How To Network In The Music Industry

SXSW will be here before we know it, and the entire music industry will be making that trek to Austin, TX to enjoy delicious food, see amazing live shows, and, more importantly, rub elbows with the bigwigs in the music industry.

How To Network In The Music Industry

For budding musicians or people trying to make their way in the industry, Austin is the perfect opportunity to make an impression and perhaps share your music. Outside of SXSW, there are still many ways to get your music into the hands of influential people. Here are some guidelines for networking with people in the music industry.

Be in networking mode - You never know who you will meet of who is in attendance when you are at a show. Be aware of your surrounding and what you may be saying to others. A good rule to keep in mind: if you won't post it on a social network, don't talk about it in public.

Show up - This is the most crucial step in networking. The dream of putting your music online hoping someone will hear it, is really just that: a dream. Move outside of your comfort zone by attending shows and make friends with local artists. This may seem counterproductive, but in actuality other musicians will be your biggest allies. Most are willing to help out someone who started out along the same path they did, and may introduce you to other people that may inspire you.

Don't in-person spam - People who work in music do it because it's much more casual atmosphere than working in an office. When approaching someone in said industry, be aware of this. Unless it is a specific convention or industry networking event, do not shove your album or demo in their face. Some people may be okay with it, but it will make you look extremely unprofessional.

Be professional and direct - When asking for what you need, remember that industry professionals are busy. Be up front with what you want, but don't ever be pushy. Learn to read signals like voice tone and body language. These things will tell you more than what anyone ever really says.

Carry business cards - It need not be complicated and elaborate, but make sure you always have business cards to ensure that whoever you meet has access to your contact info. Even more compelling is being able to get their business card.

Follow up - There's no point in meeting anyone if you have no intention of contacting that person ever again. Within a day or two of meeting someone, send them an email reminding them of how you met and let them know you appreciated meeting them.

Keep your promises - If you say you are going to call someone or send them some music, do it. If you set up a meeting for a specific time, show up. Do everything in a timely manner. Earn a reputation of being someone who stands behind what they say.

Initiate conversation - Most people are scared to approach people in the industry because they are afraid of rejection of being judged in a bad light. Master the art of small talk without pandering. Smile, introduce yourself, and be ready to listen to what others have to share. Remember, interested is interesting.

Be kind - This may be the most important guideline of all when trying to get a leg up in music. Ask how you can help others before you help yourself. It will eliminate any thoughts that you only care about how you can further your career.

Blues-rock artist, Grace Potter said in an interview that there are no rules anymore on how to succeed in music these days, and it's up to anyone how their career turns out. Success is equal parts talent, hard work, and circumstance.

About the Author:

Minneapolis-based music journalist Youa V. works with Midwest Musical Imports, specializing in double reed instruments like oboes, bassoons, and clarinets. With a vast online store and a shop in Minneapolis, Midwest Musical Imports is a great source for new and experienced musicians.

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