3 Underexplored Opportunities Your Band Should Investigate
There's so much noise separating the world from you and your music. So much so that free giveaways are a major form of music marketing. That means finding new ways to cut through the noise and build a listening audience are always worth considering. Here are three opportunities that I think are underexplored and that are worth closer investigation: marketing alliances with tech startups, collaborations with classical and country musicians and working with choreographers.
Marketing Alliances With Tech Startups
In music tech it's a pretty obvious move to feature artists who use the service or platform and even to partner with well-known musicians to promote the company. But I think there are still a lot of opportunities to connect not only with music tech startups but with a wide range of tech startups who aren't in music.
If you don't already have somewhat of a name and history, it's likely going to be difficult to get some tech company that wasn't seeking a band to pay you for an endorsement and related activities. But if you're up for a marketing partnership in which no money passes hands, which isn't the same as doing it for free, there's a lot of unrealized opportunity.
Look for new products that you might use from tiny freshly hatched startups that need lots of users and want to reach a market that includes your fans. Spend a bit of time using the product and thinking up ideas for promotions. For example, a video showing how you use it during your day of music and merry making and/or a music video with product placement or, if possible, one that uses the product in making the video.
Staying on the video theme, you should be able to dive into action with the product, grab your camera and make something casual that you can send along with your pitch. But whatever you send make sure it feels like a solid fit.
Go straight to the CEO. If s/he's interested things can move really fast cause startups are small and they haven't developed dead weight devoted to screening you out.
Collaborations With Classical and Country Musicians
And vice versa. There are lots of signs that people in both classical and country music are open to crossing boundaries and doing new things.
For classical this seems to be somewhat of a survival move that's leading some music groups in new directions. A silver lining of sorts. But that's created a situation in which people in leadership positions are more open to new ideas.
Country's going pop but I've gotten the sense that it's opening up in other ways as well. Different motivation but a similar climate of openness seems to be emerging.
Beyond that, people are doing all sorts of collaborations these days via YouTube and the like. I believe country and classical musicians may be particularly open at the moment but the best musicians I've known across genres have always had an openness to new ideas if presented appropriately.
Keep in mind that your approach will have to depend on the act and how they handle their business but a good first step might be looking for other musicians at more or less the same level you're at and finding ways to collaborate.
Even something as simple as a guest verse can be a starting point. And who wouldn't dig a gangster rap track with an outlaw country singer threatening havoc?
Working With Choreographers
Dance mostly depends on music except for certain experimental tendencies of which the general public is unaware. Pretty much everything a dancer does in class, rehearsal and performance involves music. Dancers study music as part of their dance training.
It's possible, though we don't really know, that dance and music came into being together. Today we get a trace of such things in settings that maintain traditional cultures.
So why be standoffish even if you can't dance a lick?
There are a lot of possibilities but in the context of this post the big idea is to connect with choreographers who might be able to use your music or, better still, for whom you could write and record or perform new music.
You'll find yourself not only accessing a new audience but gaining new friends and even learning new things about music. That's a lot of new!
There are opportunities to get paid. Some dance companies get grants and dance class accompanists who can provide specific needs can make a bit of money.
But keep in mind that dance has a smaller market than music, that choreography is not copyright-protected and that dance isn't the easiest art form to turn into commodities though there are some merch options.
[Update: Actually you can now copyright choreography but the more important part is that choreographers don't have the wide range of licensing opportunities available to musicians.]
Generally speaking, dancers have it much worse than musicians. So keep that in mind if you're a "I don't play for free" musician who can't recognize the value of a fair exchange or of collaborative efforts in the arts.
There are so many opportunities out there.
You're a musician? Then get creative!
[Thumbnail image: Matched Pair courtesy John Benson.]