The CEO of Rock Blog

The Quest of a Student/Entrepreneur to Add Value in Music and Business

22 Ways To Get Tribes On Your Side.

If you are an artist, and wrote some songs, you may want other people to know about them. While you may use social networking, just blasting out a message that you have a new song may not be enough. Getting someone to scream your tweet from a rocky cliffside won’t help much either, no matter how funny it may be.

There are literally millions of tribes, and you are a passive or active member in many of them.

Seth is the most well-known person to use the term, having written a whole book about them. A tribe is a group of people (ranging from 2 folks to a multitude of millions) who come together due to a common element of interest. One tribe may be your church, another may be employees of BestBuy, while a third might be your college drama class.

For an oversimplified example, watch any high-school movie to see how one large tribe easily breaks down into many smaller ones.

Ultimately, you may get to the point where people connect with one another out of love for your music. (i.e. deadheads, grobanites, etc.)

Here are several tips based upon knowledge of tribes that can help you grow awareness of your tunes. Some of these ideas are awesome already, while others might need more thought or expansion. Enjoy!

22 Ways to Work with Tribes

1. Lead some tribes. Maybe you have some buddies you play pool with, or serve on the board of a nonprofit. If you don’t, think over who you want your fans to be, and find out if you should lead tribes like this. You can then suggest things involving your band when the time is right.

2. Make songs for specific tribes. Like Melissa Etheridge did for “I Run For Life” for breast cancer awareness.

3. Make songs that appeal to many tribes. Why do you think songs about love sell so well?

4. Write songs about tribes that get little representation in popular culture. That is why the Village People did so well back then, as very few wrote commercially viable songs with gay references back then.

5. Borrow other tribes to gain traction. This is why smaller bands open for larger bands that play similar genres of music.

6. Write a song meant for a one-time event. Try something crazy like the 2010 Jessop County Barbecue festival. If it is just for that event, you may get a shot at gigging there, even though I just came up with that.

7. Focus on one type of occasion that happens everywhere. Wedding bands have done this for years, as there’s always a new tribe referred to you if you are good.

8. Write for fans or haters of a product. commercial jingles, comedic parodies, odes, and bashes.

9. Writing for controversial topics. Especially if your view is different from the norm, yet funny.

10. Create music for tribes that may not exist yet. Either the tribe will appear and you can use your song to help promote them, or it will never show up and it can be either useless or funny (like Flight of the Conchords when they sing about when robots destroy all humans in the future in an attempt to have early access to a future market.)

11. Take a song written for one tribe and alter it so it targets a different tribe. Think Sister Act with Whoopi Goldberg. Just don’t do it under witness protection because you will not be invisible forever using this.

12. Try to contract work with one individual whose job it is to use media to reach multiple tribes with multiple concepts, and just make things for them on demand. Examples can be movie producers, website owners, political candidates, and personal development speakers.

13. Make music for just one person who is super rich. This one is very niche today, but it worked during the days of Bach and Handel. Once you build enough notoriety in your career for making great music, you can easily move into this. (Imagine if you are Enrique Iglesias and you are paid to make a song for the daughter of a Hedge Fund Manager for the daughter’s birthday…I’d do it).

14. Gain the respect of larger tribes by rejecting other tribes. Punk music and the Hippy Movement of the 60’s are well known examples of this concept. If your tribe is the working class, refusing to work for the super rich could endear your tribe to you even closer.

15. Make your band a tribe that non-band members want to support. If your band did things like play music for free to orphanages and childrens hospitals, you might secure the funding of outsiders to continue this.

16. Make your own tribe for music lovers and other musicians. Many artists, unable to find gigs, create their own by organizing open mics and other similar events. It might help to organize something like this even if you do have some paying gigs. You could run it temporarily before turning over to someone else, using the creation of this new venue something that music fans accept you for.

17. Start a consulting service between business owners and tribes. Establish relationship with artists that are passionate about different causes and tribes and connect them with groups/clients that want to join and market to those tribes. When the connection is made, find out what the clients want and work with each artist(s) to develop the music or message that they want.

18. Bring band-focused tribes together by having gigs with a genre focus. Do an 80’s hair metal covers gig one day, or pop diva covers on a different day. This can establish you as a versatile act, as well as allowing you to see which tribes are your best audiences.

19. Similar to #18: have a festival of cover bands, preferably mirroring another festival with the real acts elsewhere. Its a great way to involve other bands in your idea, plus you get to play for their tribes as well. Now you are getting your tribe, the tribes of the local bands, and the tribes of multi-platinum acts all at once…sneak attack!

20. Try not identifying with any tribe at all. This has often been what creates brand new styles. Many people simply do not like what is out there. If you are so different you have nothing to do with any tribe, many displaced people may join you. Or nothing will happen at all. It all comes down to whether or not your current actions are working.

21. Talk to people at the venue after your gigs. Socially connecting with people can do more for you than your actual playing, even if you are good. Playing good gets people to come. Since they are there with you, talk to them.

22. Use Alternate versions of your songs to reach multiple tribes. This has been done by Moby, Shania Twain, and many other artists. First, make your songs the way you want them. Then record extra tracks using different styles of playing/singing/different instruments to mix different styles of the songs you just completed. After that, release them each to fans of the different genres you used. You might even find a sound you like better than the one you are using.

After racking my brain to the point of a headache, that’s all I got for now.

You are welcome to post any ideas you feel I missed or did not explain enough in the comments on this blog post. Share them with the world, and the world will be better for it.


October 16, 2009 - Posted by | Business, Music Business | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for your helpful insights.
    Geoff Lapp

    Comment by Geoff Lapp | October 23, 2009 | Reply

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