It's a tough old world out there, and with record sales plummeting it's easy to see every other musician as just another competitor for the paltry cash available. However, something that we've learnt in the post rock scene is that having an active community surrounding your music by cooperating with like minded musicians has tremendous benefits.
Here are just 3 of the reasons why.
1. You can share each other's fanbase
Let's face it, most marketing is about getting your product in front of other people's audiences. Whether that means getting on a popular radio show, mentioned on a high traffic blog or retweeted by an ‘influencer', marketing is about reaching out to new people.
With a niche genre like post rock a lot of these opportunities aren't so available as the most popular broadcasters don't get there by concentrating on relatively unpopular music.
By being associated with other similar bands, you're getting a direct line to the people most likely to be into your sound.
2. It makes fans more dedicated
Operating in a like minded community is how you create a ‘scene' around your music. If you're seen often playing on the same bill as a handful of similar bands, it creates the idea that there's a thing happening here which is something fans can buy into.
Rather than just being a fan of a band, they'll feel like they're part of something, and that's a lot more exciting than just liking some band. It means they're more likely to talk about it, and try and introduce their friends into this great scene they're a part of.
Particularly in the early days when you're still very underground, having an underground ‘scene' rather than just a band hardly anybody's heard of increases the atmosphere of exclusivity. People like to feel like they're early adopters, give them something to adopt.
3. It opens up opportunities
If out of your handful of bands one of you gets radio play on a particular station, you can now immediately namedrop them when you approach the station, or even get your mates who already have a contact to have a word for you.
The world works on recommendations. If a particular DJ or blogger is really into a band that you're associated with, and that band tells them to check you out, they probably will. Or at the very least, they're far more likely to than if you approach them cold.
It also makes an easy jump for A&R guys to make if they snap one of you up. Labels like to follow a trend and you've just made it easier to identify one for them to follow.
An opportunity for one is an opportunity for all.
What you can do today
Chances are, there are already a few bands or artists that you run into on the gig circuit that do something quite similar to you. These are the people you need to build your community. Here are just a few ways to go about it:
- Where possible, always make sure to invite them to play gigs with you.
- Organise your own shows, always putting on bands you're associated with (or would like to be).
- Go on tour together.
- Actively promote each other online – mention each other's gigs and releases on Facebook, Twitter et al.
- Release joint singles.
- Guest on each other's recordings.
- If you really want to, formally announce a collective, put a website together and plug it on all your flyers and posters.
It's a dog eat dog world out there, and your best chance is by traveling in a pack.
This is a guest post by Nick Lewis on behalf of post rock label and promotions company Nice Weather for Airstrikes. Find some of the best post rock bands in the UK at http://niceweatherforairstrikes.co.uk