Networking is a very important ingredient for the success of any musician. Who you know will have a major impact on how far you go in your career. It is therefore very important to make an effort to connect with the right people. However, many musicians think of networking as a daunting task that can only be accomplished by professionals. This is not true. With a little preparation, anyone can learn how to network effectively and make valuable contacts.
Here are some guidelines for effective networking in the music industry:
1. Network with other musicians
Networking with other artists and bands is beneficial for various reasons. First, they might be able to connect you with a good and affordable producer that they have worked with. They might also have contacts with promoters, choreographers, photographers, stylists or music executives who could take your career to the next level. Above all, an established artist or band could give you an endorsement which will boost your reputation.
However, when networking with other musicians, don’t rush into asking for contacts or a recommendation. Instead, take time to build a friendship and be ready to offer help. Mention them to your fans occasionally on social media and share links to their music. This will increase the chances of them mentioning you to their fans, thus creating more exposure for your music. If you have a blog, ask the artist or band if they are willing to be interviewed. When the interview is published, they are likely to share it with their fans, thus attracting additional traffic to your blog.
2. Take advantage of networking sites for musicians
It is not always possible to network with people on a one-to-one basis. The good news is that there are numerous networking sites for musicians out there which you can take advantage of. This includes SoundCloud, ReverbNation, FanBridge, Spotify and Ourwave. Most of these sites allow you to upload your music for free, connect with other artists in your genre, link up with music executives, share information about your gigs, and receive feedback from your fans. Other forums which can be very effective for networking are social sites like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Myspace.
3. Be in the right place at the right time
To network effectively, you need to hang out at the right places. Look for functions and events where you are most likely to meet the people you are targeting. Meeting your networking targets face to face can be very effective. However, preparation is very important for your success in such situations. Take time to research about the individual first before approaching them. This way, you will know what to say and what not to say. Always remember to carry your business cards wherever you go. You never know when you might bump into the artist or industry professional you have always wanted to meet. It would also be advisable to carry a demo CD with a short biography.
4. Be real
To succeed in networking, all you need to do is relax and be yourself. Don’t pretend to be something you are not in order to impress the people you are interacting with. This could only end up driving them away. If you don’t know something, ask. No one will penalize you for your desire to learn about something. Talk using your natural accent and dress up appropriately for the occasion.
5. Follow up
After networking with people, it would be advisable to follow up. This is why it is important to save contact information and business cards. Follow-ups could be as simple as saying ‘It was nice to meet you’ in an email or via Twitter. When you are referred to someone else, be sure to follow up on that lead immediately. Don’t forget to send a thank you message to the referrer.
Networking can be a very time-consuming and frustrating exercise. However, if you remain persistent, you will eventually enjoy immense benefits.