How to build your network in the music industry?
Before jumping into networking, we need to be on the same page on this - you need either music content or a solid fan base before pursuing a connection in the music industry. Networking in the music industry is only effective when you’re in a certain stage of your career; to be more precise, the stage where you can provide value to the record labels.
As a result, if you are not at this stage yet, you can read our article that helps you to step up your music game by growing your fanbase using music promotion.
The objective for networking
With every strategy, there’s an objective in need before any action gets taken. Similarly, you need to be aware of what kinds of objectives you want to achieve through networking in the music industry. Even when the networking’s objectives can be varied, a record label deal is an ultimate goal for any upcoming artist. Hence, most musicians aim to attain a record label deal after their effort of networking.
Even though it seems intimidating to set out a huge goal like “signing a record deal” at first, think of the objective more as guidance for your networking journey. You don’t want to step into a room full of A&R representatives and just awkwardly staring at them and hoping they will sign you as their next big upcoming artist. With a solid goal in mind, you can then proactively pursue a contact in the music industry.
The music industry’s structure for newbies
To easily break it down for you, the traditional structure of the music industry can be divided into three opponents:
Production - composing, producing, and recording your music
Marketing & Promotion - creating visibility and awareness for your music to the market
Distribution - making your music accessible to platforms like Spotify, CD shops, ...
Traditionally, you would only stand in the production part as the record label will handle the rest.
Even though you can still publish your music and get it promoted without the help of a record label, navigating through your career that way will be difficult.
Thus, how do you exactly approach a record label? Normally, an A&R representative would approach you if they see the big star’s potential in you. Nevertheless, with the number of upcoming artists increasing every day, it is your turn to approach them using the right materials for the perfect first self-introduction.
The materials for a successful self-introduction
People always say the more you prepare, the luckier you get. Thus, for a successful self-introduction as a musician, you have to prepare to showcase not only your music but also your identity. Here are the main ones for a great self-introduction: a strong media presence, an elevator pitch, an electronic press kit, and a reach-out email.
Social Media Presence
Before even approaching anyone in the music industry, you should take your time in building a social media presence. Nowadays, most young and prominent artists get discovered through TikTok, Youtube, Soundcloud, etc. Instead of a business card, social media platforms have become artists’ new business cards.
People can find and contact you through your social media accounts. Thus, it is vital to make it effectively reflect your musician’s identity as well as your music. If you want to improve your social media game, you can read our article on how to promote you and your music online.
Normally, when we talk about an elevator pitch, we would imagine ourselves in a career fair and trying to introduce ourselves in a way that would appeal to the employers. Similarly, an elevator pitch works the same in the music industry’s context. The goal here is to introduce and explain yourself in a way that accurately reflects your music and identity.
It takes some practice for you to fully master the art of an elevator pitch but in all circumstances, you should limit your pitch to under 30 seconds. Also, you have to make the pitch conversational - as in people can converse after your introduction - and don’t make it too robotic.
Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
Similar to an elevator pitch, an electronic press kit is also a pitch but in a visual form that you can send to people in the industry. A solid EPK can help you from booking gigs to raising your brand awareness toward the key players in the industry (booking agents, music bloggers, talent buyers, etc).
In the long run, EPK is an essential part of your music career. In an EPK, you typically include your biography, photos, recent releases, past shows, and contact information. Lucky for you, we do have an article that covers how to build an EPK.
After you finish gathering the right materials that effectively describe yourself, it’s time to use these materials through reach-out emails. With reach-out email, never go for cold emails or use a straight-out template. You should always go for personalized emails that highlight your understanding of their works and why you can be the right fit for them.
Although an email template can be useful, you should only use it for guidance rather than sending it without major edits and inputs. To find their email address, you can use LinkedIn to find most industry professionals.
Through a reach-out email, you can send your EPK and your music demo so that the A&R representatives or the booking agents have a better idea of who you are. At the end of the day, you are still a stranger sending an email out of the blue. Thus, you must make it as personalized as possible.
The platforms for networking
There are many platforms that you can use to reach out and meet people in the music industry. But here are the three most common ones: networking events, concerts or clubs, and networking platforms.
With attending networking events, the great first step you can take is becoming familiar and proactive with your local music community. You can start by attending nearby workshops/conferences that your community hosts. Through the events, you can talk face to face to other musicians and get to know more about their networks which eventually can become your networks if you guys click.
Besides musician networking, you can also meet booking agents or even an A&R representative there. Thus, with this method, you need to have your materials (EPK and elevator pitch) ready. The networking opportunities during these events are endless as you will be talking to people that might bring new business opportunities for you.
Performing at concerts/clubs allows you to earn money and meet new people in the industry. Most of the time, concerts and clubs are the places where A&R representatives hunt for their next big star. You can also promote your music this way as you're playing it to a new group audience.
There are almost no cons to this method. However, to get booked, you need to have your EPK and song demo ready for booking agents or club owners. Moreover, you will also need a well-prepared pitch to demonstrate how your music fits their vibe and style.
For networking platforms like Groover, it is easy to set up your account and begin your networking journey. After setting up your account, the platform will open you up to network to 1485 curators, radios, and music professionals in the music industry. Similar to other methods, you also need to have your song’s pitch ready to send out to your contacts.
Besides networking, it is also important to continuously engage with your fans and reach new audiences since there is no greater marketing strategy than word-of-mouth. At Base for Music, we help you reach your first record deal fast by helping you with running ads. By generating sponsored campaigns across social networks (Facebook, TikTok, Youtube, and Spotify), your music gets heard by a new group of audience every day - one of them might be your future A&R representative.
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