A few days ago, I looked out at the waves crashing on the beach, almost not daring to believe that my fantasy of living in Ibiza has become my reality. The million-dollar question: Now what?
Well, while my social media feed is giving you a curated glimpse of what I’m up to, I’m writing this to highlight one of the major goals I’ve tasked myself with: encouraging more collaboration within the music industry. And while you are seeing the glitz of the shows, you are missing out on the behind-the-scenes work that everyone within this biz, from artist to producer to promoter should be doing: collaborating.
Music collaboration is a dazzling yet challenging artform in itself. Ask anyone in the business and they’ll tell you that. But, more often than not, the rewards outweigh the risks and the end result is worth all the time and effort it takes to nail a collaboration. Let’s face it: there has been a steady rise in “feat.” It is a trend here to stay. The most important part is leveraging it to work for your music. And in order for that to happen, you will have to sharpen your self-awareness skills.
To be an awesome collaborator, you need to know what you bring to the table. Then you will understand exactly what to look for when partnering up. Playing on your strengths and finding someone who is able to pivot from your weaknesses is paramount. You might be able to lay down a beat but can’t translate that into lyrics, for example. It’s here that some of the greatest tunes have been born (think Queen and Bowie!). You can also approach collaborating the way you approach reading a map, passing from one musician to the next—you can see where someone has been … is there a different route you could have used to get there?
Your partner is your extra pair of hands, ears, and as the old saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.”
Can’t create? Facilitate!
«So,you can’t create? Distribute. You can’t create today, facilitate.» – Gary Vee
When I think of successful collaborators that are not only able to produce but distribute, DJ Snake is one of the people who come to mind. He is killin’ it in the collab field and his impact on the music scene is immeasurable. For starters, he is as diverse as you can get and totally owns it. From his signature electronic experimentation to Lady GaGa to Bieber to reggaetón, he has done it all. Recently, he confirmed he had a K-Pop collaboration in the pipeline. Just think about the potential he is tapping into by crossing genres here: the entire Asian continent is now at his fingertips. By tucking a collaboration with a K-Pop band in his pocket, his audience will not just grow… it will explode. He has become a pioneer in the field, a true innovator, with no plans on slowing down.
So, you now have a solid example of how to collaborate and think outside the box. You know how to make the contacts. You know which of your strengths to leverage. But how can you apply this to the distribution process? The way we consume music has changed dramatically along with the digital shift. Think about it – what’s the value in owning a single album when you can have an unlimited library? Streaming services have now taken the reigns.
It’s the same technology that has disrupted the music industry that can empower artists to reach new heights. Since the marginal costs of distribution is more or less free, you need to take your distribution level to the max. And you need to be present everywhere. Not only that, but you need to be genuine. Why, you ask?
Because new media rests on one thing: personal relationships. The days of mass marketing are disappearing in front of our eyes. By engaging with your audience in authentic and sincere way, you create trust. Moreover, you are bringing an added value to individuals and communities of your followers.
Below are some hacks you can incorporate into your daily distribution process, starting right now. No excuses, get to it!
Attend offline events! At these events: network, network, network. This is where a lot of the magic happens organically. Registering a new audience is the main objective of this hack. But you also need to think about how you can maximize your visibility. For example, a merch collaboration with whoever is playing the gig is an easy way to support them and float your brand at the same time.
Use influencers to help you gain new audiences and a bigger following. Here, you can cross genres to really relate to your audience. Hone in on what a particular audience has an interest in and tap into another field of expertise. For example, track down a vlogger who speaks to a similar audience. Better yet, make a list of 100 relevant vloggers and give them your music for free. As long as you have the proper creds for them to link back to your Spotify or Soundcloud, etc. then you are set. In turn, they can use your music in their videos that are viewed a thousand times over.
Set a schedule and carve out time to engage with your audience across your social media channels. From 3:00-5:00 p.m. reply, comment, and DM with your followers. And don’t forget to spend time curating who you are following. It’s very important to put out meaningful content when you are doing this. If you’re thinking an emoji here & there cuts it … you are gravely mistaken. Remember my little spill about being genuine? This is your chance to showcase your authenticity. If you are speaking to everyone then you are essentially speaking to no one. Above all, the best type of content is created with intent. So, to put it simply: your fried shrimp emoji is probably not going to lead anywhere.
Ibiza: Bringing people together
I was able to catch Swedish Mafias only show in Ibiza last week at Ushuaia. The feeling of the crowd was electric, the energy was high. And what’s more, collaboration was at its core. Ibiza is, as you all know, is a teeny-tiny island. Despite its lack in size, it attracts musicians from all over the world come here to play.
What really resonated with me was when he said the island is all about, “Bringing people together.” Read: Ibiza opens the door for collaboration. I can’t list the amount of shows where this has surfaced, either last-minute or through a prior connection made at an offline event. But I can tell you this: it works.
More next time! Keep up with me at @rebecca_bakken on Insta in the meantime!