How Musicians Can Come Together To Create Momentum For Their Music

There’s no doubt that today’s music industry is fiercely competitive. Because an insane amount of new music comes out each and every day, it makes sense that musicians often adopt a winner-takes-all mentality when it comes to promoting and advocating for their work. But rather than fighting each other and entertaining jealousy when another artist’s music succeeds, musicians should be working together to create momentum for their work.

“I don’t support anyone else’s music because no one supports me.”

This is something lots of musicians have probably thought to themselves at some point in their careers, though most would be hard-pressed to admit it. We often approach the communities we make music in with a jaded “what’s in it for me” attitude, and that’s understandable when you consider just how difficult trying to build a meaningful musical career is. Low pay, long hours, sparsely attended shows. Musicians can and often do pour everything they’ve got into their work for years with no tangible results to show for it.

But getting upset that the other musicians in your scene aren’t actively supporting you doesn’t make sense if you’ve done nothing to support anyone but yourself. If everyone had this attitude when it came to supporting others in music, then things would be much tougher than they already are.

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The truth is that plenty of musicians actively do support each other now, whether they receive any benefits or not. These musicians are much better off than their non-supportive counterparts. These are the folks who hold up music scenes, inspire others, and create opportunities in their communities. To put it simply, they are the music community they wish to see in the world. Rather than sitting around and waiting for good things to happen for their music, they engage with other musicians in their community first without expecting anything in return.

Big things can happen when musicians take things into their own hands to create momentum for their music. When musicians stop fighting each other and start supporting one another, they have the opportunity to build opportunities for themselves. Some of music’s best labels, festivals, and venues started with musicians having conversations about what was lacking in their communities and what they could do to change things.

Big things can happen when musicians take things into their own hands to create momentum for their music.

But today, artists are having a tougher time connecting and building opportunities for their music. Petty jealousy and laziness have always served as hurdles for musicians, but isolation is the biggest modern problem musicians face. Entire musical careers are now being built and sustained on the internet, and though we’re doing plenty of commenting, messaging, and statusing, important face-to-face relationships are now harder to come by in music.

Yes, a music scene can be built over the internet, but there’s something hugely meaningful about showing up to someone’s show and talking to them after their set. Music largely lives on screens these days, but it’s created by human beings in studios, hotel rooms and basements. Music and the people who make it are better off when musicians come together and have conversations about how to further their work.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

RebeccaHow Musicians Can Come Together To Create Momentum For Their Music


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  • Ken Lawyer - August 28, 2018 reply

    Patrick, I understand your reasoning in your article. It is always better if we work together to get our music out there. But you know as well as the rest of us, it is not those of us who are trying to get our material heard that are the main problem. It is those who have established themselves as the only ones who can evaluate good music and it is they who limit the amount of material that is wanting to be sent in. Once upon a time most of the material sent to artists was heard. Now it is extremely difficult to even get your material heard unless you have “special” permission from the music brokers. I have talked with several songwriter’s who have shared their frustrations in not getting their material heard much less rejected. I have also talked to one top songwriter who says it is a “crapshoot” nowadays to get your songs heard. It has become a chess game of trying to figure out who to send your material to and hoping you are sending them what they are looking for and this is only if you belong to an organization like ASCAP, BMI, NSAI, etc. This has brought about the so-called our not getting along with one another. The majority of us are frustrated and angry at the fat cats controlling the music industry. Maybe it’s time a group of us start our own music industry basically like Americana has done over the past decade or so.

    Crypto Musician - August 31, 2018 reply

    Speaking of starting “our own music industry,” have you heard of Choon and Musicoin?

    Also, Atomic Collector records has an excellent program where musicians work together listening to each other’s music etc.

  • John - August 31, 2018 reply

    Yes, I fully understand the content of the article and agree with it. Supporting Open Mics is one way of socializing with a lot of local musicians. Admittedly from all phases of the musical journey, but you can mingle with a lot of good folks, and hear what they are doing, and share whatever you wish with them in a no pressure environment.

  • Lori Lynn - August 31, 2018 reply

    We all have something to offer as musicians and creative artists. We should support each other. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. I love meeting other musicians at open mics and hearing their creative spark. I also love hearing what other people put out worldwide on the internet. If music is good, it will find an audience.

  • Rob Roper - September 6, 2018 reply

    I completely agree. I’ve been preaching, and practicing, this gospel for years. I tell friends in other bands in other cities, “I’ll help you get gigs in my city and you help me get gigs in yours.” But unfortunately, most don’t want to do that, which is a shame. They’re not just hurting me, they’re hurting themselves, because I could help them get paying gigs in my city. But a few get it.

    I’ve gotten paying gigs for other singer-songwriters, inviting them to open for me. I do all the promotional work, and bring all the people, and give them half the pay. Afterwards, they don’t thank me, and don’t invite me to open for them. That hurts. I’m tempted to stop being cooperative. But I won’t let that change me. I believe in the cooperative approach. Like you say, the ones who practice the cooperative approach are successful. The ones I mentioned who didn’t even thank me? They’re nowhere to be found today. I’m still going, and my fan base is growing.

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