One of the most important skill required by musicians is networking.
From meeting new people who could later collaborate on a future project to people who could later help you in your music career, the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” never gets old in the music business.
Networking has been a huge part of my career, and it is what I attribute a big portion of what I am today. The more I set time aside to talk to people, discover more about them and learn about their crafts, the more my music developed and this is why I want to reinforce the importance of it. In today’s post, we’ll talk about:
- What Is Networking in the Music Industry?
- What Can You Gain From Networking?
- Key Points to Networking
- Key Attention Points
Let’s dive in!
What Is Networking in the Music Industry?
Networking is the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Illustrating it a bit, given that you make GREAT music, you’ll need to find peers in the music industry to support and help you grow, people to support your tracks, people to help you grow your music. Developing all these connections is NETWORKING.
What Can You Gain From Networking?
EDMProd’s host Sam Matla points out three major benefits of networking on episode 53 of his podcast: Growth, Support, Opportunities:
Growth: By exposing yourself, as a person and as a musician, you’ll meet people that will inspire you to self develop. It could be because you teamed up with someone bigger than you to collaborate on a track which pushed you to develop your skills, or because the other person is so good that he/she inspired you to get better.
I like to listen to other people’s unreleased tracks, ideas, etc and talk to A LOT of producers. This not only helps me create better ideas myself, but also gives me the opportunity to collaborate with amazing producers that probably wouldn’t have shared their stuff with me if it wasn’t for me asking them.
Support: Your connections can not only help you grow technically, but they can make your personal marketing grow as well. Blog writers, podcast owners, label A&Rs, the more people you know the better. These connections can help you by posting about you, supporting your track on podcasts, and showing your songs to other people.
However, you need to develop and nurture these connections not only when you have something to release. It’s good to actually become friends with them and then, when you need them, they’ll gladly help you out. This starts by showing interest in their lives as people, not only as professionals, but as people.
Opportunities: In 2012, a friend of a friend reached out to me saying he wanted to learn djing. At that time, I wasn’t so happy to help and I could have easily ignored him since he did not offer any short-term benefits technically or support wise, but I helped him anyway.
Later, he started to grow as an artist and became a resident at one of the biggest clubs in São Paulo. Then, he introduced me to the owner of a club, who later hired me as a resident dj along with my friend.
This has happened to me many times and it’s the main reason I help everyone expecting nothing in exchange. Those who help are the first ones to be remembered.
Key Points to Networking
Be genuinely interested in their lives: This is the single and greatest tip I can give you when networking, which came from How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Networking is not about you showing what you’ve done, it’s about them. What did they do, what are they working on? When you show interest in other people’s lives, you create a two-way street relationship, instead of a selfish one-way relationship. This is actually what friendship is all about.
Ego is the enemy: A book by Ryan Holiday, ego creates an illusion that you’re superior to others or you have nothing to gain from others. With this mindset, you’re being arrogant and are probably setting yourself up for failure in the future. Be humble and have in your mind that EVERYONE can teach you a lesson.
Focus on giving: After reading the book The Go-Giver, I realised how much of networking is actually just giving. During the book he explains how a sales rep transformed his life just by changing his approach to networking. Instead of talking to someone with something that you can take from him, talk with him thinking how you can help him.
Personal experience again, I help people because I like the feeling of helping and it’s a way of giving back what I’ve received in the past. I don’t think about how much I can receive; I do it to fulfill a task I feel I have to do, and that’s enough for me. However, it is impressive how much I’ve received from giving so much.
Add value: Relationships are based on the value that person brings to your life or business, honestly saying. Therefore, think about how you can add value to their lives first, not yours. This way, you’ll show yourself as resourceful and someone who’s not only looking to sell something or suck the energy out of someone. By doing this, you’re thinking about the other person first and, thus, making them feel important and needed, which is a feeling everyone enjoys once in a while.
90% of life is showing up: I can’t stress enough how important it is to meet someone in person and that’s why conventions are still valuable. The amount of like-minded people in an electronic music convention, or masterclass community is so vast that you can make a lot of connections in these places.
Key Attention Points
You won’t be friends with everyone: As with everything in life, you won’t be able to be liked by everyone. There will be people that even though you tried to genuinely help them, they thought you were rude or overly aggressive. It happens and just take into account that it will probably happen to you as well.
Sometimes, people are just busy: You try to reach someone, they answer once, but never again. This can happen due to various reasons, and most likely is that the person is busy and can’t answer you now. Be sure to follow up once or twice and if they still don’t answer, move on.
Personalize your contacts: Understand the likes and dislikes of your contacts. The more in sync you can be with that person the better since it will flow better. The more personal your conversation, the more they will enjoy talking to you. So, make sure to treat them as people, not as contacts.
The more you network and the more you develop your connections, the better your opportunities will be in the future. Networking isn’t simply saying “hey” and checking in once in a while.
It is making a difference in his/her life and being constructive to make him/her become a better person. It is being a friend and acting selflessly for the best of the other, not for your own sake. The more you do it, the more people you know, the more opportunities of growth and development you’ll be exposed to, which will help you grow as a person, musician, business, etc.
Have you ever helped someone, not expecting anything in return, and got an opportunity from that person that turned out to be amazing? Tell me more about it in the comments below: