Before I Was Famous: How To Network As A Band
There are a lot of things I’ve been able to learn as both a Publicity Assistant and a musician, and many of those things are in the realm of promotion. As a band it is incredibly important to have a strong network of friends who are either in other bands, run local venues, or write for your local papers. However, as important as that might be, it’s not always obvious as to how to become friends with these people. I’ve been playing music in Detroit for over a decade (which is a really crazy thing to type), and I have a few tips and tricks to networking in the “biz.”
1. Be Seen in The Scene
This is my absolute number one tip for anybody in an aspiring band. How can you expect anybody to pay attention to your band if you don’t support other local talent as well? That’s like saying everybody should pay attention to your thoughts, but then when somebody else has a turn you just tune them out. I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying “support local music.” Well, make it you credo. I do my best to catch a local show at least once a week, and that becomes doubly important when local festivals or events are going on. Another great reason to go to shows is because more often than not, other important people are going to be there, and this gives you a great chance to introduce yourself.
2. Start Reading
A great way to know who’s who in your local scene is to read all about it. Please, take to social media whenever you get a chance. I follow most of the bands in my scene on Facebook and Twitter. I also follow most of the venues, studios and publications (local papers/magazines and local news). Once you start paying attention you’ll notice people posting about upcoming events, and releases. Sometimes you’ll even notice somebody is looking to fill a bill - jump on it! Following all these papers and magazines also helps you to see who holds other jobs within the scene. Sometimes the lead single of band X is the booker for venue Y. Sometimes the guy that runs sound on the weekends also writes for the local entertainment paper. You’ll start to know who’s important and who you need to get to know.
3. Be a Fan
This is kind of a combination of the first two, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. You should love your local music scene! It’s easy to become disenchanted or discouraged as a musician, but don’t forget why you (hopefully) got involved in the first place - it’s the passion and love for music. Truly take hold of what your scene has to offer and talk it up whenever you can. Take some pride in your local music network, and if you can start trying to build it up with some new and creative ways. Maybe you can start a brand new festival (i.e. Networking Fest).
If you take pride in your fellow musicians they’ll take pride in you too. My final bit of advice is don’t be discouraged if you don’t get to know everybody right away. Also remember, just because somebody isn’t influential in your scene now doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the future. So just treat everybody with the same respect that you would want in return - and don’t push your agenda on everybody right away. Be genuinely interested and ask questions and they’ll do the same in return.
Green Light Go: Go see some bands play this weekend!
Sharing is Caring: Think you know somebody that could benefit from these tips? Feel free to share or tweet it. Comments and feedback always appreciated @p_corsi