A few years back, I was feeling like my band’s (Chris Robley & the Fear of Heights) live performances were getting a bit stale, at least for me, if not the audience. Same lineup. Similar set lists. Same venues.
Then one day a couple of MCs from Portland’s favorite hip-hop collective Sandpeople (yes, they’re named for the Tusken Raiders in Star Wars!) asked if I’d be interested in collaborating with them on a track for an upcoming record. As someone who occasionally puts on the “producer hat,” I was excited by this possibility. But it also got me wondering what would happen if I could convince them to rap on a couple tunes of MINE at an upcoming show. We’d previously worked with a flute quartet and members of a jazz big band, but never a hip-hop group!
So, an indie-pop ensemble with guest rappers? Yep. And it actually worked out really well. Not only did the collaboration get me excited about the band’s performance possibilities again, but we were also able to cross-promote, exposing my audience to some local hip-hop and getting a few of Sandpeople’s fans to give my music a try. In addition, the show announcement emails for these collaborative performances also served as a kind of limited-access pass to reach out to the other act’s fanbase. If you creatively partner with another musician or band, you’ll want to make the most of that email-blast opportunity by offering free MP3s, clear calls-to-action, and links to your most compelling content.
Kanye West clearly had the same idea, though on a somewhat grander scale, when he invited whisper-y, indie-folk artist Bon Iver to work with him on a track for his upcoming release. Check out details HERE.
If you’ve had a great creative or promotional success through collaboration we’d love to hear about it. Please feel free to comment below.
-Chris R. at CD Baby