Saturday, April 20, 2013

Competition or Collaboration

An interesting subject came up recently whereby some who is assisting with our band was disappointed by one of the bands she manages/assists deciding to go it alone. Her model is very simple and very artist focused. She has built a community of artists and supporters of live music. The artists want to play - she has the venues for them to perform, the supporters want to hear great live music and aren't necessarily fans of a particular band but fans of original live music.
Unlike most promoters she doesn't ask the bands to bring hoards of paying customers (but they are of course welcome to). So the bands and artists have the opportunity to play at some great venues with a crowd of 150 - 300 people. That's a great opportunity to build a fan base right there.
But it appears this band in question prefer to go it alone and it brought up the subject of whether it is better to compete or collaborate.
My own view is collaboration every time. Having run businesses before you have your own niche where you specialise. For example, the company I have right now builds large scale solar parks. We do not install domestic systems, but collaborate with those that do. It is of no issue to us to pass on referrals to people we know can do the job. It is also reciprocated as those same installers don't have the capacity nor knowledge to build utility scale parks. So they pass those to us and we utilise them in those projects.

How does this apply to music and this particular situation then?
Most musicians have their niche. Their own slant on a particular genre or a brand new genre. But a show isn't just about one band, its about putting on a show and entertaining. So working with other like minded musicians means you get to play their gigs and they yours. It doesn't mean you're giving your fans away to another band or artist (something I suspect is the case with this other artist who wants to go DIY). A fan is still going to be a fan even if the other band were amazing because you have a relationship with them that is unique to you. What it does though, is give YOU the opportunity to gain more fans and extend your reach.
There are other things too. I have a hobby of videoing bands. I do it for free because I enjoy it. I give the band the footage for free. No strings except a mention for my own band on their social media and newsletter.
I know there are people who are fans and members of other bands who have skills that can help artists. I would hope by building this community of artists we can help each other so that things like web design, photography, videos et al are able to be done at a reasonable price or a barter system.
That to me is the power of collaboration, whether in business or music (and IMO the two are intertwined) to help each other succeed. Perhaps I'm just a dreamer, but I do know I've realised dreams before.

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