Many musicians are aware that making the right music industry contacts is highly important for achieving a successful music career. The problem is that, most musicians really don’t know ‘who’ the right music industry contacts are, where to find them, how to actually transform a ‘first contact’ into a meaningful relationship, and what ‘having the right music industry connections’ really means.
If I gave you my complete list of music industry contacts (key industry people I have established relationships with over the last 20 years), do you think it would help you develop a successful music career?… NO! Why? Because a mere ‘contact’ is not worth anything. Music industry contacts need to become meaningful music industry connections. Meaningful connections are developed by building good relationships… More on this later…
However, even if you have good relationships with the right people, this won’t help you until and unless you work on having the right things in place which enables your industry contacts to feel confident enough to work with you.
So, who are the music industry people you should be contacting?… And when you get through to someone, what do you say to him/her? How can you make these important people pay attention to you if you don’t yet have a ‘name’ in the music business?
Let’s explore the first question “Who are the music industry people you should be contacting?” To answer this, you need to ask a series of other questions such as:
• Who are some contacts who have great influence and ability to help your career develop further?
• Who are the contacts who have the greatest number of key relationships with other music industry professionals and companies?
• Among the most important contacts, who are the easiest to find close to where you live?
• What contacts are the most approachable?
• Who are the people who you can help to solve THEIR problems and/or help them to reach their goals (thus starting to build a relationship with them)?
Is there a single “type” of music industry contact person or (company) who fits ALL the above criteria? The answer is ‘Yes’. And if you do not have music industry connections, this ‘type of contact’ may be your best place to begin… So, who is this type of person or company? Record label executives? A&R people? Producers? Publishers? Managers? Entertainment Lawyers? Famous bands? No… The answer may surprise you… it is “Concert Promoters”.
Serious concert promoters have massive power and influence in the music industry. They are the real risk takers of the music business. They deal with thousands of very important music industry people every year such as: well known bands, record labels, artist management, tour managers, entertainment lawyers, production companies, merchandising departments, the venues, booking agents, radio stations, the press, and more.
If you live near an urban area, you won’t have any trouble locating concert promoters who live and work locally (use Google). Unlike most other important music industry contacts, promoters are generally accessible and will be willing to talk to anyone who has ‘something real’ to offer them (that’s where you come in).
Generally speaking, concert promoters take on more risk than any other person or entity in the entire music industry. All promoters lose large sums of money every year (because some concerts lose money for various reasons). The successful promoters make (and keep) more money than they lose throughout the year (because they are able to promote other concerts with bigger bands which make a lot of money).
What every promoter wants is a reliable network of people to help make certain that the concerts/tours they promote make more money! Obviously, it’s expensive to employ a large team of experienced people. However, you can join their team (at least on a part time basis) if you are willing to, intern, earn a small salary or even work for free just to get your foot in the door and get the experience of working with a promoter. You may not yet know anything about promoting tours, but some promotion companies would be eager to train you if it isn’t expensive for them to do so.
Think about it from their perspective. If you were a big time promoter taking on huge risks, wouldn’t you want another person to work for you, for free or for a very low salary? Of course the answer is ‘yes’, even if that person could only work part time. If you can do that, they will remember you and relationships will start to develop.
Many musicians who want a music career are told to intern for a record label. The conventional wisdom is that when you do this, you will learn a lot about the music business. The reality is, most of these interns never get into a position where they can truly learn much at all as an intern. However working for a promoter, your ability to learn how the music industry REALLY works (at least on the touring and promotional side) goes way up because your level of access to what is going on ‘behind the scenes’ goes way up! In addition, the number of music industry contacts you can make are 200 times more than what you would likely make working at a record label. And compared to record labels, there is a lot less competition for internships or jobs with a promoter.
As excited as you may now feel, knowing that you CAN actually do this…. there is a catch… a big one. In order to have any real chance of pursuing this opportunity and using these music industry contacts to help launch your music career, you must work on having the right things in place which enable your music industry connections to feel confident enough to work with you. The truth is, nothing in this article will help you until and unless you do take this critical step.