7 Ways to Build Music Business Contacts

This guest blog post was written by Marcus Taylor, founder of The Musician’s Guidea website that helps DIY musicians learn about the insides of the music industry, and download useful resources including music business contracts and contact lists.

We all know that “who you know” and “being in the right place at the right time” play an important role in attaining success as an artist. What we often forget, though, is that we’re the ones responsible for building those connections.

While researching the intricacies of how successful people network for my book last year, my co-writer Rob and I noticed that for two people to meet, they must go through a 3-stage process.

First of all, they must be aligned in the same space at the same time, either geographically (e.g. in the same room) or virtually (e.g. on Twitter). Secondly, they must connect through some form of introduction, and finally they must engage in deeper conversation to create a long-term relationship.

In this post I want to focus on those first two points, and share with you seven tips to help you meet more music business contacts (I’d write a post on how to engage in deeper conversation but I figured you already know how to do that ;)). 

1. Know who you want to meet but remain open to meeting others

The first step to meeting more of the right people is knowing who you’re trying to meet. Are you looking to meet publishers, record label managers, or music venue promoters?

When you know who it is you’re trying to meet, you can start to think about where they spend their time (both geographically and virtually), and what opportunities exist for you to be in the right place and time to meet them. If, for example, your band could really do with a more gigs in New York City, you can begin to identify the places where New York venue promoters hang out online and in the real world.

That said, never be afraid to go off course and meet people who may not seem to bear obvious opportunity right now. They might be of great use to you in the future.

“Build your network before you need it” – Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone 

2. Make an effort to meet other bands & ask for introductions

Let’s say that you did want to meet music venue promoters in New York City. In my experience, one of the best ways to meet venue promoters is to simply turn up to music venues and ask the bands performing to introduce you to the promoter. You may have to prearrange meeting up with the performers before their set, but this approach is incredibly effective as it differs to how most bands approach venue promoters, and the introduction from the performer acts as a recommendation.

If you went to two or three gigs a week you’d be surprised at how quickly you could fill up your gig calendar.

3. Attend music business conferences

When I’ve attended music business conferences in the past, I’ve been surprised by how few bands choose to attend. Sure, the entry fees are generally quite steep, but if you take into account the fact that these events are usually swarming with label managers, publishers, and music promotion companies, it’s almost certainly worth the investment if you’re willing to get out and build those connections.

4. Join local music business Meetups

If you’re not already using Meetup.com to build connections, I thoroughly recommend giving it a shot. In most major cities you’ll find various musician Meetups that offer great networking opportunities. If you can’t find anything nearby, consider creating a music industry Meetup in your area and inviting local music companies to come and share ideas over a coffee or beer.

5. Use Twitter to break the ice

Twitter is one of the most efficient and effective ways to break the ice with music business professionals. Almost every serious record label, booking agent, and music companies will have a presence on Twitter, so it’s a great platform to start building these relationships.

Familiarize yourself with the advanced search operators on search.twitter.com and create separate lists to keep track of which companies you’re trying to meet (click on image for help on how to create Twitter lists)

6. Show your gratitude

This may seem like a slightly strange tip, but bear with me. If you pick a music company, radio station, music blog, or website that you enjoy once a day and send them a quick email to say thanks for doing what they do, you will build contacts very quickly.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it” William Arthur Ward

In the music business, selfless gratitude is rare. When I receive an email from an artist thanking me for writing my blog posts, for some reason I’m far more compelled to respond and listen to their music, than if they had just emailed me a link to check out their music.

7. Build 3 new contacts a week

I have to give Derek Sivers full credit for this last tip. Set yourself a goal of building three new music business connections a week, and in twelve months time you’ll know 156 new people in the music business!

Using all of the tips in this post, see if you can go and build three new music business contacts this week. If you have any thoughts or questions about this post, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or you can send me a tweet at @TheMusicGuide or drop me an email (marcus@themusiciansguide.co.uk). Tell me what you’re working on or what you need help with and I’ll do my best to help out.

Kevin7 Ways to Build Music Business Contacts
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Collect Fans Everywhere with Our New HTML5 Widget

Following our update to the new music player widget, we are now introducing the Fan Collector widget in all its HTML5 glory.  What does this mean?  It means that it works everywhere.  iPhone, iPad, Android, laptops and web enabled coffee makers* will all work beautifully with the FanCollector.

We have also simplified the Fan Collector’s look and feel, and as always it is fully skinnable.  Go ahead and get started using the HTML5 Fan Collector by going to your Control Room → Widgets & Apps → Widgets.

*we have never seen a web enabled coffee maker, but we bet it will work on one.
KevinCollect Fans Everywhere with Our New HTML5 Widget
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5 Ways to Treat Your Fans Like Gold

Not THAT kind of gold!

This guest contribution is written by Jon Ostrow (@jon_ostrow), cofounder of MicControl.com, Publicity Director of Cyber PR and blogger for Songtrust.com. Jon can be easily reached at any time on Twitter

As an emerging musician focusing your efforts online, building a strong and loyal fan base is the ‘secret sauce’ to success. Loyal fans purchase music, attend shows, evangelize your music and help you exponentially grow your fan base. Ultimately they’ll give you the leverage you need to pursue music on your own terms. When you have a cult following, you maintain creative control; no label in the world will try to mess with someone whose fan base is making them big money.

While this all sounds great, unfortunately there’s no “secret sauce” to help grow this kind of fan base. Some people find themselves naturally at the forefront of a movement. And others try for years to make it happen with little success. And while a secret sauce would be nice, the truth is there’s one constant that is guaranteed to get you moving in the right direction: Treat your fans like gold!

The idea of customer service may sound a little too ‘corporate’ for some of you, but in all honestly it’s something that you should ALL be thinking about as you’re interacting with fans and building a presence (and hopefully influence) online. Here are five important ways to treat your fans like gold.

1) Fans Are Not Numbers, They Are People

Something that so many artists and brands are guilty of doing too often is promoting the fact that they are only a certain number of fans away from hitting some milestone number on their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Youtube videos,etc. This obsession with growing the numbers as big as possible is a continuation of the myspace era of social networking, and it really needs to stop. The best way to grow a truly loyal fan base is to nurture their loyalty from the very beginning, and nothing makes a fan feel less appreciated then making them feel like just a number.

Forget for a second that you are only 10 away from 4000 fans, and start to actually spend time appreciating and nurturing the fans that you DO have. Treat them as human beings, with care and respect, and they will start to reciprocate.

2) Give Your Fans a Human Response 

Speaking of treating your fans like humans and not numbers… fans want to know that on the other end of the computer there’s a human, not a robot responding to them. When fans reach out to you online — whether it’s to complement your music or ask you a personal question — respond with a personal touch and you’ll show them that you care enough to take the time to personally get back to them.

3) Under-Promise and Over Deliver

Regularly delivering value to your fans online is a big part of nurturing their loyalty. The more value you deliver on a consistent basis, the more loyal they will become. But with the idea of delivering value comes a problem that many artists run into, which is to make promises they don’t carry through. This could be in the form of promising a new song release on a certain date, promising a live performance like no other, or even simply promising that your music is”like nothing anyone has ever heard before.”

Let’s get something straight: fans hate nothing more than when a promise to them has been broken. Fans, as any customers and brand loyalists, are very delicate and will quickly feel betrayed and disrespected when they are promised something and then let down. The easy solution? Stop promising things…but you don’t really want to do that. The better idea is to under-promise and over deliver so that everything you give to your fans is received with delight!

4) Bring Your Fans on Your Journey 

You need to give your fans something to be loyal to if you want their loyalty to be directed towards your music. If you talk AT your fans and focus on “me, me, me,” they won’t have much to feel a connection with you. As far as they are concerned, they don’t exist in your world and so whether they stay or leave won’t mean much to you.

But if you talk WITH your fans and make them feel as though they are truly an important part of the well-oiled machine that is your music career, you can give them a sense of meaning and a reason to stick around. By bringing them on your (‘your’ as a collective of you and your fan base) journey on a regular basis, your fans will have that special something to feel loyal to and support in all ways that they can.

5) The Follow Up! 

This couldn’t be simpler, and yet it’s one of the most important things you can do. If your fans come out to a show and sign up for a mailing list, or join a mailing list to download a new song, or have commented saying how much they like your music, FOLLOW UP with them and thank them for doing so. The follow up is widely viewed as THE most important part of growing a loyal fan base and it’s absolutely essential that you embrace the idea in any way that you can. Nothing says ‘human response’ and ‘I truly appreciate you being a part of our journey’ as a simple follow up.

Plain and simple, don’t make the mistake of missing this incredibly important  — and incredibly easy  — opportunity to nurture the loyalty of your fans.

How Do YOU Treat Your Fans Like Gold?

These five ideas above are just the tip of the iceberg! We want to hear from all of you about how you treat your fans like gold, so please leave your stories, suggestions and/or feedback in the form of a comment below.


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New Features: Enhanced Email Click Tracking, Free Ping (Apple) Profiles, and Update Your Concert Schedule From Your Phone

This week there are some great new features available for ReverbNation artists.  Check them out below:

1. See which links are most effective on your FanReach emails

When you send an email to your fans, you don’t always know which links are the most effective, or which message resonated. Starting as of June 9th, all FanReach emails sent will track which links in your emails got clicked, and show you how often they were clicked. To access this new feature sign in to FanReach, send your fans an email, and then visit the email history tab to see the clicks. The feature is available to both FanReach Free and FanReach Pro users.

2. Update your show schedule from your iPhone

You can now update your show schedule from your iPhone with the ReverbNation control room app.  The feature lets you add and mange shows, and keep your attendance numbers up to date. The Control room app, and the new show update feature, are still 100% free (the new feature is not yet available for Android, but will be soon). You can download the app by visiting the Apple App Store.

3. FREE Ping profiles available for all Distribution customers

Now all customers of ReverbNation’s Digital Distribution service can have a page on Apple’s social network, Ping. The service does not cost anything extra, is available to all ReverbNation Distribution customers who have a release that is live on iTunes. Simply click on the distribution tab in your control room and look for the yellow banner at the top of your screen. If you don’t have Distribution yet, check visit our Distribution page to find out more.

KevinNew Features: Enhanced Email Click Tracking, Free Ping (Apple) Profiles, and Update Your Concert Schedule From Your Phone
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Email 101 For Artists

This post was originally posted on Music Think Tank

Email is an essential part of the fan relationship equation for artists, labels, and managers. While it is difficult to say the exact value of collecting any individual email address for musicians, marketers from other industries peg the generic value of getting an email at about $1 each.   But it’s all about what you do with it once you are given the great responsibility of owning it.  We have seen Artists generate as much as $10 per email address on their list, such as the lists they build using our FanReach e-mail system.

KevinEmail 101 For Artists
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