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Since it's peak in 1999, the music industry has changed drastically, leaving many professional musicians alone to fend for themselves. Musicians, old and young, are now reliant on digital platforms like YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud, to promote their music. When it comes to raising funds to record an album, or go on tour, many people turn to crowdfunding. Yet as innovative and successful we have seen crowd-sourcing to be, it is also over saturated with projects and people looking to fund their ideas. In order to compete with the millions of artists using online platforms, a supportive community might be the key to success.
By Amanda Gray - Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Founder Angel Kwiatkowski and community connector Julie Sutter of Cohere Coworking in Fort Collins, Colorado spoke with Deskmag about the latest addition to their coworking community: Cohere Bandwidth-a coworking space for musicians. The Cohere team has spent the past year and a half building a community, rasing funds, and hitting the streets to find out what musicians would want if given their very own coworking space. With two established general coworking spaces, Cohere Bandwidth will become an integral part of the exsisting Cohere community. The new space will be located in a recently closed Drum & Percussion store, which will also be shared by The Downtown Artery, a likeminded creative space for working artists. 

Cohere: A Space for Musicians

The inspiration to launch Cohere Coworking came from the desire to give a happy ending to a sad story. Last year on Christmas Eve, friends of Julie and Angel, Wire Faces & Fierce Bad Rabbit, were robbed of over $20,000 of eqipment from their shared storage space/rehearsal room. “That one incident was the catalyst to make a change in our city to provide them with safe, affordable space to create amazing music,” explains Angel.

While Cohere Bandwidth for musicians does fit into the niche category of coworking, Julie and Angel also stress the importance of their newest space becoming a part of the greater coworking community. “It's important for everyone who is joining any of the spaces to know that they will exist inside the larger Cohere community and not just their individual space,” said Angel. Although there are certainly differences between the specific spaces, nuances are mostly found within the tools and amenities offered. “The biggest physical space difference has to do with soundproofing, said Julie, "but other than that, its just stuff like 'wireless mouse or effects pedal'.”

Building a Community

Over the past 17 months, the Cohere team hit the streets to do some fieldwork. “We deployed a survey, attended band rehearsals in garages and living rooms, held focus groups and kept in constant communication with our local musicians, said Angel. “We want to make sure that the container that we build is the most useful one and serves all of their primary needs.” Working continually with their target group of workers, Julie also explained that they combined crowd-sourcing to raise some of the rent money that will be required to open Cohere Bandwidth.

“We've made a great leap,” said Angel. “Our future landlord has agreed to not only pay for a large portion of the electrical, plumbing and HVAC infrastructure but they are also willing to pay for the construction of the rooms so Cohere Bandwidth doesn't have to do any additional fundraising to get off the ground.” Julie also added that the work put into community building has resulted in some essential partnerships. “We’re partnering with Downtown Artery, a local collaborative art gallery and studio/music venue/shared event space, which will make for a larger and more creative community."

Through a combination of hands-on research, and meeting with contractors and experts, the Cohere team learned about the specific needs of the community, like soundproofing (essential for a musical coworking space).

Benefits musicians can get from Coworking

Shared rehearsal space is nothing new for musicians, and they have often led to some of the greatest musical collaborations in history. But when you add an element of coworking to a shared space, musicians will then have the chance to create a network of people who may be able to contribute to their work beyond the musical level. “The hope is to also create some crossover between the “regular” coworking community and the rehearsal space community, so in-house education can be expanded to include broader topics and cross-community perspectives,” explains Julie.

In addition to musicians having a supportive network, where they can flesh out new ideas, they will also have access to amazing resources like rehearsal space, a performance venue, workshops and a hostel for visiting artists. “We plan to have events or open house hours where our entire community, including members of the Downtown Artery, can mingle both at Cohere Bandwidth and our Cohere Offices,” said Angel.

The Cohere team has also considered providing different tools and instruments musicians might not otherwise have access to otherwise. “We think it may offer them a chance for them to experiment and grow,” explains Julie. “This is a good value add for users of the space.”


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