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Build Friendships, Not Rivalries

My idea for this blog Stems from a recent conversation I had with Rodney from UK alt-rock band Just a Ride. Something that came up in conversation was that how you never know who you’re going to meet and build a relationship with during your career as a musician. And you never know what you or this person might go on to achieve in the future and how your paths might cross again.

There are people that I’ve met during my time in bands who have gone on to work in the music industry as booking agents, PR managers, live sound engineers or have gone on to form other bands and come back to work with me as I transitioned from a second rate guitarist into a Producer and Mixer. With this in mind, the friendships that you can build now can really pay off for both parties both in the short and long term.

Long term plans you obviously can’t always predict. You never know if the guitarist from the support band that you became mates with after playing a show to 10 people in Nottingham will go on to host the largest Rock music radio show in the country or not. But they might! But in the short and medium term, friendships with likeminded and similar musicians and bands can certainly be beneficial to you both.

You can easily seek out other bands / artists in your scene, not just locally but worldwide (duh… the internet!) and drop them a message. Tell them how you enjoy their music and see if you can help each other out to grow your fanbase. Be genuine about it though, don’t be false for the sake of promoting your band. If you’re a similar genre, you’re going to be able to cross promote to each others fans.

Start a Spotify playlist that features you and lots of these bands that you like and are now mates with. Promote this to your followers and if you’re all doing the same thing you’re helping boost playlist numbers and earning yourself some good karma with the gods in charge of the Spotify algorithm.

Instagram Live, Twitch, YouTube and to a lesser extent Facebook and Snapchat etc live streaming video functions have become a much more popular part of their platforms recently. Instagram live is one I particularly like as it hits the participants followers with a notification when the stream happens and it goes to the front of the story feed.

So when someone releases new music, schedule a live chat with them. Talk about it, ask questions, tell them why you like it. It doesn’t have to be scripted or forced. The interaction is opening you both up to potential new fans. Jump on Twitch together and play video games etc. There’s so many different things you can do.

Sharing posts across platforms is SO easy to do. You might not want to post it as a specific piece of content if your feed is branded in a particular way, but stories are such an easy way to do this. If you’re helping each other out you’re extending your reach past your current fanbase.

Finally, gig swaps are one of these best ways to link up with other bands in your scene. Some of the best shows I’ve ever played were from rotating headline tours where each band scheduled a couple of shows in their local to pull in their local fanbase which all bands can then share. It reduced the risk of playing to empty venues in new places where you might not have built a following yet. A successful way we organised it was each band books 2/3 local shows where they are responsible for the promotion, gig organisation etc. Then the local band would headline their own shows but we arranged for a guaranteed split of the door money to go to the other 2 bands on the bill. That way everyone can fairly get their costs covered as well as playing to decent audiences that the local headliners pulled in. I played on a lot of tours like this and am still friends with a lot of the other band members years later.

So, as we navigate life in our current COVID world, try and build these connections and friendships with people and do something positive rather than feeling any envy or jealously. Build each other up and you never know where it could take you!

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