I met with a couple of people from FUGA, and talking with them gave me some good perspectives on how to think about music business partners. I’ve never wanted to have a label, but there are some reasons why it could be a good idea after all. Gatekeepers, like Spotify, tend to take labels more seriously than independent, unsigned artists – simply because they don’t want to deal with many different people. Dealing with bigger organizations – management companies or labels, saves a lot of time.
Be selective with your partnerships. I’ve done the same mistake many times – worked with amateurs in hopes of getting things done. But amateurs have one very big problem – they don’t have the skills, the network, or the time to actually do anything useful. They might cost you more than they bring.
Bring more to the table
You should think about how to be of more help to your collaborators, than they are to you. That creates a very positive cycle, in which your team will want to do things for you, because they get so much in return, that they want to keep working with you. You should really think about why anyone would partner with you. What do you have to give? Talk these things through with your business partners before you do any business with them.
Obviously, money is often a very simple answer to motivational problems, but that isn’t always the best tool of exchange. There are many other ways of providing value to your partners – such as teaching them new skills or utilizing your own skills to do something for them that they can’t do by themselves. Or you could introduce them to people that they might need to meet.
Photo by Sebastian Trzaska.