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Artist Collective Creation Guide

MMXV does a good job of setting up their SoundCloud. All artist’s are @ linked to be viewed & found easily.Creating an artist collective can have incredible benefits. It can bring about opportunities, exposure, and a foundation for your career. This guide is, in part, a breakdown of already successful collectives, giving you the tactics and strategies to create your own killer collective.


What’s an artist collective?

I’ve already answered this question in-depth, but I’ll restate the key points. An artist collective is a group of artists who team up to help promote each other’s music. An artist collective is like a record label, but instead of relying large marketing budgets or radio partnerships, artist collectives rely on combined social media followings and connections. Artist collectives introduce fans to similar sounds and music. A good artist collective will take a fan of 1 member and make them a fan of all the members of the collective.

Should you start a collective?

The trendy answer might be “yes”. However, you should take a serious look at these things:
  1. Do you make good music? Collectives, like record labels, are only as good as the music on them. You want to be producing decent music before launching a collective brand.
  2. Do you have friends who make similar, good music? Collectives usually focus around a certain sound. If you know other producers who make music like yours, they would be a good addition to your collective.
  3. Are you willing to support others when they surpass you? This one is huge. Collectives require zero egos among the members. You can’t start a collective to “help everyone out” and then get angry when someone in the collective blows up faster than you. You need to realize that there’s enough success for everybody, and keep a friendly, open mindset to your fellow collective members.
If the answer to each of these questions is yes,

Birthing your collective

Branding & Concept

When you’re thinking of names, logos, and concepts for your collective, reflect on what kind of music do you make. For instance, Moving Castle publishes Japanese-inspired future bass. The name Moving Castle references Howl’s Moving Castle, the famous Studio Ghibli anime movie. Their logo, is simply 動く城 – “Moving Castle” in Japanese.
We’ll outline the barebones of creating the artist collective’s social presence. All that’s really necessary is a collective SoundCloud account and maybe a collective Facebook page. If you wish to create an Instagram, or Snapchat, that is up to you.

Building the Roster

Finding members for the collective, is as simple or complicated as you want to make it. My first suggestion is to ask your producer friends if they would like to join. It’s even better if they make the similar or complementing music to you. If you don’t know anyone who makes your type of music, then meet some people! Throw out some posts on Facebook, reddit, wherever you know there’s a community of producers. You’ll find people, guaranteed.

A collective’s reach is only as good as it’s participation. You should also outline some duties and responsibilities for being in the collective. Participating in social media, reposting tracks on SoundCloud, publishing DJ mixes, or any other promoting activities should be required of each member. oWhen you add an artist to a roster, make sure that they know what’s expected and are willing to help out and promote. The entire idea of a collective is to cross-promote each other, and if an artist refuses to promote, then they should leave the collective.


Email

Set up a simple gmail account for the collective. Use this email as a way of accepting submissions, press opportunities, as well as an account to sign up for websites like SoundCloud and Hive.

Soundcloud

MMXV does a good job of setting up their SoundCloud. All artist's are @ linked to be viewed & found easily.

(Screengrab) MMXV does a good job of setting up their SoundCloud profile to highlight their roster. All artist’s are @ linked to be viewed & found easily.

The first step into bringing your collective to the net is to create a collective SoundCloud account. Your SoundCloud page will serve as a nexus to connect all the fans of each individual artist member into one page. Your SoundCloud will repost tracks from members, as well as publishing it’s own mixtapes, compilations, DJ mixes, etc.

Bio

Your SoundCloud bio should include your email address front & center. It’s recommended to put a roster, with all of the member’s usernames tagged, underneath for promotion sake. Link the collective’s other social media accounts (once they’re made) in the links section.

Design

Upload a good header image and avatar. Find the member who is best at graphic design, and have them make something that looks nice.

Download gate

Connect your SoundCloud to a service like Hive or ToneDen to start capitalizing on free-downloads. Again, I’ve gone in-depth on this subject, but I’ll give a little recap. A download gate gives free music in exchange for a Facebook like, Snapchat add, SoundCloud follow. Hive is my personal favorite download gate service because it offers more platforms to interact with than any other.
When doing your download gate, provide two options. First, if a compilation or DJ mix is uploaded on the collective SoundCloud, include everybody’s accounts in the download gate. Basically, if you want to download the compilation, you need to follow everybody who is in it. Secondly, encourage the artists to include the collective’s account in their personal download gates. If an artist uploads a track, ask them to require fans to follow the collective in order to download.

Facebook

For collectives, SoundCloud is king. Facebook may be important as well, particularly if you are looking to build a brand on your collective. I’d advise not to try and build a brand immediately, however. Put in some good music, then work on your collective’s brand.
Moving Castle's Facebook page likes all of it's members. This is a good way of showing who your roster because fans can click on each profile directly.

(Screengrab) Moving Castle’s Facebook page likes all of it’s members. This is a good way of showing your roster because fans can click on each profile directly.

Roster & links

Similar to SoundCloud, include links to all of the member’s Facebook accounts in the About section. Also, like each member by the page as another way of showing the roster. Include a link to your Soundcloud.

 Design

Again, good design is key. Make a good cover photo and profile picture.

Invite/promo party

When the page is up, encourage all the members to invite their friends to page. Also, have all the members post about the collective page to gain some first likes.

Extras

Merchandising

Some collectives choose to either do their own merchandising or partner with a clothing company to make tees and accessories. Merchandising may be an option for your collective if you have a solid base of supporters or a large enough roster to cover the printing costs. A lot of producers overvalue their brand when it comes to merchandising. Producers often expect that their fans will buy a large amount of merch when that’s often not the case. Really assess the strength of your brand, and the connection to your audience before looking at merchandising opportunities.

Snapchat takeovers:

Give the username & password to a collective member & have them log in for a day, or a weekend, and share their life. Advertise that “producer-x” is taking over the collective’s Snapchat on your social media to let your fans know. Doing this regularly could create an intimate relationship between your collective an its fans.

Event takeovers

What if the entire collective played a show? Or even part of the collective? If your artists live in a close area to each other, get together and talk to local promoters about doing a collective show.

Publish good music often

If you equip all of your music with download gates, evert track becomes extra promotion. By constantly publishing music from the roster, a collective has the chance to rapidly grow its followers with every track. However, fans will only download music if it’s good–make sure that the quality is there, and you are not just spamming fan’s feeds to get a few extra followers.

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