How to successfully network your way to success
One of the key components to succeeding as a producer these days is your ability to network. Making connections can help you unlock doors that your music sometimes cannot, and by having friends in high places, your name will soon spread through the industry. Getting to know other producers and people in the same line of work is essential not only for learning purposes (feedback) but also for promotional benefits. If you’re planning on securing festival spots, it’s important to not ‘bother people’, but most people won’t shove you away – just try not to constantly spam them.
Change Your Mindset
The main reason that most people get rejected, ignored, or moved aside when trying to either converse or build a connection with someone is that they have the wrong mindset. If your mentality is that you should be the one benefiting, straight away then you’re already in a bad place. Rather, the better mindset to have is one of giving rather than receiving: “How can I help them?” Don’t start talking to someone as if you’re entitled to something, but rather, show interest in what they’re doing. This is especially important if you’re talking to someone of higher skill or profile than you. You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people to be interested in you.
Don’t aim for quantity
It’s not hard to go out and add every single producer on Facebook, but what’s the point? Are you adding them in hopes that they’ll send you a message? Or hoping that they’ll share your track when you post a link on Facebook? It doesn’t work like that. There’s nothing inherently wrong with adding producers you don’t know on Facebook but try to make an effort to actually talk to them. Make small talk, have a laugh. You’re better off building a good relationship with 3 producers rather than a non-existent relationship with 20 producers.
Work on your brand
If you’re trying to connect with more well-known producers in your scene, then it’s important to keep in mind that they probably have a lot of people trying to do the same thing. What’s different about you? Do you make a great initial impression? Are you passionate? What do you represent? Act excited, but not arrogant. Be original, but not hipster.
Offer value: Help first
This ties into the first tip quite nicely. The best way to build a good relationship with someone is to offer them value. They’re more likely to give a damn about you if you actually help them in one way or another. There’s no denying that humans are somewhat selfish beings at the depth of it all, so why not take advantage of that? What does help look like? It could be anything from voting for their track in a remix contest, sharing a link on Facebook, buying their track on Beatport – you know the drill. Let them know how much you appreciate their work. A simple message such as, “Love your latest release! Went ahead and purchased it as well as shared the link on my page.” More often than not, you’ll get a simple thank you message back. It’s a great way to leave a good impression and really hit the ‘appreciation’ side of said person.
Don’t rely on internet connections
AKA leave the house and embrace the art of human conversation. Talking to someone is more powerful than exchanging text via bits of data over the internet. There’s no denying that. While internet connections are vital, it’s good to get out and actually meet people. Make an effort, even if it involves a bit of travel. Obviously, if you’re meeting someone in person, apply the above tips. It’s more difficult to spam SoundCloud links when talking face-to-face with someone.
How to identify the right people to connect with
You have to leave room for spontaneity. If your plan is too rigid, you’ll lose out on opportunities. You won’t be open to meeting new people who perhaps weren’t on your radar. With that said, it helps to have a plan. It helps to have a list of people in mind who you want to connect with. People who help you get to where you want to be (and that you can help in return). In order to find the right people, you need to get clear on three things: your goals, what’s realistic, and who you like. What are you trying to accomplish within the next 6-12 months? If you’re trying to book a world tour, then connecting with booking agents, industry people and influencers is a good strategy. But if you’re just starting out, then trying to connect with agents and influencers so you can learn all about what it takes to tour the world? Not the best move. It’s not relevant right now. Instead, you’d want to connect with more experienced artists who can help guide you down the right path. Artists are busy. Artists get pitched all the time. Artists can’t be friends with everyone. And industry people? Managers, PR agents, booking agents? They’re just as busy (if not more so). Be realistic and don’t be afraid to start small. Connect with people one or two rungs above you. You can still offer them value, they can offer you value, and your efforts will pay off.
We all know building relationships are important not only in the music production scene but also life in general. Following these tips will provide benefit in one way or another, it’s inevitable. So, work on your mindset, focus on building quality friendships, be unique, offer value, and meet people.