How to get into the music industry without contacts or experience
It’s common knowledge that having more contacts and experience is a much better starting point when you’re trying to break into the music industry. Without knowing the right people, it is much more difficult to have access to the very best opportunities, the kind of opportunities that can propel your career to the next level. The problem a lot of artists face is that they simply resign themselves to not having the right contacts, rather than going and hunting out some beneficial relationships. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to break into the music industry and make the right contacts.
What can you offer?
Firstly, think about what you have to offer. Sure, you may have music production nailed, but what other talents can you offer? Can you write, can you design logos, are you a social media whiz kid? All of these talents are incredibly useful if you’re trying to build relationships with people. While finding a ‘normal job’ may be as simple as filling out an application and sending it off, breaking into the music industry has never been simple, and often relies on your willingness to work hard.
In order to build a strong relationship with people in the industry, you may need to give up a lot of your time. Ultimately, a lot of the music industry is built upon favours. You might take the time to design a logo for a producer and down the line, they might invite you to collaborate with them on a track. Make sure not to be taken advantage of, but understand that you will have to give your time and expertise to others in order to start building a mutually beneficial relationship. If you’re a good writer, you could start by applying to work at a smaller dance music blog. Work hard and you will naturally encounter a lot of industry professionals that may prove beneficial to your career down the line.
Find your niche
Choose a sub-genre that you want to make a name for yourself through and try to connect with key figures in that particular sector of dance music. For example, if you’re passionate about progressive house, focus on connecting with key influencers in that genre. If you’re planning to use your writing to gain contacts, try and work for a niche blog that focuses on your sub-genre. If you plan to design logos, find an upcoming artist in your sub-genre who is looking for a logo revamp and offer your services. This will help you start to build up a great core selection of contacts that will help you build your career from the ground upwards.
People often overlook unpaid internships due to hunger for income. The fact is that often internships can provide something of much more value, connections, experience and knowledge. If money is a big issue, find an internship that you can do while employed. Alternatively, work a ‘regular’ job to amass enough funds to take time off for your internship. Even though working for free is unfathomable for a lot of people, if you’re trying to break into the music industry it is essential to do everything in your power, including working for free when starting out. Never underestimate the power of gaining worthwhile contacts through an internship. An internship may also be the road to a paid position within the same company. You may want to intern with a PR company, a media outlet, or a marketing agency.
Working as a freelancer
Another way to make connections is by offering your work as a freelancer. Whether you offer writing, design or PR, working as a freelancer is a great way to build up a database of contacts and prove that you are a reliable individual. Freelancing is also a great way to earn money to invest back into your career buying software and plugins.
Keep in touch
Ultimately, many artists crush their own dreams by thinking that their career is doomed through lack of contacts. The fact is, nobody starts off with a full database of connections. These relationships must be built over time and reinforced constantly. You can’t have one conversation with someone and expect them to remember you three years later, especially if they’re someone prominent in the industry. Make sure not to lose contacts you’ve gained by lack of communication, the key is to keep in touch and keep that person updated on your career. A great way to do this is to ask the person if they’re happy for you to add them on Facebook or LinkedIn, this way they will also see all of your updates. This comes across a lot more naturally than sending someone regular messages telling them what you’re doing.
With all aspects of the industry, don’t let lack of confidence hold you back from searching out connections and furthering your career. The simplest way to connect with people is to have something to offer them personally. Even though your focus will always be making music, making a track and sending it to someone is not something that they will find beneficial. Instead, do them a quick favour and help them out, that way you’ll soon find that they will be willing to listen to your music and provide feedback. They may even be able to provide you with an exciting opportunity that you would not have received otherwise.