We are more than halfway through our first year of ABTS and we’re just as surprised as you are that we’ve been able to keep this up! We have lots of plans and dreams for this little side baby, but we want to know what YOU want from us. Do you have questions for us? Specific things we haven’t addressed? How we do a certain thing/attack a certain problem? Have a specific scenario you want advice about (music related only, please... we're not equipped for anything else). Let us know! We’d love to start addressing actual questions and concerns from other indie artists. Shoot us a note here.
NOW… let’s get to it!
We’ve touched a little on collaborating in the past, mentioning the importance of having a friend group in the industry, and a group of peers that can review and critique your work. Today, we want to dive into the collaboration topic a little deeper and talk about other ways you can do it outside of songwriting, critiquing, and touring. No matter what stage of your career that you’re in, you can come up with some pretty innovative ways to work with others in a mutually beneficial way.
Throw a party. Team up with other bands of similar size to create a night of music at a local venue. Strive to make it different than a typical 4 bands on a bill sort of night - theme it (“Everyone dresses like Stevie Nicks”?? Come on, someone do that!), partner with and raise money for a local charity, see if you can get any local shops to throw in something for a giveaway, etc etc etc. There are ways to make this something that people want to go to. This will take a little extra effort on your part, but I promise the return will be much greater.
Partner with a brand. Oh! Did you catch me mention that giveaway above? You may think that brand partnerships are reserved for the top of the top artists. Not so, my friend! You just need to get a little crafty. I’m assuming if you’re reading this Coke probably doesn’t want to sponsor your tour. However, maybe Doug’s T-shirt Shack IS willing to sponsor your local show through either money OR giveaways and promotion. Not only does this build a relationship with Doug, but you also get to tap into his customer base as well. As with all partnerships (big and small), there needs to be an exchange in value, so don’t just waltz in asking for money. Show the brand/shop who you are, what your fanbase is like, and what they can get in return from you. Here are a few things we’ve done:
TRUETT partnered with Goorin Brothers for his hometown EP release show. We did an acoustic session in the local store, had a giveaway, and did some great cross promotion
Ron Pope gave away a “Nashville Favorites” gift box as a competition prize. We partnered with local artisans to donate goods (and social media mentions). It was one of the coolest ones we’ve done to date AND the fans got some legit stuff!
Videos. This might seem straight forward, but a lot of people just don't do it. Book a day with your other artist friends, book a videographer, and get some great content for all of you to use. Covers do exceptionally well in this format, but it doesn't hurt to add a unique spin on your originals also.
Team up with a charity for a long-term partnership. I mentioned including a charity in an event in #1. Why not think of something you’re super passionate about and work with them on an ongoing basis? Not only will you be expanding the reach of your music, you’ll (most importantly) also be serving a cause you believe in. We have something in the works right now that I’m incredibly excited about.
Seek out an artist of another medium. Know a cool painter or photographer whose work you really admire? Maybe there’s a project you guys can do together that works off of each other’s art. Many moons ago we knew a guy that used to paint t-shirts on stage at shows and then sell them afterward. Super unique and a really cool merch item. Also, for Ron's last album "Ron Pope & The Nighthawks" he and I collaborated on a photo book and it's been one of my favorite projects to date! I was inspired by the recording process and tried to capture the feeling of each song. If you're curious, check it out here!
Reason To Ignore This Advice: You somehow have survived your entire life without help from anyone!