By all definitions, Jack White collaborates a lot. At least more than the average musician. That’s why when I said collaborations, his name popped up into my mind. Most of his projects are collaborations, and whether they are your cup of tea or not, you have to admit that there are sparks and indisputable quality throughout all of them.
After all, I’m talking about a joint intellectual effort that takes people out of their cocoon and allows inspiration to shoot up. Sharing the stage or the studio can be a recipe for greatness, can resurrect a career, advance it, or even start one, but it can also be a recipe for disaster. Not everything is game-changing. Probably because chemistry is key. But before talking about chemistry, you need to show your face to the world, schmooze around, make yourself available.
Worry not, I’m not here to state the obvious, just to point fingers. You make and play music, but waiting by the phone with all your works nicely wrapped is not enough. You need to do more. Be ready to create, but also to shake hands, to download, to upload, to smile nicely and impress deeply.And I’m not talking now to the overactive “beast”, spreading its musical kingdom through real and virtual territories. I’m talking to the other just as talented… extreme, innocent and lost, not knowing how to start and where to go.
Mutual admiration society
Start by expressing your love for those who inspire you! Collaboration does not happen only between musicians. Writers and actors – to name just a few – are usually ready to change their plans and hang out creatively with musicians they admire.
Take Kurt Cobain and William S. Burroughs. They recorded a Christmas album together. That was chemistry. Of course, Burroughs had always been close to musicians. Tom Waits, David Bowie and Laurie Anderson were his mates too. Now take Allen Ginsberg. He went to see The Clash performing live in New York. Strummer found out and invited him on stage. See, it works. As long as you go to the right concerts. Nick Hornby didn’t even have to go to a concert. He just wrote an essay about a Ben Folds song. And so, another collaboration was born.
Tip: You’ll never know until you try.
Especially those that mean the world to you. Take Tom Morello. In 1997, Morello and his band, Rage Against the Machine, covered Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad”. In 2009, The Boss asked Morello to come on stage to perform the song together. This was not a one off. I bet it was not just because he knew the lyrics.There you have it, cover someone’s song and you might end up on the same stage. Sometimes it’s even better than a proper collaboration.
Tip: Cover, don’t copy.
Mingle @ Award ceremonies
They are useful extensions of the ‘mutual admiration society’, great places to hang out mainly with musicians, whether your idols, your generation or the future generations. A lot of it is just showing up. Literally. Don’t think twice when you get an invitation to such an event. No matter how lame it might sound, sometimes just being nominated is rewarding in many hidden ways. Remember 1993, MTV Awards? Neil Young shows up after Pearl Jam performed “Animal” and there you have it, another legendary collaboration was born. That’s just one example, but Tom Petty and Eddie Vedder, Elton John and Guns ‘N Roses, plus scores of other musicians have stories too.
Tip: Some awards come with cash. There’s nothing wrong with making extra dough.
However, never forget that collaborations start… young. By definition, any band started as one.Or several. And nowadays they come in even more forms and shapes. Usually e-shapes.
Back to the future: Share, brag and share some more
It’s a fact that these days you’ve got even tools to spice things up. It’s not just covers, awardsand cool hip and happening outsiders. What’s intriguing, but no longer surprising, are the increasing number of platforms where musicians can display their portfolio, sell their music,find collaborators, from songwriters to drummers and whatever crosses your tunes-saturated mind.
When it comes to the online, where do musicians meet other musicians? Find jobs or brag about their achievements? Because from where I’m sitting, the present and the future sound and look good for those who want to share and get together in a civilized, organized, ‘virtual’ manner. This myriad of platforms does not replace anything. They are not-that-distant cousins of the ‘let’s go for a beer’. They just add to those brief or accidental encounters. You know, the stuff legends are made of.
Take me where musicians are
Be an online bragger! Not in a nasty, but nice way. The online is pretty good at being everywhere without the nagging part attached to it. You know, you can always switch it off. These platforms are not just for collaborations. They can find you work, projects and fans. Before you recreate a Run DMC – Aerosmith alliance, walk this waaay!
Here you have some suggestions. Give them a try:
8th stage is meant to track your career online. They brag too. This time about being an online social network dedicated to helping music artists achieve their dreams (that’s one huge promise!). They provide tool, network and… inspiration. Worth giving it a try. If only for that noble ‘dreams achieving’ bit.
Giggem is a matchmaking tool for all musicians and music industry professionals to meet and connect for improving their music career. It’s fresh, like an early spring and younger than a toddler. It helps you get matched up with the most fitting musicians and industry pros with one click. So, it’s not just thousands of musicians you’ll bump into. You also have songwriters, managers, labels and even venues (coming soon!).
Tip: If you changed your location, don’t forget to update it. It works miracles.
Music Clout loves musicians. They said it. Basically, you create your own multimedia music profile. Pack it with tracks, pictures and videos. Keep track of your performance (stats, plays, likes). You can find and submit to licensing opportunities, record labels, blogs, press, management, festivals, radio and contest opportunities all under Music Clout’s platform. They have a pretty big music industry contact directory, an article database, workshop videos, endorsement tips, discounts from industry partners and more. Don’t think twice.
Bring on the cash
IndigoBoom helps you sell your music on iTunes, Spotify & all the many others. We’re talking global distribution, personal service, superfast delivery here. They’ve been around since 1999. That’s just about as long as digital music distribution has existed. The two guys behind IndiGoBoom have both worked as musicians for decades and know what the deal is and how mind bending all the work of practicing, writing recording and promoting can be. Selling music with them is pretty simple and straightforward: a .WAV file, a cover image, couple of mouse clicks and you are good to go. So, get started. Upload your music. Sell and promote your music.
The new end
There you have it. A bunch of suggestions, in an attempt to convince you that there’s no point in sitting around, waiting for an important call. Especially nowadays, when you’ve got extra help one, two clicks away.
Imagine Jack White just waiting. Now, that’s hard to imagine, I know. He’s got Thom Yorke on speed dial and a dozen other gods waiting to jam in Nashville.
By all means, do follow White’s advice and create something every day, but don’t forget to let people know about it. It’s a healthy habit. It will breed. Hands will be shaken, joy will be spread. Stay busy.
Chemistry? Now that’s a totally different story.
Author bio: When she’s not listening to music or going to concerts, Anca’s writing about them.