How to Work With Music Industry Contacts
May 23, 2013
Simon Tam in A&R, Advice, Band Marketing, Booking Agents, Breaking into the industry, Business, DIY, DIY Artist, DIY Promotions, Endorsements, Information, Labels, Marketing, Marketing 101, Marketing with LinkedIn, Music 3.0, Music Business Jobs, Music Business Plan, Music Conference, Music Industry, Music Industry, awesome indie music, booking, booking agents, careers, collaboration, contacts, endorsements, independent music, indie musician motivation, managers, music , music business, music business, music festivals, music marketing, music production, music promotion, publicists, pull marketing, record labels, song pitching, sponsors, value

It’s no secret that often in the world music, it’s more about “who you know” than what you know. The industry generally favors pre-existing relationships, whether you are looking for a venue, a sponsor, a review on your new album, or a slot at SXSW. Like it or not, networking can make or break an act.

Focus on taking a few steps closer to your goal by working on your contacts a few minutes each day. Here are some of my favorite tips on networking:

For “cold sales calls,” I highly recommend books on sales, especially by Jeffrey Gitomer, Jeffrey Fox, and Dale Carnegie.

There are two things you can do by dedicating 15-20 minutes per day:

Activity 1:

Create a networking strategy. You can use a spreadsheet, a notebook, email/contact management system, or whatever system you are most comfortable with. Start with:

  1. Your Goals: Who are the people you want to get in touch with and why. What industries are they in? What do you hope to gain out of a relationship with them? Organize these contacts in categories (Managers, record labels, promoters, media, sponsors, etc.).

  2. Degrees of Separation: Who do you know who might have get you one degree closer to the contact? This is where sites like Linkedin are exceptionally useful. Don’t worry if you don’t have a line of contact for each person, just start with who you know.

  3. Add Contact Information: Include their basic contact information as well as any public social media accounts that they might use, such as Twitter.

  4. Value Proposition: List what they are interested in, what you can do to bring value to them. Can you help market their product/service? Create a partnership? Expand their roster?

  5. Contact Plan: Keep a track record of when/how you contact them. Treat this like a sales call sheet. There are many templates available online for this.

  6. Timeline: Group together contacts and create a regular schedule on when you’ll reach out to new contacts and build up existing relationships. It doesn’t take much, consistency goes a long way!

Activity 2:

Build “pull” marketing strategies. Sometimes the best way to make new contacts is to give them a reason to contact you. In other words, find ways to make them take the initiative. There are a couple of ways to do this online:

Draw Them In: Think of other ways that your target contacts will discover you. What interests them? What kind of websites or trade journals do they visit and read? Who do they know that could make that introduction? Some research can save you a lot of time and make your efforts much more effective.

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Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at www.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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