How to Make the Right Contacts in the Music Industry
by Tom Hess
You know that making the right music industry connections is a key factor in developing a successful music career. The problem is, most people really don't know 'who' the most valuable music industry contacts are, where to find them, how to actually transform a 'first contact' into a meaningful relationship, what it really means to have the 'right connections', etc. etc.
If I gave you my complete list of music industry connections (key people I have established important relationships with), do you think it would help you develop a successful music career? … NO! Why? Because a mere 'contact' is not worth anything. Contacts need to become meaningful connections. Meaningful connections are developed by building good relationships… More on this later…
However, even if you have good relationships with the right people, this won’t help you until and unless you work on having the right things in place which enables your contacts to feel confident enough to work with you. You can see more about this specific topic in a free video on how to become a professional musician.
So, who are the people you should be contacting? … And when you get through to someone, what do you say to him/her? How can you make these important people pay attention to you if you don’t yet have a ‘name’ in the music business?
Lets explore the first question “Who are the people you should be contacting?” To answer this, you need to ask a series of other questions such as:
- Who are some music industry people who have great influence and power?
- Who are the music industry people who have the greatest number of key relationships with other music industry professionals and companies?
- Among the most important music industry people, who are the easiest to locate in your local area?
- Who are the most accessible music industry people?
- Who are the music industry people who you can help to solve THEIR problems and/or help them to reach their goals?
Is there a single “type” of music industry person or (company) who fits ALL the above criteria? The answer is ‘Yes’. And if you do not have music industry connections, this ‘type of contact’ may be your best place to begin… So, who is this type of person or company? Record company executives? A&R people? Producers? Publishers? Managers? Entertainment Lawyers? Famous bands? No… The answer is “Concert Promoters”.
Serious concert promoters have massive power and influence in the music industry. They are the real entrepreneurs of the music business. They deal with thousands of very important music industry people every year such as: well known bands, record labels, artist management, tour managers, entertainment lawyers, production companies, merchandising departments, the venues, booking agents, radio stations, the press, etc. etc.
If you live near an urban area, you won’t have any trouble finding promoters who live and work locally (use Google). Unlike most other important music industry contacts, promoters are generally accessible and will be willing to talk to anyone who has ‘something real’ to offer them (that’s where you come in).
Generally speaking, concert promoters take on more risk than any other person or entity in the entire music industry. All promoters lose large sums of money every year (because some concerts lose money). The successful promoters make (and keep) more money than they lose throughout the year.
What every promoter wants is a bigger and stronger team of people to help ensure that the concerts/tours they promote make more money! Obviously, it’s expensive to employ a large team of experienced people. However, you can join their team (at least on a part time basis) if you are willing to volunteer, intern, or earn a small salary. You may not yet know anything about promoting tours, but some promotion companies would be eager to train you if it isn’t expensive for them to do so.
Think about it from their perspective. If you were a big time promoter taking on huge risks, wouldn’t you want another person to work for you, for free or for a very low salary? Of course the answer is ‘yes’, even if that person could only work part time.
Many musicians who want a music career are told to intern for a record label. The conventional wisdom is that when you do this, you will learn a lot about the music business. The reality is, most of these interns never get into a position where they can truly learn much at all as an intern. However working for a promoter, your ability to learn how the industry really works (at least on the touring and promotional side) goes way up! In addition, the number of contacts you can make are 200 times more than what you would likely make working at a record label. And compared to record labels, there is a lot less competition for internships or jobs with a promoter.
As excited as you may now feel, knowing that you CAN actually do this…. there is a catch… a big one. In order to have any real chance of pursuing this opportunity and using these contacts to help launch your music career, you must work on having the right things in place which enables your music industry contacts to feel confident enough to work with you. The truth is, nothing in this article will help you until and unless you do take this step. You can see more about this specific topic in a free video on how to become a professional musician.
Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world. Visit tomhess.net to discover highly effective music learning resources, guitar lessons and tools including free online assessments, surveys, mini courses and more.
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