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1 Important Music Business Skill You REALLY Need To Learn

One Very Important Music Business SkillHey guys. Today I want to look at one very important music business skill that will greatly benefit you in your quest for a ‘successful’ music career. We all have our own idea of what success is, but if to you it involves getting known on a wider scale then you already are, the below strategy will definitely help.

I’ve already looked at three other essential business skills for musicians, but this additional skill is just as important, if not more so. You should use it alongside the others for a more professional and faster moving music career.

So, let’s have a look at what the subject of today’s guide is:

Leveraging other people and platforms who currently command more influence than you.

With that in mind, let’s get into it!

Important Note: This strategy is intended for musicians who already have a good level of talent which is ready to be showcased to the world. If your musical talent isn’t at that stage yet, this strategy won’t work for you. That said, still give it a read so you’ve got an idea of what to do when your abilities are at a more mature stage.

Leveraging The Influence Of Others In Your Genre

Leveraging the power of others is one of the most underused skills in the music industry. Businesses however do this all the time, often reaching out to other businesses that are bigger than themselves.

By doing this they know they can reach a whole new targeted audience in a short space of time (if successful). Yes they’ll need to offer the bigger business something back in return, but often this is worth the larger benefits they’ll get by being associated with this brand and being exposed to their audience.

While this tactic is used by some independent musicians, often it’s not. Networking with brands bigger then yourself is something that many musicians start out trying to do, but when they don’t get very far, they focus on reaching fans one by one. I’ll give you an example, but first let’s look at some of the types of people and businesses you can reach out to as a musician.

What Are Some Business And People You Should Be Collaborating With As A Musician?

While there are more than these, here are some of the main ones:

  • Other musicians in your genre with a bigger fan base.
  • Big Youtube channels who cover up-and-coming musicians.
  • Radio stations, whether local, Internet, or mainstream.
  • Event organizers who hold weekly, monthly, or one off events.
  • Djs who play your kind of music.
  • Companies who deal with music licensing for films and TV.
  • Etc.

All of the above often have access to a load of people interested in the type of music you make, and are therefore worth trying to build a professional relationship with.

Why Collaborating With People Bigger Then You Is Worth Your Time

Collaboration Skills For Musicians.Now let me make this clear; Building up a good relationship with these people and companies isn’t always easy. You could literally spend months trying to get just one of these connections with no luck. That said, in my opinion, it’s still the best path to take as a main music marketing strategy (You can still work on your general music marketing tasks alongside this).

The alternative to the above method is reaching fans ‘one by one’. Messaging people on Twitter trying to get them to listen to your music. Buying fans on Facebook and hoping they’ll turn into buying fans. Telling people you meet that you make music and giving them your web address in the hope they’ll listen. While these type of things can and do work, they’re very slow, and won’t allow you to build up any significant momentum with regards to giving your music career a boost.

If however you spend a couple of months getting just one of the above links and have them push you, you’re going to get a load of targeted listeners, based on a strong recommendation from a company or brand that they actively follow, know and trust. And that recommendation is worth a lot more than a random person (That’s you) messaging them on Twitter and telling them that your music is the bee’s knees.

I can’t stress enough how important this strategy is in terms of having your music take off a lot quicker. If you’ve spent years trying to build up your fan base but with not many significant jumps in the right direction, then you may want to start focusing purely on leveraging other people’s platforms and fan bases. If your current marketing strategy’s broken, fix it!

Making The Most Of Your Big Business Collaboration

While getting others with more influence than yourself on board to help you out can initially be a mammoth task, it does get easier. Unless you get very lucky, most likely you’ll have a load of doors shut in your face before you have your first taste of success. You’ll face rejection at nearly every turn, and you may even question if you’re wasting your time doing this. But, don’t give up!

Once you get that first respectable business or person putting their name alongside yours, you’ll have some leveraging power yourself. You can say you’ve worked with ‘xyz’. Not only is that great for the initial new set of eyes that will be on you (Hopefully their fanbase or viewers will take notice of you), but you can also use their name to make it easier to collaborate with other influential people and businesses.

Want an example? Ok.

Let’s say a big Youtube channel in your genre gave you a chance and worked with you in some way (Maybe a interview, a feature, or they recorded a mini video for you). Let’s also say you approached another big Youtube channel in the past, and they didn’t reply or said they were busy and couldn’t collaborate with you in any way. What you can now do is re-approach this previous channel who didn’t want to work with you, and let them know that you’ve worked with this other Youtube channel and was wondering if you’d be able to offer them something of a similar nature.

Now that you’ve worked with one of their competitors, you’ll be someone they take that bit more seriously. As both Youtube channels are in the same genre, they probably both keeping tabs on what each other are doing. If you work with one of them, the other will most likely be a lot more open to potentially working with you too. After all, no one wants to miss out on something that’s potentially big news!

I’m not saying that all previous companies that have rejected you will suddenly want to work with you because you’ve worked with someone they know, but it’ll be a lot easier to get that second collaboration in the bag. And once you’ve two big names you’ve worked with on you CV, you can use both of them to get you even more collaboration in future. The more you have, the more people will think you’re big news and be open to working with you.

Be sure to mention these names both on your website, and when you’re approaching new potentially collaborators. If you don’t showcase your achievements, there will always be people who won’t notice and overlook you because of this.

One Huge Tip For Approaching Big Businesses (Don’t Do This Or You WILL Fail)

Music Marketing And Music Business Skills Aren't All About YouBefore I go, I want to make one thing clear:

When approaching other businesses and big brands in your genre, don’t make the communication all about you!! Do that, and the majority of people you’re trying to collaborate with won’t give you the time of day.

What I mean by this, is you don’t want to open your communications like:

Hi ‘xyz’. My name’s ‘me’, and I’m a talented singer from Ohio who is building up a big buzz in my local area. You can hear some of my music here.

I think you should let me come on your TV show one time as that’ll help me get a lot bigger and get my name out there more. Call me on +0-NO-CHANCE and we can start working together right away. Thanks.”.

If you approach people like this, know that you won’t even get a reply in most instances. Not because they listened to your music and didn’t like it, but because they didn’t take your email seriously and therefore didn’t even listen to you at all.

Yes I know it’s your main aim to get out there more, but it isn’t theirs. Their main aim is to keep what they’re doing going, whether it’s providing a successful Youtube channel, playing the best songs on their radio station, getting the best artists for their gigs, and the like. So if you want to get them to work with you, you need to make it about them, and show them how working with you can benefit them. Do that, and people will be a lot more likely to give you a chance, fact.

Essential Music Business Skills Conclusion

Ok, so this guide turned out somewhat longer than I expected. In all honesty, I could go on about this subject a LOT more, and know I probably missed out some things that could make this strategy work even better. That said, I know long guides aren’t for everyone, and I just wanted to get across some key points which can get you started with with this game changing marketing method asap.

If you want to learn more about leverage marketing for musicians as well as a load of other business skills you could use in the music industry, you may want to check out my course or book. Additionally, my website has a load of addition free music guides and information which you may find useful.

If you’ve any questions or any additional tips for people, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. You can also join me on my Facebook page for more discussion and updates, so you may want to ‘like’ and get in contact with me there.

As always, it’s been a pleasure. I hope you enjoyed this guide, please share it around if you did. We’ll speak again soon. :)

Shaun Letang,
Music Industry How To.

Reader Comments (9)

(Respectfully off-topic) Shaun, please oh please check the difference between 'then' and 'than'. I don't want to be the grammar nazi guy, but sometimes I seriously think this blog needs proofreaders.

Nice article and vital information Shaun.

Starting by putting small bricks of knowledge like the ones you project, one at a time, today's musicians can establish strong foundations to succeed in a digital world without mediators.

Thanks for putting all that together.


Thanks Tommy. I know you're very good at the whole leveraging thing too, people can learn a lot by looking at what you're doing. :)

Why in the world would you ever ever tell anyone to "buy" fans on facebook? Clearly you're unaware of the current issue of "fake likes" that are plaguing band pages and do nothing positive. They skew analytics and with facebook's algorithm being what it is and only allowing 10% of your fans to see any given post, buying a bunch of likes is the equivalent of you caring more about an inflated number, while not caring about the fact that hardly any real fans are ever going to see your updates. Worst advice ever!

May 29 | Unregistered CommenterRebelPyro

RebelPyro, if you look again you'll see I didn't advise anyone to buy Facebook fans, I advised to use this leverage marketing strategy instead. What I did say about buying fans is that while it can give some results, they're quite small and not as beneficial as other things you could be doing. And that is the case. So I hope that one sentence on Facebook fans isn't all you picked up from this article, as that was in no way what I was suggesting here nor the main point of this guide. :-)

Ignacio, I'll look into it. But despite that, I hope you found the information in this guide useful as that's what matters most to me. :-)

This is a well worded article. I have certainly heard all this advice before, but not in this context. Sometimes you need common sense repeated at you and this article served that purpose very well. Thanks.

May 30 | Unregistered CommenterTJR

Hi Shaun, this is a great article because too often we all find ourselves settling for the "easy path." Instead, we should be going for the toppermost of the poppermost, to quote The Beatles. And I also appreciate your warning. You're right, in order to succeed, we have to prove our value to those we want help from. The difficult part for musicians is we lack tangible leverage. Music isn't a product - rather, our success depends on emotional appeal. What have you done to convince business owners that people make purchases based upon emotions?

May 30 | Unregistered CommenterHarrison

Thanks TJR, I definitely agree with you. I myself find I sometimes know things, but don't start putting them into practice / take on board the importance of doing something until it's mentioned a few times, or in a way that really connects with me. Sometimes it takes a while for things to just 'click'. Glad you feel this is one of those articles. :)

And thank you Harrison. You're right, to often the easy path is the one that's preferred. That's why I mentioned in this article that doors will be closed on you and you could literally be contacting companies for months before you get your first break. I'm not going to lie and say it's 'easy', but it is something that can push your music career in decent jumps when you do get the ball properly rolling. Thanks for reading. :)

Hi Shaun. Great piece here. I've all ready been attempting to utilize many of these strategies in my career and you are spot on. I was curious about "making it about them" when contacting someone who you're interested in for, let's say, writing about you on their high-hit-traffic website. Any examples on how to possibly formulate that approach? What can an independent artist like myself offer them?

June 3 | Unregistered CommenterJim

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