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Written by Ramsey Brown.
Networking is of huge importance for any business, but it is especially important and necessary when it comes to the music industry. By utilizing things like music networking sites and attending music industry networking events, you will end up creating connections that can really impact the future of your career.
There are music networking events and opportunities to be found almost everywhere, the difficult part is just knowing where to look. If you are a new artist trying to break through, the time is now for you to begin networking and these are some tips to help you get started.
One of the most important things for you to do is make sure that you are attending the right networking events. When you are just starting out, it can be less intimidating to go to local musician meet-ups or other much smaller networking events where you can start off slowly.
Going straight to a convention center sized networking event may be a bit overwhelming to those who are new to the industry, so really work your way up to these larger events when you get more networking experience.
The large events typically bring higher quality networks, so you want to really make sure that you have mastered your networking skills when you go to these events. You should also choose your networking events based on your specific genre, which is where you are going to find more people who are interested in your type of music. For instance as a rock musician, you may not find anyone at a rap centric event to network with.
Aside from conferences, any event where music is involved can be an opportunity for artists to network. Attending local shows or concerts and striking up conversations with people in the crowd is a highly useful and organic way to make connections in the field.
Also, there are many smaller meet ups probably happening in your town weekly, you just aren't aware of them yet. Joining music related groups on sites like Facebook or Reddit can be a great way for you to get knowledge and get involved in some networking events around where you live.
Once you actually find the right events to attend, the next and most important step for you to take is being prepared when the opportunity arrises. You need to be able to answer certain questions to yourself and anyone you are speaking to:
What am I looking to get out of this networking event?
Why am I at this event?
What do I plan to say to someone when conversation strikes?
Answering these questions beforehand can save you time, awkwardness, and embarrassment. Think of your elevator pitch when going to network. If you don't have your elevator pitch prepared, you need to do so!
Another super simple yet highly underrated networking tip for artists is to always carry business cards on you. Business cards can easily tell someone who you are as an artists, what skills you have or can provide someone else with, and most importantly how someone can get in contact with you.
Business cards are sometimes thought of as old-school or out of date, but this is simply untrue. Business cards are professional and show someone that you are serious about your career, legitimate, and prepared. Oftentimes you will find that there is limited time to chat during a networking event, so a business card should have all necessary info that you would want a person to know about you.
One common mistake that new artists make is immediately jumping into a conversation with an industry leader and offering up their demo. This can be a big mistake because it will turn the person off from the conversation and you would lose a potentially vital networking contact.
There is a time and place for this and you should work on building up a working relationship with others first. Eventually, they will ask for a demo on their own if you have made an impression on them. There may be some networking events where there are openings for you to do this, which you should take advantage of. You should always feel out the person's vibe to get an idea of if it's an appropriate time to start discussing your music. Among that, you should never be too aggressive or pushy when trying to get someone to listen to your music, which brings us to our next industry networking tip...
It is also very important to remember your manners when approaching people at networking events. Simple niceties can really get you pretty far and most importantly this will impress the people you are trying to network with. A rule of thumb that I always use when attending events is, treat the janitor the same way you would treat the manager.
At the end of the day, you never know who exactly someone is and what power they have or could have in your career future. It's a common conception that people in the music industry are known for being not-so friendly. This is why kind people and well-mannered industry professionals stand out and get a lot further than those who are rude or self-righteous.
People want gratitude and they want to see that you respect them. This will inspire them to stay in touch with you and hopefully give you the same treatment in return. Above all, you just need to be yourself. People in the industry want to see artists who are authentic and can easily see through artists who are not.
Word of mouth is huge in this industry, and one bad slip up or mistake early on could affect your reputation for years. You want to make a good impression on everyone and anyone you meet, just remember that.
Networking is arguably one of the most important skills an artist can have to grow their career in the music industry. It's not as simple as just talking to someone and casually striking up conversations, there are certain methods and ways to go about networking properly and efficiently.
The things we mentioned in this article are some of the most basic industry networking tips that can end up taking you a long way in your music career. Finding the right events, being prepared before you go, acting professional and courteous to others, and above all — just being yourself.
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