A lot of you folks want to do collaborations. This is great. They are an awesome, proven way to grow your band. The issue is that most folks have no clue how to identify who to do this with. I wanted to talk some time to help you to better understand how to find people for collaborations.
What we’re going to dig into here is first identifying the type of people who might make sense to collaborate with them, how to reach out, and then what you need to do to actually make the collaboration work. Understanding these steps is key if you are really trying to have fruitful collaborations.
3. Finding The Right People
This seems to be the big mistake people make. They want to collaborate with people but they are reaching WAY above their level. Just because a big artist you like is collaborating with people you have never heard of doesn’t mean that they don’t have an audience. OR that one of the members wasn’t in a big band prior. Or that maybe this project is just a favorite of that person. You can’t rely on any of that.
When you look for people to collaborate with try to make sure that they are people who are basically around your level. That is to say, if your band has 500 IG followers (Which basically means you are mainly followed by friends) then maybe don’t try to collab with someone who has 20k, even if that’s not that many in the grand scheme on things. Find another band you like with 500 or maybe even 1,000 followers and make friends.
2. Reaching Out
I think this is another place a lot of people drop the ball. Most people’s outreach just seems like spam. They send the same message copy-pasted for the millionth time. The thing is, you can tell when people send you spam messages, so why shouldn’t other people also be able to identify this? Turns out – they can.
When you reach out you don’t even want to initially mention a collab (unless you are going to pay them upfront) just start to get to know the person. Tell them something SPECIFIC you like about their music and then go from there. See who wants to be friends. Odds are if they want to be friends and talk, they are more likely to want to collaborate.
1. Starting To Work Together
When you reach out for collaborations, I think it is really crucial that you make it very clear from the first what you want to do and how much work you are willing to do as a part of it. Most of the time, unless it’s someone you know well, people don’t want to do more work than they have to. Their time is valuable to them and they don’t want to get stuck in a project they don’t know too much about.
What I like to do when reaching out for collaborations, again, after having already built a relationship with that person, is I try to make it very clear what my expectations of them are. I think when people have clear goals given to them they are able to be much more productive than if someone asks, ‘Hey can you just like help me with this please bro?’
As you can see collaborations don’t need to be hard or scary. All you need to do is focus on finding people who are relevant to you, reach out in a way that builds a meaningful relationship and then focus on working together in a way that has clear goals and a shared vision.
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Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Having worked with everyone from Glam Rock icon Phil Collen of Def Leppard, to post Black Metal titans Alcest, by way of legendary thrashers Exhorder as well as labels including Prophecy Productions and Ripple Music, he has dedicated his life to helping young bands develop. Having started his own blog at the age of 14 he views his career in artist development as ‘a hobby that got out of hand’. In 2015 he formed Dropout Media in order to better support the artists he loves. We sit here now, years later with countless tours booked, records released and deals signed, and loving every minute of it.
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