Independent alliance – working together makes us all stronger

(This blog talks about a collaborative spotify playlist which you can find here)

stop collaborate and listenI’ve long been an advocate of musicians working together for mutual benefit. At a grass roots level it just makes sense as everyone has a limited sphere of experience and influence, and by sharing those things with others you never lose them, but you do stand to gain an awful lot.

When I was in my early 20s, I set up a local music alliance called MUSCIT (MUsic SCene In Trowbridge – Trowbridge being my town of birth). This started life as a free print magazine, with a cover CD featuring bands from the area. Trowbridge was a small town but there WAS talent there, and a fair amount of it given the population.

That first magazine was a huge success (mainly due to the popularity of the cover CD) and all of a sudden, bands that didn’t really know each other before started working together. They were arranging shared gigs (and even booking shared UK tours!), and this lead to a massive swell in interest in the “local scene”. Friends of bands became aware of other bands and saw that *shock horror* they actually really enjoyed them.

While I’m enjoying this moment of reminiscence, the point of bringing this up is that the need for collaboration of this kind is as pressing today as it has ever been.

The internet has been both a blessing and a curse to the independent/unsigned musician.

On the one hand it puts you firmly in charge and allows you to communicate quickly and easily with fans and venues, as well as the multitude of bloggers/magazines that provide such a valuable service to bands and fans alike.

On the other hand, it has become increasingly hard to stand out from the vast crowd of bands, all vying for attention.

And yet, if those hands came together, it could benefit everyone. Each musical act out there has an audience of friends/fans that are already aware of them, and thanks to the world wide web, it’s really easy to find similar acts to yourself. So what I’m suggesting is that similar musicians come together, and share each other’s music with their own fans, and everyone stands to win.

  1. You will gain fans who would otherwise have never heard of you.
  2. You won’t lose your fans by doing this, in fact, some will be grateful that you have shared something you like with them, and will become a stronger fan because of it
  3. The fans win because they get to discover even more music to love.

So what have I done about this? As well as working closely with local musicians (such as After Aura and Jamie R Hawkins) I have set up a collaborative spotify playlist (and soundcloud group), that allows musicians to add their music, play it regularly, and share it with their fans.

This has dual benefits of increasing your spotify play count and the revenue it generates (although spotify revenue is another topic entirely!), as well as introducing you to new people and potential new fans.

You don’t need to use my playlist if you don’t want, in fact, why not start one up yourself with bands you meet on the road and enjoy gigging with (a sort of spotify address book of contacts)?

The important thing is to share, since word of mouth is the only way to resuscitate a scene which is in many ways suffering at the moment.

Get sharing people, and start today!

Find my spotify playlist here

If spotify isn’t your thing, there’s a soundcloud group for the same purpose here

Talk to me on twitter about your own playlists, and I’ll give them a shout out

6 thoughts on “Independent alliance – working together makes us all stronger

  1. Great idea Phil, I have made compilation CDs and playlists of the various artists who have played my lazy Sunday afternoon sessions each year for this very reason.

    1. Thanks Steve, great to hear you’re already doing something similar. I’m not saying anything new, I know, but a rallying call every now and then is a worthwhile thing, no?

  2. Hi Phil

    I’ve been meaning to start the Musicians’s Collective for a while now maybe in association with Frome FM & Phoenix? Perhaps we can all get together for a drink & play with some ideas some time soon?

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