You’ve probably heard the phrase “it’s who you know” before, especially if you work in the music industry. On one hand, it’s easy to shrug this sentiment off, and on the other, many argue there’s a reason why this is the mantra of so many.
Making connections in any industry is invaluable when it comes to making the next step in your career. For creators — even more so. Not only does networking allow you the opportunity to move forward, it’s also a good way to learn new things from those in your community and make lifelong friends while doing so.
So how do you make and keep meaningful connections? At its core: networking. Love or hate it; sometimes getting out of your comfort zone and talking to people is the best way to communicate your goals and find common ground. This may sound daunting, but remember everyone else in the room is there for the same reason.
As a creator, networking is also a good way to start building your team. Whether you are looking for a publisher, manager, or label, getting the word out can help you meet people who share your vision. Below are some tips on how to network more effectively. You can also download our free networking checklist here.
Finding Networking Events
Tons of music industry events happen across the world. Some of the bigger ones include conferences like SXSW, Reeperbahn, The Great Escape, and A3C, but there are also smaller ones within your own community. Do some research online to see whether there are any local networking opportunities or groups in your area. Also look at events that music industry trade organizations like your home collection society are attending or sponsoring.
Try to avoid one-sided conversations. You don’t want to be the one doing all of the talking or just standing there nodding along to what other people say. Think about thoughtful questions to spark a stimulating conversation. Remember that every connection is a symbiotic relationship; you should be able to provide just as much value to them as you hope they might provide for you.
Avoid Spending Time on Your Phone
You want to look like you’re open and available to chat. Don’t use the time to check your Instagram feed or Spotify for Artists page — you came here for a reason. You might just be looking at your phone to calm your nerves, but some people might assume you’re too busy to talk. Unless it is really urgent, try to leave your phone in your bag or pocket.
Perfect Your “Elevator Pitch”
This is a quick introduction of yourself — what you do, and what your goals are. You should be able to explain this in a clear and concise manner, in the time it would take for an elevator ride (about 30 seconds). You can also include what makes your music unique or artists that you draw influences from. Then ask them questions.
Leave a Reminder
You want to leave them with a way for them to remember and get in touch with you. In many industries, this is done through business cards. If you decide to go this route, it’s a good idea to have them professionally printed. Keep the look of the card in line with your artist branding, such as your album artwork and social media pages. Make sure all your contact information is easily readable and visible so that you are easy to reach after the event. But, you don’t need to have business cards to accomplish the same goal; you can also ask people you meet if they have a card or would type their email address, social media account, or phone number into your phone or write it in a notebook.
You went out there and met a lot of interesting and helpful people. Leaving conversations where they left off without follow-up means potentially losing out on any future help. After meeting new contacts, drop them a short email to say that it was nice to meet them. You can also use this as an opportunity to follow up on anything discussed face to face and arrange any necessary follow-up calls or meetings.
In reality, networking is all around us; even speaking to people at one of your live shows is making a connection. Remember, most importantly, to enjoy meeting new people, build relationships, and look forward to the long-lasting connections you make throughout your music career.
Check out our webinar on Building Meaningful Connections: Networking in the Music Industry for more information and resources.