Often, I'm asked for advice by new artists about how to overcome the obstacle of finding and developing connections in the music industry. Here are my personal insights as you begin your journey of inevitable ups and downs:
- Keep your goals in mind consciously and never, ever lose sight of them. Protect your dream, know your vision vividly, and grow from every challenge that comes your way. Challenges are a necessity to help you grow as a person first, which trickles off into your career second. Jim Rohn said, "Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become." That's something I believe strongly. Challenges are a blessing in disguise. Every no is one step closer to a yes. Embrace all of it.
- Go out and connect with the scene that harbors your sound. Go out to club nights in your city, have fun there, enjoy yourself, but always be in a mode to network and make new friends, especially with others who run the scene and share a similar passion. When you're first starting out, it's hard to be taken seriously since you're new to the game. But as you keep pushing forward relentlessly, eventually you will have more experience, and people will gravitate towards you. Keep in mind that there's a cycle of asking for help and moving forward with the help of others, but one must also complete the cycle by helping others move forward in their own paths. Both are joyous, though the act of giving back to those who appreciate it is far more fulfilling in the long-term.
- Keep making new music and get it out to the right audiences. When you have no following, it's hard to get your music to ears that will listen. Connect with labels that are aligned with your sound to push your music forward. Find out who runs those labels and get your music to them directly. Skip the generic demo inboxes, whenever possible. Lastly, hold off on sending music out until it's 100% up-to-par with release standards that are appropriate for your genre. If you've already started releasing music that you're not so proud of, no worries, you can always rebrand. You can always self-release, depending on what your goals are, but working with reputable labels and seeing the impact that they are capable of will give you a broader scope of understanding.
- Go to conferences around the world and know why you're going there. Some of the best connections I have now were made casually at conferences, or sitting next to someone who happened to have similar goals.
- If you're looking at this as a serious business and more than just a hobby, eventually, it will be very important to own all of the rights to your songs – especially when it comes to licensing opportunities. Once you have a strong fan base of dedicated fans – 1000 consistently loyal fans is a good target to shoot for – definitely consider launching your own record label and publishing company. Nobody will fight for your music harder than you do. With the right momentum, you can find others along your path to help push your goals forward: agents, managers, distributors, lawyers, larger labels, etc.
Hope that's useful! Feel free to share your own insights below.