Philanthropic or humanitarian work often go hand in hand with music. In 2008, CD Baby Founder Derek Sivers sold the company for $22 million and donated most of it to an organization of his creation – The Independent Musician’s Charitable Trust. The FADER once covered 15 artists and labels donating their proceeds to worthwhile causes, from Run For Cover Records and Father/Daughter to Tiny Engines and Yohuna.
The point is that you don’t need to go looking far and wide for musicians, labels and industry people who care about more than just lining their own pockets. And, let’s face it – those who are “banking and balling” in the music industry are in the minority.
Guitars Over Guns & Singular Sound Partnership
Established in 2008, the Miami-based Guitar Over Guns was created as a nonprofit for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Beneficiaries receive music education and mentorship from professional musicians. With sites in Miami and Chicago, Guitars Over Guns has served more than 2,700 students to date.
Singular Sound was founded in 2012 by David Packouz. The idea for his first product, however, came together during the economic meltdown of 2008. Turning to music for inspiration, he often found himself writing alone. His songs needed a beat, but he didn’t like how drum machines sounded or how they operated. Plus, they required the use of hands, which meant he couldn’t play guitar at the same time.
That’s how he came up with the now infamous hands-free BeatBuddy drum machine pedal. Research and development depleted most of their resources, so that’s when they turned to crowdfunding. Within 20 minutes of launching their campaign, they managed to secure $20,000 in pledges, and by the end of their campaign, they had become the most funded music accessory in the crowdfunding world.
In 2016, Guitar Over Guns and Singular Sound partnered to bring the BeatBuddy pedal to Guitar Over Gun’s music education program. Co-Founder and CEO Chad Bernstein was excited to bring the drum machine to their students and felt the partnership with Singular Sound was on point. Packouz was elated that his product would be used to inspire budding musicians.
An Important Lesson For Independent Musicians
As independent musicians look to court media and solicit publicity, an important ingredient they often miss is finding and angle. Stories are interesting to journalists. Facts are not. Oftentimes, a catchy headline is considered more important than the granular details.
Musicians making the headlines are typically those with a worthy angle. Their experiences make for better stories, and better stories get read by the general public.
If you’ve never tried finding an angle for your music, or you’re just not sure how to position your product, here’s a simple tip: Try partnering up with a nonprofit organization you believe in and donate the proceeds of your music sales to them (it could just be a percentage of the proceeds). Also, make the public aware that this is what you’re doing.
Now, we don’t recommend doing this if helping humanity is not a part of who you are, but if it is, it can be a great way to get more exposure for your music while helping those in need. There’s an opportunity to create a win-win.