Networking vs Connection


Five simple ways to build genuine relationships in the music industry (and elsewhere!)

Ever heard the saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? It makes sense, right? People do business with people. Get in with the right crowd and it can be the difference between playing in local pubs and playing to sold out stadiums.
But how do you get to know people in the first place? How do you knock on the right doors if you can’t even find them in the first place?
Here’s some ways you can connect with people who can help you take your career to the next level.

Make new friends

When people network, it’s all about what someone else can do for you. You focus on people with the sole intention of getting them to do something to help your career.
When people connect, it’s all about what you can do for them. Your focus switches to being what you can do to help them without expecting anything in return.
Make friends with people in the industry. Don’t worry too much about whether they’re an important bigwig or just starting out. You never know who might need what you have to offer. Someone beginning their career today could be the person who offers you a major record deal in a few years’ time. You simply can’t predict what might happen.
Release any expectations and build connections. You’re playing a long game and the foundations you put down now will pay dividends in the future.

Be considerate

When you’re reaching out to someone in the industry, don’t expect them to do any heavy lifting. If they’re important to you, it’s down to you to make things easy for them.
If you want to send over some music send over one SoundCloud link (or equivalent) to a playlist which showcases your best work. Only send over songs you feel proud of having written.

Get the timing right

Speaking about feeling songs you feel proud of, if you know a song needs work, wait! If you’re having to explain a song whenever you play it to someone, work on it some more until no explanation is necessary. If you have grand visions for the production, do your best to get as close to your idea as possible. You only get one chance to make a first impression. When you know you can make a song better, do it! Don’t ruin a potentially great relationship by rushing into it before your music is as good as you know it can be.

Don’t be afraid of the sharks – the water’s fine

Many people hold back on sending out their music because they’ve heard that the music business is full of sharks. While it is a business first and foremost, people are looking for their next golden goose, not trying to steal a golden egg. If you’re someone who’s going to be able to write incredible songs for years to come, it doesn’t make business sense to damage a relationship which could be profitable for a very long time.

Ask yourself how can I bring value?

Think of ways in which you can bring value to a relationship. What can you do to help someone? Offer your vocal talents for free? Record a kick-ass guitar solo?
Think outside the box. Maybe you have other skills someone might find useful. Do you create websites? Design flyers? Maybe you know a great restaurant in your area you could recommend to a visitor.
There are always ways you can offer to help. You’re a creative person. You write songs! So bring that same level of creativity to thinking about how you can lend a hand to someone to build a connection with them.

Platinum tip: Think long term rather than short term when it comes to making connections. You want to build relationships that will last for decades. Time invested in getting to know someone now will open those doors later when you’re ready to walk through them.

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