the few connections and resources you have access to.

That’s not going to help you build your career. You need to flip this on its head, and instead identify the circles of influence that exist around you. You want to stay top of mind with them, so comment on their social media posts, share valuable articles, send them the occasional gift, and the like. Be thoughtful.

If you effort to build up goodwill with others and make it your focus, you’ll be able to call in your own favors later.

In any collaborative situation, make it your mission to give more than you ask for.

Conclusion

If collaboration seems daunting, and you’re not even sure where to begin, remember this – all you really need is one partner. Even if all you do is retweet each other’s singles upon release, if you have the right structures in place, you can benefit from each other’s involvement, as well as resources and connections. What partnership will you be creating today?

Noah’s Ark

Noah’s Ark

In business, Noah’s Ark is about having two of everything, because one of anything is a compromise.

Internet connections can go down. Hard drives can crap out. Superstar employees can quit. And if you don’t have a backup, you’ll have to rebuild the infrastructure you worked so hard to set up in the first place.

This is a position of compromise, and smart and experienced entrepreneurs don’t like positions of compromise. They like to address problems before they crop up.

Of course, you can’t know everything that’s going to happen before it happens. But if you have two of everything, it ensures that your business can continue to operate under fire, sometimes without interruption.

Monday morning, I was starting to feel the early warning signs of a flu. Like most illnesses that seem to pass me by, I didn’t think it was going to take. But it did. All the symptoms ambushed me last night – fever, chills, aches, headache, coughing, and runny nose.

Today hasn’t been a walk in the park, though I can be grateful that I’m about to wrap up my day before 10:00 PM, which is good for a Thursday.

But this led me to a key realization. I need a backup for myself.

Until now, I simply couldn’t see how I might be able to make this happen. Now I remember that there’s a lot of strength in partners and duos. When they’re banging on all cylinders, they’re not twice as effective, they’re able to accomplish so much more.

Today, I much rather would have enjoyed staying in bed than working for nearly 12 hours straight. If there was someone who had my back, I wouldn’t have had to do it all myself.

I see now that anything could happen, and if for whatever reason I couldn’t do the work, loss of income and reputation is unavoidable. If I have a trustworthy partner, we wouldn’t have to lose the revenue. We would simply spread it differently among ourselves.

Having a partner would also enable me to free up time and take on other projects. I bet we could find some better paying work.

I can’t do it all myself. I’m about as booked up as I wish to be. There’s no sense in trying to be superhuman all the time. A more sensible plan is to grow my team.

There will be a process to hiring, onboarding, and training, but I can see it being worthwhile if I can find someone I can divide and conquer with.

Collaboration with Gaki Music

Collaboration with Gaki Music

2022 collaboration with Gaki Music

This year, I’m excited to be working with Gaki Music in a variety of capacities…

Much more will be revealed regarding our collaborations, so keep an eye on things. 👀

But we’d both like to encourage you to listen to the latest episode of our respective podcasts. 🎙️

Co-hosting has been a blast, and the year’s just getting started.

Let’s have an excellent 2022 together! 🥳

How to Collaborate Strategically in Your Music Career

How to Collaborate Strategically in Your Music Career

These days, I have four to five meetings per week discussing various collaborative opportunities. These meetings only last an hour, on average, and are quite productive. We find that we can get quite a lot done in an hour if we’re focused and clear on what we need to do.

These collaborations have led to opportunities in the publishing, entertainment, health and wellness, as well as the skincare and beauty industries. Some of this makes sense, I’m sure, based on what you already know about me, but I didn’t necessarily expect that I would be launching into the skincare industry!

Your collaborations will take you to new heights. They will make new, unprecedented opportunities possible.

That said, collaboration isn’t always the best idea. It’s certainly not a silver bullet.

I’ve had a handful of collaborations that were successful, but many others that were half-baked, and some which were total disasters. It’s always good to do your due diligence before entering a partnership.

But like it or not, the musical world is built on collaborations. Whether it’s songwriters, arrangers, composers, bands, co-writes, engineers, producers, managers, or otherwise, collaboration is going to form the foundation of your career activity.

And, of course, there are going to be opportunities to collaborate with other bands, radio stations, bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, and so forth.

To that extent, it’s worth being a good hang and being easy to work with. I know there are some well-publicized jerks out there, but when push comes to shove, attitude doesn’t fly. The music business is a people business, and if you can’t find your tribe, it’s going to be like treading quicksand. Burn enough bridges and no one will want to work with you.

And as with anything else, we need to prioritize the collaborative opportunities that make the most sense. When you’re first getting started, it’s okay to say “yes” more, but as your career train picks up steam, you’re going to want to be more selective.

Ultimately, collaborative opportunities should be sought out and pursued, because in a relationship where everyone is holding their own, 1 + 1 does not = 2. In the right relationship, your collective efforts will be multiplied.

Elite Players: All Access Pass Update – October 1, 2021

Elite Players: All Access Pass Update – October 1, 2021

If you aren’t already an Elite Players: All Access Pass member, here’s what you missed out on this week:

  • A juicy, new members only audio was added to the Members Only Audios module

More updates to come next week (as promised)!

If You Aren’t an Elite Players: All Access Pass Member, You’re Missing Out

Elite Players: All Access Pass is our premium online academy for musicians who want to get their music heard, grow their fan base, build their online presence, develop their social media following, earn more money from their music, find success as a DIY artist, discover how the music biz works, find new collaborative opportunities, thrive in the new music industry, and more.

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