One of the best ways for emerging bands to gain new fans is to be exposed to another band's audience. Especially if you have similar target markets, fans are more likely to trust a recommendation coming from a band they already know and like. Here are some ideas on how you can collaborate with other artists and bands to grow your fan base:
Collaborate on Live Shows
Likely the easiest and most common way to collaborate with other bands is to play gigs together. Here are a few different ways to collaborate on gigs:
1. Gig Swap
This is of course a no-brainer. Find other like-minded bands whose musical style either compliments you, or even better, that would make for an interesting combination, giving fans of both bands a unique experience. You can open for each other at different shows, and this will work especially well if the other band is based in a different (but nearby) city. You can do gig swaps to help each other break into new markets.
2. Festival gigs
If you're playing a festival and there is an artist or members of a band that you want to collaborate with, why not create a special environment at your festival gig by collaborating on a song or two? I've seen artists collaborate on festival stages big and small, and it usually makes for a buzz-worthy performance that gets people talking.
3. Conference showcases
Same idea as with festivals, but if you manage to get a showcase at a music conference, why not bring in another artist to collaborate on a song? Just be sure to have rehearsed it live before showcasing.
Take the concept of playing live with another band even further and book a tour together. It could be just a weekend tour of a few cities close to home, or a full-out regional/national tour.
Collaborate on Recordings
For your next album, try and think of some like-minded artists that you can collaborate with. Collaborating on recordings can be done in many different ways, here are a few to consider:
5. Guest performances
The simplest thing you can do is perform on each other's recordings (sing, play an instrument, DJ, rap, etc.). If you want to get the most bang for your buck, make sure that in the song title it actually lists the other artist "X Song Name (Featuring X Artist)."
6. Co-write a song
Next step would be to co-write with another artist. This will not only be great for the sake of collaboration, but might help with each of your songwriting abilities and open up some new ideas, which is never a bad thing.
7. Cover a song
Why not cover a song by a fellow emerging band whose fan base would like your music? It's a great way to flatter the band and also generate buzz for both of you.
8. Produce each other's music
An even more involved way to collaborate in the studio is to take turns producing each other's songs. This can give each of you a new perspective on the songs you choose to produce for each other.
Often emerging artists can't afford to hire a producer, but having that objective ear can really help improve the songs. So if you have an opportunity to have a peer produce a song, it might be worthwhile to give it a try.
9. Remix songs
Another great way to collaborate is to approach an artist to do a remix of one of your songs. You can even remix each other's songs, or take it further and do remix albums of each other's music.
10. Release an exclusive single/EP
If you've collaborated with another band through guest appearances, songwriting, production, remixes, etc., why not release an exclusive digital single or EP through your website?
Even better, couple that digital release with the release of a limited edition vinyl.
Collaborate Using Video
There are also lots of possibilities to use video for collaborations:
11. Official music videos
If you've guested on a song, or co-written a song together, collaborating on an official music video is also a no-brainer.
12. Live videos
If you've collaborated with another band live on stage, be sure to get some footage of it for both bands to use to promote to their fans.
13. Cover song videos
Even if you haven't covered the band's song on your album, you can still release videos covering songs of fellow emerging bands that you want to collaborate with. Chances are that both of your fan bases will get a kick out of this.
14. Videos from the Studio
If you're doing any kind of collaboration in the studio, be sure to get some footage of it to release on your website/YouTube, etc. Remember, when you're in the studio, don't shut out your fans.
15. Live streaming video
Why not use live streaming video while in studio, at a live gig, or even after a gig to chat with fans of both bands?
Collaborate Using Your Website
Don't forget to use your website to help in your collaboration with other bands. Here are some of the ways to drive people to your website:
16. On Your Blog
It can be as simple as blogging about the other band. You can:
Talk about why you like their music
Do a review their album
Interview the band
17. Photo Galleries
Use photo galleries to highlight collaborations with other bands, including pictures from studio sessions, pictures from live shows, or just the bands hanging out together.
Note: Live Video & Exclusive Music
If you do decide to use live video streaming in your collaborations, be sure to host the video on your own site and not the streaming service's site. Most services will let you embed HTML to host the feed directly on your own website.
And as mentioned earlier, if you do collaborate on a recording with another band, why not release the track(s) exclusively through your website? Take advantage of any excuse to drive traffic to your website where people can sign-up to your mailing list, shop at your online store, etc.
Collaborate Using Social Media
And last but not least, probably the quickest way to collaborate with other bands and help each other out is to use social media. You can:
18. Exchange Tweets
Tweet praise about each other and encourage your fans to follow each other's band.
19. Host a Twitter Chat
Why not organize a Twitter chat session for fans of both bands so you can chat with each other's fans. What's a Twitter chat?
20. Use Facebook status updates
You can each talk about why you like the other band and be sure to link to each other's fan page.
21. Post a Facebook Note
Create a Facebook note talking about the other band, just be sure to tag the other band in the note.
Note: And it goes without saying, use social media to drive fans to your website to view your blog posts, video blogs, live video and other exclusive content on your website.
The bottom line is that the more emerging artists join forces to help each other out through collaborations, the more buzz it will generate, which will no doubt result in more fans for each band.
Rappers do it best
The amount of collaborations and guest appearances that happen in hip hop eclipses other genres. Guest appearances help amplify your music to new audiences, and rappers use this tactic often and to great effect.