Networking is the best way to get ahead in “the biz.” It isn’t all about sending your music to Pitchfork and blogs to hope it gets some airplay in the corners of the internet. It’s about talking to the people who matter most in your town to help each other out and to build a core fan base you can build from in the coming months.
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Entries in networking (10)
When you hear, “It’s all who you know,” it sounds so intimidating - like you need to be a former roommate of Mark Zuckerburg, cousins with Richard Branson, and dating Taylor Swift.
But simply contacting a stranger can lead to a worldwide network of connections.
The Summer National Association of Music Merchants convention took place in Nashville, TN July 12-14. NAMM conferences are member-only events to show off the latest music retail and technology, but July 14th was open to the public.
NAMM Public Day is well worth the $15 price of admission for independent musicians. Make no mistake: this is a trade show focused on music manufacturers. Musicians can still benefit from plenty of networking opportunities, gear sales, and educational sessions.
Networking online or in person (eventually it is necessary to do in person) involves talking to complete random strangers. People you don’t know, people who might be untrustworthy, people who might have an agenda, people who might take from you, people who might steal from you, people who might harm you. We don’t like talking to strangers. Strangers are bad. Strangers will hurt you. Strangers have negative associations. Yet we are all strangers to other people.
For those that celebrate Thanksgiving, have a Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow! Come join the Music Think Tank Networking party.
Feel free to comment and introduce yourself and network with others in the Music Think Tank community.
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Every now and then, I go on an open mic binge and discover new little spots and new artists honing their craft. There was this one girl who was absolutely amazing. I told her what I did and she started asking questions. Our conversation came around to how one can get the right exposure and further their career. I shared with her a lot of things, but one of them was about reaching out to industry insiders and building a professional network that will help propel her career forward. It’s not enough to play live. You have to also work hard at building your professional network in the music industry. Finding contact info is easy. There are directories and registries out there you can buy. However, there are some realities concerning industry people that you have to understand before you reach out to them. Or else, you’ll only annoy and alienate them. Here are those realities.
Most musicians or artists think of only one or two aspects of their career; music and social networking. I find that most musicians just go through the motions not really giving it their all especially when it comes to social networking. In order to improve your skills as a musician, get more gigs and make more money you have to think outside of the box. Improvisation is a key asset to your bag of tricks and can pay you back ten fold. If you always practice what you know you will never learn anything new or improve your craft and skill set. Trying new things out and getting out of your comfort zone forces you to expand your mind with the side effect being some potential hit tunes on your hand. More importantly it will help you to bridge out of your genre of music, once you get good, and allow you to diversify your income potential by taking on other projects or gigs. This article however is not about making better music or writing hit records, it’s about doing simple steps with social networking, like improvisation, that will pay off in the future.
Humans have the amazing gift of dreaming. It allows us to imagine things that are absolutely crazy, and completely out of our reach. Like flying, staying hours under water – or world domination. That’s what we do. Ambition is a great source of energy. Being able to dream big will give you guts and make smaller dreams feel much more attainable. Ambition will make you creative and more resourceful. Dreams are only dreams until you write them down. Then they become your goals. – Anonymous The difference between a dream and a goal is just a question of attitude. Dreams are by definition something that’s out of reach. A goal is something that you plan and work towards. If you start treating your dreams as your goals, then you have already taken the first step towards making them come true.
Social media gives you the opportunity to create genuine relationships with the members of your growing fan base, helping to create more super fans and ultimately working to strengthen your fan base as a whole.
At first, this is the best possible situation: as you grow, your fans will demand more attention and more access from you, and thanks to social media, you can now supply them with it. And again, thanks to the level of transparency that social media offers, the experience of the artist/ fan relationship is more authentic and personal than ever before.
And this is all good. Both you and your fan are happy. You continue to grow and your fan continues to gain more access and attention in return for support.
But as you and your fans go down this path together, you will inevitably run into the situation where you couldn’t possibly continue to manage all of the existing relationships that you’ve formed with your fans. No one can. Sorry.
For most of the past few weeks, I’ve been offline more than online. And those moments I’ve been online, I’ve been working exclusively on client projects instead of mixing in networking and promotion.
I’m not intentionally becoming a social media hermit, though. It seems that Lori and I move about once every two years, on average. And every time we move, it takes us time to get caught back up with our online relationships while we focus on the very physical activity of creating the latest version of our ideal home. (Lori will accurately tell you that she does about 90% of the packing and unpacking, while my very focused contribution to the move included dealing with all the trash at the old house and guarding the moving van while our crew was unloading at the new condo.)
Does that mean I haven’t been building my network during that time? Absolutely not. I’m still meeting new people, but I’m doing it in person: in elevators, in the coffee shop, on the train. Chances are, a few of the folks I met during my “offline mode” will end up being far more valuable members of my network than if I had picked up 100 extra followers.
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(Updated November 2, 2013)