Article by: Jonathan Pappo
The music industry has a tendency to breed competition.
You see other bands with the same aesthetic, or getting a spot on a bill you’ve been pining for, or getting signed to a label after 6 months when you’ve been playing for 2 years. Well, instead of getting on your high horse or sequestering yourself off in your room for eternity, I think it’s time to think about the importance of community in music.
With a community, it gives you the ability to be part of something larger than yourself, put on shows with friends, and also never spread yourself too thin. Especially with the arrival of creative online communities (see 99u’s article on the future of creative communities) it’s clear that the way avenues for distributing music are evolving. We can sometimes get bogged down in making a name for ourselves. Well, instead of thinking competitively, we should think communally – reaching for the same goals alongside other artists.
So, with this in mind, here are a couple of tips to building or joining music communities, and the genuine benefits they can have to helping you grow as an artist.
1. Go to shows – lots and lots of shows
This might seem obvious, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You’re working on your craft, making songs the way that you want. But, you completely seclude yourself from your local area and when you finally put on a show, the only people there are your friends and maybe mom and dad. That’s great, but wouldn’t you want a little more? One of the ways to do this is by having you, or someone in your band, always attending local shows, making connections, and listening to local music. This allows you to build showcases the way you want to, partner up with bands on the up and up, and also bring the possibility of touring outside of your local zone. Support your community and they’ll support you!
2. Think Globally, Act Locally
Yes, this is a sort of co-opted phrase, but hear me out. You probably have plans to tour across Europe in a jumbo jet wearing sunglasses 24/7. That’s cool – but sometimes the best way to go about that is to establish your homestead. Especially in Toronto, the scene has become one huge family, sidelining competition for allowing a whole slew of bands across diverse genres, styles, genders, and everything else in between to feel connected with one another. Maybe you’re in a small town or in the biggest city in the world, but either way you should never abandon where you’re from. And if it’s dire - establish yourself somewhere else. Just like you, there’s undiscovered talent lurking at home!
3. Knocking Down Ego
You say you have the best songs in the world – but it’s hard for you to actually quantify that if you’re the only one listening to your songs. If you want honest opinions, actual chances for growth as an artist, and also to maybe knock down your ego a notch, this is where a great community comes in. Take criticism where you can get it – you don’t have to listen to all of it, but you’ll have your trusted sources in due time. Remember that individualism is overrated - collectives are where it’s at.
Ultimately, a community is there so you can give yourself over to the thing you love most: music. Communities are one of the best ways of getting heard and getting better – so, don’t sit at home, looking outside wondering when you’ll make it. Get involved, talk to others, get feedback, and start building a community!
Audio Blood is a Canadian music marketing, publicity, and promotions company specializing in full-service national and regional artist and brand development campaigns for artists, labels, and events.