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Written by: Matt Lillywhite
A lot of producers want to collaborate with the best of the best. They want to get in amazing Spotify playlists, big YouTube channels and play the biggest shows and festivals around the world. However, the vast majority of the time, they have absolutely no idea how to go about getting collaborations in a strategic way, or even how to pitch one to a prospective collaborator.
So how can you go about pitching producers, vocalists, and rappers? And how can you strategically find collaborations that will help you achieve your dreams? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this article.
The first thing that you have to do is to achieve your ambitions is to reverse engineer them. Do you want to get in big Spotify playlists? Look at the artists in the ones you want to get into, and then generate genuine relationships with every single one so that you can potentially collaborate in the future. Do you want to play at Tomorrowland during 2020? Add everyone who works at the event management company etc on LinkedIn, and the artists who regularly play the festival, and generate a relationship with them so that they gain a strong awareness of your artist brand. If you hadn’t already guessed, relationships are absolutely essential to any achievement that you want to fulfill within the electronic music industry. Here are some tips that you can use to find & obtain great collaborations.
Build a strong relationship
f you are looking to get a collaboration with a massive producer such as Skrillex or Dillon Francis, simply hitting them saying “collab bro?” will not work. The vast majority of people who do that will either get their email deleted or put on a block list to avoid future spam. Instead of asking to collaborate on the first interaction, try and build somewhat of a relationship so you can both see if you’d be a great fit. After all, you may love their music but may not get along in the slightest. If you do manage to get an opportunity to speak with someone that can change your career, making a good impression is essential. What value can you provide them with? How can you help them? If you are able to provide value first, they are much more likely to reciprocate.
Have a clear vision for the collaboration
Once you have built a strong relationship with the prospective collaborator, you need to have a clear vision as to what you would like to achieve as a result of it. What can you bring to the table? Do you have label or blog contacts? Do you have Spotify playlist curator contacts that can significantly impact the track? The other person will look at your pitch as a valuation of their time. If they do not believe it is worth the effort, the vast majority of people will respectfully decline your offer.
Having a clear vision allows you to say exactly what you want, projected streaming numbers, the type/genre of track that you’d like to produce, accompanied by a few examples of existing similar songs so they can evaluate if they’d like their artistic brand to go in that direction. Also, having a proof of concept is vital to the prospective collaborator saying yes to the proposal. If you are saying that you’ll get it 24 million views, and your last few songs gained 2500 streams, they may call you out as a liar (to put it nicely). So ensure that you have evidence that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do.
Here’s a quick example of an email that you could send to a prospective collaborator. Feel free to copy & adapt it to fit your own needs & requirements.
I’ve been following your music for a while and absolutely loved your new song “Strange Creatures”. I originally discovered it whilst going through a dark time in my life. Your track helped me get through the situation, and I’d like to thank you for that.
Anyway, I’m a music producer with over 10 million YouTube views and 1.5 million Spotify streams. I’ve been featured on WeRaveYou, EDM.com, Dancing Astronaut and a few other large publications within EDM.
I’m just reaching out to establish a line of communication between us both as it would be great to connect. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to lately in the music industry?
Let’s talk soon, and I hope you have a great day!
Now that we’ve created a basic email that can be sent to someone that you’d like to collaborate with, let’s identify a few reasons why it was something that the majority of people would tend to respond to:
It establishes an emotional connection. Try and pay a compliment to the producer, or say how their music has personally benefited you (but make sure it’s genuine). This will help to establish some form of a connection between you and the other artist.
Social proof. It says in the email that you have relatively impressive social & streaming stats so far in your music career. If they are looking to get more blog features, Spotify plays, or anything else, they may immediately think of you as somebody who can help.
There is is no ask. Instead of pitching directly in the first email, you are simply establishing a line of communication between the two of you to build on a future relationship. That’s great.
If you are able to strategically create collaborations and opportunities that will benefit your artistic career, the chances of working with so-called idols are much higher as you are generating direct relationships with industry influencers that can propel your artist brand to the next level.