Combining Forces = WINNING!

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Combining ForcesBeing an independent artist doesn’t mean you need to take the word ‘Independent’ too literally. Chances are, you’re missing big opportunities to take your career to new levels if you’re not actively looking for chances to join forces with other artists and industry pros. A piece of something big is worth a lot more than all of little or nothing. If you feel like you’re bashing your head against the wall trying to get people to your shows or to buy your music on your own then changing your approach can make all the difference in the world.

What could you create if you partnered with the right people? For example, I have a friend who’s planning a regular monthly gig at a venue here in Los Angeles. Her husband is a world-class magician. They have friends who are world-class comedians. There’s no law that says you can’t put on a show with musicians, magicians and comedians!
Personally, I can’t wait to see these shows. I’ll go to every one. Any one of the performers individually would put on an excellent show, but combined it’s a must see. It’s an event. More people will come and people will stay longer. The audience gets more, the performers get more and the club owners get more. It creates a synergy. It becomes a combination of forces that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Internet marketers are another great example. They form networks whereby they promote each other’s products to their mailing lists. The ones who do really well are the ones who find a tight group of compatible partners and generously help promote them and give them value. They know that if they help each other they can do much better than they could on their own.

When was the last time you sent out an email to your mailing list asking them to check out another artist’s new CD? I believe that in the future, there will be much more co-operation between independent artists. Some day in the not-too-distant future there will be a growing number of artists who offer commission to other artists for helping them sell their music….and they will sell more music!

Smart artists in today’s economy always keep an eye out for other bands and artists who ‘get it’ and are also looking to connect and give value to other bands. A lot of good can come when the right people get together.

With that spirit in mind, I’ve reached out to some amazing people and asked them to be a part of my blog at We’re now going to feature daily content that covers everything from fitness to contract law to marketing to website tips and a whole lot more. I’m really excited because the blog is going to become so much more than I could ever make of it on my own.

I hope you can find your own opportunities to form exciting new partnerships with other friends, artists and professionals inside and outside the music business. You just might be able to create something that’s more inspired and exciting than you previously thought possible!

Article by Scott James of The Independent Rockstar Blog.

21 thoughts on “Combining Forces = WINNING!

  1. Good article Scott, I agree and do already promote my indie friends to my fanbase when they tell me they have a new CD coming out. I think if all indie artists helped eachother in this way, – The Majors would be even more concerned over the Indie music industry than they already are.

  2. I fully agree with the part about independent artists helping each other out. Personally, I’ve gained a lot from helping others. I got a friend request from a band on Myspace last year, didn’t know them but liked their music and thought one of my music coordinator contacts would like it too. So, I messaged the band asking if they would mind if I sent their info to my contact, and a few months later that band’s music was featured on a hit tv show several times. Not only did I feel good helping someone else out, the band then started promoting my music in return. If you take a minute to help others where you can, whether it be pitching them to your professional contacts or giving them a shout out on Twitter, good things are more likely to come your way. As independent artists, we need all the help and promotion we can get. Standing united and building strong relationships with other artists will only increase your chance of success! 🙂

  3. Hey, while we are connecting…everyone please come check out and upload my new CD for free. It’s no joke…you can leave a “tip” in the tip jar if you would like to help me out a little, but you don’t have to (anything no matter how small would be appreciated). CHECK IT OUT!!!!!

  4. Interesting how many negative comments you got…. Thanks for the article and insight! I’ll be clicking on your blog next. I really appreciate the positive attitude in the article, as well as in your responses to some of the banter here! Keep up the good work!

  5. Obviously if you know someone with connections you should use
    them, or maybe collaborate with them. Most of the time you don’t
    have a “world-class magician” and “world-class comedians” as your friends,
    but if you did then use them. Who has that, I don’t know.

    1. It’s not about comparing your situation to someone else’s. It’s about looking around at what you have and starting where you’re at. The only step you can take is the one in front of you. If you can’t enact this principle on a small scale with the people and resources available to you now, then you won’t be able to on a large scale.

  6. Interesting article.
    Gottta say… your point about incorporating more people into your blog and making it “much more than you could ever make it”.? More, doesn’t always mean.. better!
    We have MORE radio stations under ONE company than ever!! THAT hasn’t proven to be better! MORE web markets to sell your music on than ever… THAT isn’t necessarily better!
    (in terms of real dollars). Incorporating more…. joining forces etc… seems to be the rallying cry in this country for everything right now. More often than not.. its a partnership.. that’s a poor ship to sail! We opt for quantity over quality.. because its cheaper. It’s sold to us as “Better”!
    Customers aren’t stupid. They figure it out eventually. And long term? The smoke and mirrors erode our customer base…to the point where we have to “INCORPORATE” again….and again..
    The cycle will eventually end. But badly i’m afraid.

    1. You’re right that quality trumps quantity, but that’ not what I’m suggesting. I’m suggesting combining quality elements/people to create a whole that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts.

  7. This article is all right, but utilizing Charlie Sheen’s stupid catchphrase as a hook for the article is ridiculous and offensive. I’d love to know how intentional this was.

  8. The real bottom line is that 99% of independent artists are never going to make it
    and disk making companies know it, but sell the dream. It’s not a bad dream to sell,
    but the real money is made by these guys, and tunecore selling the dream to anyone with a
    music pulse. R&B and Rap are the main players now, and you can see that from the
    charts, and sales figures. If you are not in that genre, than most likely you can spend
    all the money in the world, and not make it. That being said, don’t stop trying.
    Playing live is rally the only key to success, and touring a lot and building a fan base.
    Everything else(making ton’s of CD’s) with out doing the work will never work.
    And the other way probably will not work either.

    1. I strongly disagree with much of what you said…. What determines whether an artist “Makes it” is a combination of Talent,Effort, Promotional skills,and hard work. Sure to really make it and sell millions of albums you will most likely need industry connections (for those who dont have the financial resources.)
      But “Making it” means different things to different people. Some Indies are quite content just getting their music out there for others to enjoy and as long as they are making a reasonable living at it – they do it for the sheer enjoyment of making music and sharing it with others. (Because although it is a big business….thats what making music is supposed to be about)

      Yeah you’re right without Major label backing/promo and expence accounts/advances – Most indies do struggle to try to compete with Major label artists who have seemingly unlimited financial backing of the Majors behind them. Yet when you look at the bottom line….Indie artists “as a whole” are “OUTSELLING” the major label artists. By the way the “ACTUAL” leading Genre in music album sales is still “ROCK” followed by R&B,Alternative,Christian/Gospel and Country “THEN” Rap coming in 6th place in overall album sales for 2009. (See Neilson sales stats link below) Many top selling artists are indies who got their start distributing through Tunecore) You need only read Tunecores Blogs to get stats on overall annual industry sales. (according to independant companies that compile these sales stats)

      So anyone who says you “need” to be signed to a label to be successful in the industry is full of it . About 70 % of signed Major label artists fail to be profitable for the labels and get dropped by those labels eventually. After they pay back monies advanced to them by the Major label they are signed to (if they sell enough to pay them back that is) … little is actually left over. Unless they have star and selling power of artists the likes of Micheal Jackson, for the Major labels signing any new artist is always a huge financial gamble on their part.

      The only thing the Majors can do better than an indie artist cant usually immediately do for themself is to provide instant national promotional ability via music videos,TV commercials promoting their latest CD,and provide advances for touring expences etc. but the nice thing about staying indie is you have “total control” and total “rights” over all of your own music and your own career. (without having some industry suit trying to dictate things to you)

      As Far as Tunecore goes- They and other indie distributors like them provide a valuable and competitive service that keeps the Majors on their toes- if it wernt for indies getting their music out there, the majors would re-gain their monopoly on the music industry which we all know would only hurt artists in the long run.(Because then they would be once again free to make all the rules and contract terms would be even more strongly in favor of them- not the artist doing all the hard work and creative process)

      Overall Music industry sales for Artists are up, – while Gross Revenues for Major Labels are Down –
      See Report by Neilson for 2009 sales :

      So its really a whole new ball game now….the Majors still have a big chunk of the pie yes, but the indies are outselling the majors as a whole which is why I-Tunes is so successful it is today and why Steve Jobs can basically tell the music industry Execs to play ball his way or not at all, -Can you imagine what would happen to the music industry if I-Tunes decided to drop/stop selling Major label artists music altogether – if the Major label industry really p*ssed off Steve Jobs one day? . The whole game and industry has drastically changed thanks to indie artists,indie distributors and I-Tunes, – overall music sales reflect that fact and the Majors know it and fear it. (which is why they are trying to buy or control the market anyway they can right now)

  9. Yes! this is what it’s all about … I Have found it difficult to connect with people though, on any level. I’m not sure about other cities, but here in los angeles, people seem to really be focused on themselves and not much else. They are always so ‘busy’ or don’t respond, even when you offer to be a part of their project. I’ve heard from New Yorkers that there is a sense of community in NY, while they have found LA to be distant & cold.

    I think that the level where people are trying to make a name for themselves is the hardest, but Once You Start to make a name for yourself, you almost instantly find people who want to work with you. And I believe working with people is the way to go …. and it’s fun!
    ….. impulsive lust ….. a New Style REGGAE …..
    (link above) Cheers!

  10. Your comment about “part of something big is better than all of something small” is a bullshit line that was thrown around in Nashville Tenn. in the early to mid 70’s and beyond by publishers /sharks who were happy to have a writer sign away all his/her rights.

    1. A lot of people are so afraid of getting the short end of the stick that they will shoot themselves in the foot just to make sure that they don’t.

      A study was done where subjects were paired up into groups of two. The premise was this – they were offered $100 under the condition that one of the subjects would decide how the money was to be divided and the other subject was given the power to accept the deal or nix the whole thing.

      What they found was that if the first subject offered a 50/50 split or even 60/40 then the second subject would almost always accept the deal. It got interested at around 70/30. At that point, most of the second subjects would nix the deal. They would throw away 30 free dollars just so that a stranger didn’t get more money than them. They repeated this study across many cultures and found essentially the same results.

      It poses and interesting question. Are you more concerned with other people coming out ahead than you are about your own success?

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