The music industry is heavily based on who you know and what kinds of connections you are able to make. This means lots of networking! Networking can seem like an intimidating task, but it doesn’t have to be! Start with small steps, and you will be an expert with a solid network in no time!
Go to Music Industry Events
In order to create a network, you must actively put yourself into situations where you will meet people. A great place to look for network connections is at industry events where you know there will be a large concentration of industry professionals. These events can be conferences, musician meet-ups, trade shows, and so many more.
If meeting new people is intimidating to you, start with smaller events and set yourself a small goal of meeting three new people, for example. Once that seems easy to you, raise your goal and slowly work your way up to larger events and meeting lots of new people at each event you attend.
Do Your Research
Before attending these events or reaching out to people, do some background research. In networking, confidence is key, so doing a little bit of homework beforehand will help you conquer the room. Look into who will be attending the event so you can determine who you want to make an effort to introduce yourself to. Once you have decided who you want to talk to, do some research on them and their career so you have a clear understanding of what they do and what they have worked on. Having this prepared will help you sound more knowledgeable when you are talking to these industry professionals and will also act as great conversation starters!
Practice Your Pitch
If you are networking with the intention of meeting potential business partners or employers, you do not only want to talk about them though, you want to let them know what you are working on and what you have to offer! Before going to each event, make sure you are prepared to talk about your current projects. You don’t want to sound scripted, but you should practice so that you can talk about what you do in a clear and concise way. Be proud of what you have worked on, without bragging!
Maintain Your Network
After meeting someone at an event, make sure you follow up. This can be as simple as an email the next day letting them know you enjoyed talking to them last night and you hope you can stay in touch.
After this, maintain the connection. This can be done through periodic emails, likes or comments on social media, or anything else that will remind that person that you exist and remind them of the connection you made at that event. It may take time before the connection turns into anything that will directly benefit you professionally, but fostering as many connections as you can will increase your chances of making it in the industry and landing your dream job!
Differences Between Networking in a Small City and Networking in a Big City
If you are living in a small city, you may feel as though there are fewer opportunities for you because there are no industry events hosted in your city and there are very few industry professionals in your area. This does not mean networking is impossible though!
You may not be able to attend big events in person, but you can still reach out to people online. Almost all industry professionals have their contact information available on their company’s website. It can be harder to make genuine connections online than it is in person, but if you keep in contact enough it is definitely possible.
When living in a large city with a large concentration of industry events and professionals, it can feel overwhelming and almost as though it will be impossible to make yourself stand out among all those people who want the same thing as you. Instead of getting down, use this concentration of people to your advantage. Build new friendships and create mutually beneficial business deals with other industry professionals. Be genuine in your connections and business dealings and you will eventually begin to build a reputation for yourself in the industry, despite the huge number of people around you.
No matter where you are, it is possible to build a strong network of professional connections. If you put yourself out there, make genuine connections, and do your research, you will be able to find people who can connect you to the right opportunities and people to advance your career in music!