Shaun Letang: If you’re still new to networking in the music industry and want to know how to get started with this process, you’re in luck. I’ve managed to secure an exclusive guide on the subject from Jonathan Bond, a marketing assistant over at www.musicgateway.net. He gives some good tips for getting started with networking, so give it a read, apply what you learn, and share this guide if it’s useful.
Jonathan Bond: The music industry is a very ‘who you know’ industry. If you want to succeed in it you’re going to have to make connections! It’s about making yourself known and working with the right people that will progress your musical career further than you could by yourself.
So you’re an artist or in a band and that one question is playing in your mind; how do I approach networking?
This may seem like a daunting and scary task that only the professionally business minded individuals excel at. Not true. Anyone can network and it doesn’t have to be done with suits and cigars either. Below I’ll give you some tips for getting started at networking in the music business.
Using Business Cards And Reaching Your Networking Target
Firstly, always have a business card on you. You never know who you might meet on a night out / gig / high street, so be prepared! Alternatively, if they don’t randomly appear in front of you, it’s up to you to know where to find them, just without being too persistent. This brings me to my next point; how to find and approach your chosen target.
Now this depends entirely on who you’re aiming to contact. Are they an industry professional, or are they another artist or band? You also need to ask yourself where they hang out, or where they’re next expected to gig at? Now I’m not asking you to be a stalker, just simply know where to find them and be at that place too. This will give you the opportunity to network with them, as face to face contact is often the most effective.
That said, do keep it reasonable. Don’t knock at their house or bombard them at their favorite bar for example.
If they’re a manager, it’s a good idea to find out where they’re speaking next, or go a show of one of the bands they manage (they may be at one of their larger shows!). You may also find them at networking events.
Depending on the location, networking should be approached in a sociable or formal way. Say you’re at a gig, you may just casually come up to the manager and compliment him on how good the band is and socialize with them a bit about music. Maybe buy them a drink. As the night progresses, mention what you do and that you’re an artist quite similar to his other acts (but with a different edge obviously!) and you’re looking to take yourself to the next level. Don’t ask straight away to be considered for a demo, as they may offer first (making them think it was their idea is always worth a shot). If they don’t ask to check your music out however, give them a business card with your various online links. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, a CD with a short biography about yourself.
Being More Upfront At Networking Events
Now on the flip side of the coin, if you’re at a event specifically aimed at networking, then its best to be straight to the point. Do your research and work out a convincing 30 second pitch to grab their attention; they will be busy and they will have people they want to meet as well.
Be convincing, confident and say why you would be right for them. What USP do you have over those who they already manage? And how would you complement their existing roster of artists?
They are there to do business, so still be inviting and have a positive attitude. That said, you don’t have to worry as much about being social. Get to the point quickly and show them why you deserve their time. Unless you’re at an ‘after party’ from the networking event, which in that instance take a similar approach to the gig scenario.
Networking With Other Bands And Artists
Another point to consider is networking with other artist and bands. As well as the usual collaboration route, there is another way.
Cross-promotion is great to boost your online presence through the recommendation of another band / artist and reach out to their fan base. They may also have some useful contacts such as venue promoters, which could help you get those bigger gig slots. Or they might be able to put you in touch with that brilliant and well priced producer that they know.
Now a great way to approach this, rather than ask them to promote you or to steal all their contacts, is to see what you can do for them.
If you help other musicians out, they’ll be more likely to help you back – Tweet This
This is the best way to approach a band as they will always be looking for help or promotion. Here’s what you want to do:
You ultimately want to become friends with that band and show them why you are such an awesome person to hang out with and to be associated with. This may be as simple as giving shout-outs to the band on stage, or posting links to their music through your various social media platforms. This way they will be more likely to mention you to their fans, either because they generally like you and your music, or because they are simply returning the favor. Either way you will benefit from increased exposure.
A different approach to this is asking the band if they’d be willing to be interviewed by you, either for a blog post or for your personal YouTube Channel. This is a great way to give them some extra press, and in return they’ll give you exposure as they share the interview you do with them. Have the title of the interview something like “Your Band” Interviews “External Band”. Make sure that as well as exposing the guest band in the interview, that your links are easy to find in the description as well. It will be shared on their social media and you want to make sure their fans know how to check you out if they so wish. A good idea is to also include a clip of your song in the opening credits.
Wrapping It Up
Networking is all about knowing the best way to approach the individual you wish to know. Be clever about it and research fully into that individual so you know exactly what to speak to them about (or what not to speak about). See what you can offer them. Afterall, why should they help you if you are of no benefit to them?
Find your edge and use it in the best way you can. Don’t give up either. Persistence, within reason, can work. You might not be what that individual is looking for right now, but who’s to say you won’t be a more attractive option to them a few months down the line once your band or solo career is at a higher level? Remember, they are only protecting themselves in this industry and they must fully believe that working or being associated with you will pay off for them.
If you can master it, and there’s no reason why you can’t, networking can be very beneficial and will become a natural part of your life. It will help you in your musical career and with your life in general.
So now you’re feeling confident and have the knowledge, go and get networking!
Marketing Assistant at www.musicgateway.net.