From Dotted Music:
There is no denying that whether you are a band, singer or an individual musician, you need the help of other people to have a successful music career. It doesn’t matter if you can play every instrument, sing all of the vocal parts and make great recordings all by yourself in your own studio. You still need fans to buy your music, people to book you, people to show up at your gigs, and maybe people to help with the business and legal sides of your business.
Where do you meet people? Everywhere! Here are some quick guidelines for effective networking, compiled by Indie Connect Magazine:
Always be in networking mode. Be prepared to meet people who might be able to help you everywhere you go. You never know who you are going to meet or who they might know. Also, be aware that many times influential people won’t reveal who they really are until after they have gotten to know you. I know one person who got major label cuts because they sat next to the grandmother of someone in the band in a diner!
Show Up. Put yourself in a position where you are always meeting people who might be influential in your career. Go to music industry networking events, join industry organizations, eat at the restaurants they eat at. Go to jam sessions, showcases and songwriter nights. Put yourself in the way of opportunity! You never know when you will have the chance to meet and/or help someone who can also help you, either now or down the road.
No Gherming: Gherming is the Nashville term for seeing someone influential and throwing your CD or song demo in their face. There is a time and a place when politely asking if someone would be willing to listen to your music is appropriate. In an office, at a convention or at an industry networking event are examples of places that are appropriate. Interrupting someone while they are in a social setting such as a restaurant is usually not. Respect people’s privacy.
Niche market your networking. Whenever possible, go to where the people you want to meet congregate. For example, you can meet people from all aspects of the music industry at Indie Connect meetings. You can meet potential co-writers and publishers at NSAI or other songwriter group meetings. You can meet college buyers at a NACA convention, and fair directors at one of the many fair conventions around the country.
Give before you receive. Also ask how you can help the other person before asking for anything for yourself. Have a ‘servant’s heart.’ It immediately erases any thoughts that you care only about yourself.
Tell your prospect exactly how you can help them. If you know that you can help someone, let him or her know. Make that all-important connection for them (if appropriate and if you are comfortable with it), give them accurate advice, tell them about helpful books or online resources etc. If you can help them in the future, offer that as well. You will get a reputation as a giver.
Professionally ask for what you really need. If you have offered to help the other person first, chances are they will want to help you. Be honest, realistic and specific. ‘I just need a big break’ is not specific. “I am good at writing melodies, but I need to meet a strong lyricist to co-write with’ is much more specific and realistic. You can still be professional and not come across as greedy. Everyone loves to help. Give them the chance to feel good by helping you.
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