Chapter 12:Why it is important to network with your music contacts

When it comes to the music industry, the age old saying ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’, is something that is certainly applicable and ensuring that you have the right connections when you are striving to pave a career is imperative.

Knowing who the people are in the music industry is something that will set you apart from other artists who don’t quite know how to get off on the right foot; knowing somebody who knows somebody else could be the key to your big break.

If you decide not to network, you may as well give up

on a career in the music industry as you simply won’t be generating enough awareness of who you are in order to even get a chance at making the cut; by shying away from networking with music contacts, you are allowing somebody else to muscle in on your turf and your dream.

There are some steps that you can take in order to utilise your networking effectively and ensure that you are giving yourself the best opportunity to be noticed by the big wig that has the power to make you successful.

1) Don’t waste time; make a contacts database and keep updating it

By generating a database of contacts, you are already off to a flying start. Get on your social networking sites and get in touch with industry figureheads and find out their details. By creating an extensive database, you are giving yourself the scope to carry out your own PR campaign, as well as showing people in the industry that you are dead serious about what you want to achieve.

Wherever you go, be on the lookout for potential new contacts and be willing to tell people what you do; the six degrees of separation are getting smaller and that stranger on the street could quickly become your meal ticket and passport to stardom. More traditional music situations will throw up more industry specific contacts, so get chatting to people at places like gigs to really make the most of networking.

2) Show people that you have arrived on the scene

Obviously, if you are opting for a career in the music industry, it is more than likely that you are used to putting on some form of performance. When you are trying to make your mark, use the confidence that you have in your performances in order to attract the attention that you need to make it big.

Pay attention to the places to go that relate to your music genre and make the effort to attend the events where you might bump into somebody important. Speak to fellow artists and stay updated with what they have going on and most of all, schmooze with them and give them a hand if they ever need one; you never know when you could need them to return the favour.

Use your social media, website and blog to reach out to people and network with them online in order to stay in the forefront of everybody’s mind; you need to prove that you are in it for the long haul and aren’t just a flash in the pan.

3) Set up your own networking event for likeminded people

This is a big step but it can pay off if it is properly executed, not just in a networking sense, but in a PR sense, too.

Setting up an event that you can invite other members of the music industry to allows you to show off your initiative and drive, which will impress your peers. Your event could also act as a showcase for both yourself and other bands and is a great way of generating publicity for yourself as the organiser. Your networking at your own event will be on fire, as everybody there will want to speak to you because you are the brains behind the operation.

4) Be prepared

Networking is very often referred to as a cliché part of getting your name out there, but it is something that is necessary, so being prepared for what is about to come your way is really important.

Whilst many networking events may occur in bars or cafes, they call for professionalism and you should always have your business cards on you in order to share information about what you do; jotting down a number on a napkin with lip liner just isn’t going to cut it.

Bringing CDs with your music on and giving them out to people is a brilliant idea as it allows the people who take the CDs to put a sound to you, as opposed to walking away and wondering if you are actually any good. Devise a rough script that you can follow when telling people about yourself but don’t be regimented; knowing what you say before you say it is just a great way of ensuring that you don’t miss anything out.

5) Follow up

It is always impressive when somebody follows up a networking event the next day, as many people go away and think nothing more of the people that they have met. By simply sending an email to the people that you met the night before, you are not only building your network, but you are building your reputation as a professional.

On the flip side, it is also a good idea to message people beforehand, especially if there are people in attendance that you really want to meet; by simply saying hello and telling them what you do, you are generating awareness of your presence at the event.