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
read more

How to Better Engage Fans Using our Powerful New Feature ‘Questions’

“Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and
provide them with what they want”

– Robert Bowman, CEO Major League Baseball Advanced Media

For musicians, much the same as with any other business, success comes with knowing your customers or audience. That’s why we created Questions, a brand new feature that allows you to communicate with your fans directly and openly.

Questions is your personal fan forum and it’s FREE. It lets you engage fans of all levels, from those prospective early adopters, to casual listeners, to your core fanbase, to fellow musicians, to the VIPs who want nothing more than to plaster their walls with your posters and follow your every post on Facebook and Twitter. Your fans crave more than just your music; they want to know your history. Some may want to share their own experiences and find ways to relate to you and your music. Questions lets you open the window of communication and build fan relationships.

Josh Brown - Questions Page

A pinch of music, a shot of tour dates, stir in fan questions…

You might think of your profile page as a cocktail. Each ingredient works together harmoniously to build your story and satisfy your fans. Soliciting fan input makes your drink unique and gives your fans a personal stake in it. That’s what makes Questions really special — it is powered by your biggest asset, your fans!

Questions builds your mailing list

After a fan submits a question they are prompted  to join your mailing list. We did this to help grow your fan base with real, committed followers. Fans who ask questions are actively displaying their interest in you and your career. They’ve already raised their hand. These can be the most valuable fans and Questions is designed to help turn them into subscribers/customers. Every question asked is another opportunity to gain a new fan!

Why use Questions?

  • To make strong connections with your fans
  • To have a one-stop location for fan engagement
  • To create and tap into fan dialogue on Facebook and Twitter
  • To increase your fan mailing list — Questions is a powerful list building tool, especially for converting casual fans on Facebook and Twitter into customers you can contact directly.

How does it work? 

1. Invite fans to submit intriguing questions.
2. Post your answers for your entire fanbase.
3. Share your Q&A on Facebook and Twitter. It’s that easy.

*Reverb Tip*: Share each Q&A post 2-3x, at different times during the day, to ensure fans see them in their newsfeed. 

How do I get more questions from fans?

Simple. From the Questions module on your Reverb profile, click the “Share” link to invite Questions via Facebook, Twitter and Email. You can do the same thing from your Questions backpage by clicking the ‘Invite Fan Questions’ link.

We’ve highlighted these links in the screencaps below:

Mac Miller - Profile Page

Jana Mashonee

*Reverb Tip*: Invite Fan Questions at least once a week to keep your Q&A fresh and your fans coming back for more!

How do I get started?

This feature is turned on by default. View and manage your questions and answers from the My Home > Question tab in your artist Control Room. You can turn off this feature by unchecking the questions module in the ‘Customize’ section of your artist profile.

Invite questions on Facebook and Twitter to kick start your personal fan forum. Start using this FREE new feature today!

KevinHow to Better Engage Fans Using our Powerful New Feature ‘Questions’
read more

Rolling Through SXSW: Watch Interviews with 6 Emerging Bands

Did you go to SXSW this year? Well, these 6 bands did and they told ReverbNation what they thought of it. Watch the video to get a taste of what makes SXSW Music Week so special (hint: awesome live music everywhere, all the time)!

This is just the first of many videos we have prepared for you. Head to our previous blog post about SXSW for a basic recap of our experience at SXSW (and some pictures too).

And just for the fun of it, watch yours truly walking around with the infamous ‘ReverbNation sign’ while saying ‘Occupy South By’ and being thrown around by the wind:

KevinRolling Through SXSW: Watch Interviews with 6 Emerging Bands
read more