How to meet people who don’t give a damn about your music
If you want to make it in the music industry you need the right people who can propel your artistry forward? They are all based in London, the ones that matter anyway - right?!
That’s what I thought, so that was me, travelling to East London from Wiltshire and back in a single evening to be at a music industry networking night. One of these evenings was at a Camden venue where the live band was so loud, nobody could hold a conversation, so the whole night was a waste of time. That got me thinking - what am I doing this for?
At these big network evenings there are a lot of people, a lot with agenda’s or specifically seeking someone or something out. Are they there to make friends? Build creative relationships? I’m sure there are some, but in that environment it is very difficult to really connect with people, and if this isn’t your local town or city then the chances are you may never see them again. You’ve added to your business card collection, but maybe that’s it. That is how I felt anyway.
There is no doubt that the capital is a hub for a lot of music based industry, and if you already live there then it is of course a lot easier to go to these events. However there is a lot going on in most of the major cities and even in the smaller ones too. I recently went to a BBC Introducing day, and one of the talks was titled along the lines of “Making it in the music business outside of London”. This was a great affirmation to my new approach.
I’m fortunate to live about 30 minutes from one such city - Bristol. About 18 months ago I consciously decided to find out what was going on in my local area (no more than 1hr from my home). What I found was a very vibrant music community on my doorstep, once which I could more regularly connect with and one in which I started to build some friendships and contacts.
Making friends first is always best, you are more likely to develop a longer term and more fruitful partnership if you actually like the people you are spending time with. Go to these events with the mindset to connect with people and find common interests. New friends, not just music business contacts.
They will more likely want to support your musical endeavours, and you will more likely want to support theirs.
Get online and search out groups near you, and be prepared to try some out and see if they work for you. I’ve been to about 3 or 4 different ones, and now I’m a regular at one in Frome which is 40 minutes from my house. It’s encouraging, always new people to talk with and from that at least one new songwriting collaboration has started with a great singer.
I challenge you to think about why you are going to the bigger networking events and what you are hoping to get from them. Consider exploring your own local music scene.
Next time: Who wants to sing my song?