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Published on April 13th, 2010 | by Hugh Hession


Recording with other artists to increase download sales & awareness

Back when grunge was on the verge of going mainstream,  I remember being turned on by an album called Temple of The Dog (Check out Hunger Strike). Wow. The two vocalists on that record had such presence and originality – it was obvious that there was going to be a shift in regard to the direction of the music industry just by that album alone. Who were they? Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) and Chris Cornell (Soundgarden). Ironically, this album was released on A&M before both bands emerged on the national scene. Initially, the album only sold 70,000 copies, however once both bands became well known, the album was rejuvenated, and went platinum.

Nowadays, teaming up with other recording artists is common. Lady Ga Ga and Beyonce, Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber – the list goes on. It’s smart promotion, especially in todays highly competitive music environment. Question is, why can’t bands on an independent level do the same thing? They can, and they should!

As the saying goes, there is power in numbers and this can really help to increase your fan base and sales.

Two approaches for teaming up with other indie artists

1) The emerging and established indie artist. There really is a lot of great talent out there and much of that talent just needs an opportunity. If you are just starting out, it is an obvious benefit to team up with someone who has a solid fan base. There are many advantages to this.

First, you’re combining the talent of both artists. A songwriting partnership can breathe new life into a song because of the different perspectives two songwriters can bring to the table. Additionally, a song with two vocalists (especially those whose styles compliment each other) can help to create a different dynamic – one that could bring a completely different energy and vibe than if the song was just recorded by one or the other artist.

Second, both artists can promote the song on their websites, MySpace, FB and other social media/promotional sites. It’s a very synergistic approach which makes sense.

Third – the obvious boost in fans that an emerging artist can get as a result of the partnership.

For the acts who have the fan base – don’t underestimate the power an emerging artist could bring to the table – especially if they are talented and unique. It’s easy to be in the mindset that recording with an artist just starting out is like giving them a free ride. That would be the typical thought. However, you need to think more out of the box. If the songs are good and you mesh well together, why not? It could be a major break and increase not only the sales of the song you’ve recorded together but your other songs as well.

2) Two established indie artists. This is the more common approach. The idea here is that the two popular artists can merge fan bases which will create more sales and awareness. Like above, both acts can sell the song on their websites and promote the song in social media. Also, don’t ignore the talent that surrounds each artist, including other band members (a great player can really help to enhance a song), producers, managers and promoters. It is a truly a win-win situation if you do it correctly and utilize all your resources.

Other promotional and marketing aspects

There are so many different directions to go when forming a partnership with another recording artist. For instance, you may want to search out and license a song written by another songwriter instead of writing your own. This is common. Like bands and artists, there is no shortage of great songwriters and believe me, they would be more than happy to let you record one of their songs!

There are also many promotional strategies you could use that would boost sales and popularity. Teaming both artists together for a mini-tour, for instance. This way, when you play that dynamite song you’ve just recorded, you can perform it together! The key is to obviously book the shows within either artists established region or city. It’s a plus, if both artists are from the same area, or have fans in the same regions. Now that is power!

Combining publicity appearances with the tour, is yet another idea both online and off. A quality video of both artists promoting the song and tour is an obvious and will serve as a part of your media kit.

If you as an artist have tried this approach, or have other ideas – by all means, let us know!

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About the Author

owns and operates Emerging Artists Entertainment Marketing & Consulting, LLC - a company devoted to cultivating aspiring music artists, He is also the head of Hession Entertainment Group, LLC (artist management) and the Music Industry Liaison for the artist discovery site, TalentWatch ( He has over 25 years experience in the music business as a performer, composer, producer and artist manager. Hugh holds a BA in Marketing and is a professional member of NARIP and a voting member of The Recording Academy. He often speaks at seminars and workshops on artist development.

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