Best way to find contacts in the music business
We’ve all heard it before: in the music industry, it’s all about who you know. Meeting influential connections, on the other hand, can appear to be a daunting task.
It can be difficult to make connections with major record labels or publishing companies, and it can be difficult to identify the industry’s independent players.
As an indie artist, we’re here to tell you that any connection is completely within your grasp, and with those connections come opportunities.
Here are five networking suggestions for the music industry.
USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO NETWORK
Social media is the most accessible way to network in the music industry. It is sometimes much easier to contact people via the internet. The first step is to identify some people in the industry with whom you’d like to network. Choose people who work in a field you’re interested in rather than picking names out of a hat. If you’re a jazz songwriter, for example, you’ll want to network with publishers, music supervisors, and jazz bloggers. Also, try to surround yourself with people who work with artists at a similar or slightly higher level of experience than you.
After that, start interacting with them on social media sites like Instagram, SoundCloud, YouTube, and their blog. The key is to avoid immediately shoving your music in their faces. Make a valuable and interactive contribution to their conversations, offer your opinion when they ask a question, and engage regularly so that your name becomes a household name.
It’s all about establishing a connection. You can start tying your music into the conversation once you’ve established that foundation.
PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE TO FIND CONTACTS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS
You should always be networking and connecting on social media, but if you want to take the relationships you’ve built to the next level, you’ll need to meet people in person. Face-to-face communication is, in fact, the most effective way to connect with others.
With that in mind, you should be out and about and participating in your local music scene. Attend conferences, workshops, festivals, and concerts to broaden your horizons. Play as many shows as you can, especially open mic nights and events where multiple bands are booked. Other musicians are frequently the best connections you’ll make because they’re likely to know or have worked with others in the industry, such as publishing companies, music lawyers, and booking agents.
You should also try to perform at venues and events that aren’t necessarily related to music. Charities, local fairs and festivals, and hotel performances are all excellent ways to expose your music to a new audience and allow you to stand out in a crowded market.
Naturally, if you want these events to be truly beneficial to your career, you must network and talk to people. You should engage in conversation with them before pushing your music at them, just like you would on social media. Discuss the show or event with them, then inquire about their work before bringing up your music. Make sure your web presence is in order before attending these events. If they visit your website and find it to be sloppy or out of date, they are unlikely to return.
CONNECT WITH AS MUCH PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE
Some music connections don’t come with a fancy business card or a fancy title. Your best chance yet could come from a manager at a charity you support, or from another local band looking to collaborate on a few gigs. With that in mind, don’t dismiss any conversation and always have a business card with your contact information and website, as well as a demo CD or download card on hand. Not every connection will lead to opportunities, and many of them will fail, but if you don’t make the first connection, you won’t have any opportunities.
MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW UP
When you make a connection with someone, try to get their contact information and follow up on it. People, no matter how good their intentions are, sometimes forget to follow through. It’s up to you to reignite the dialogue! If it helps, jot down or make a note in your phone of when and where you met the person, as well as what you talked about. Incorporating small details like this into your follow-up will demonstrate to them that you genuinely care about what they have to say. Remember, the grease goes to the squeaky wheel.
GIVING AND GETTING
The music industry, especially today, is all about building mutually beneficial long-term relationships, and relationships are about giving as much as they are about receiving. Before jumping in and asking for favors, consider what you can do to help the person you’re meeting. After all, you can’t expect people to assist you for free.
If you’re speaking with a blogger, you could give them an advance look at your upcoming album. You could volunteer to record a local band’s backing vocal track. Give them some free tickets or albums to give out to their listeners when you go in for a radio interview. You will be rewarded if you give.
Opportunities and relationships built on mutual benefit are more likely to last. One appearance at an event for a charity you care about could lead to your music being used in future commercials for the organization. One show in New York with a band you like could lead to a spot as the headlining act on their national tour.