Monday, June 2, 2014

Networking Etiquette For Musicians

Photo by Creativity 103 (Creative Commons)
After last week's blog post on Networking Etiquette, I received the following question from someone who works closely with numerous artists in the music industry:
Great tips! I'm curious if there is some sort of standard etiquette for artists. For instance, when someone hands me a CD, hoping that it will go somewhere, I kindly say "thanks." But inside, I'm thinking I'm never going to listen to this and I'm never going to give this to anyone. For artists, is it good etiquette to just hand someone your CD?
While the tips in last week's blog can easily be applied to artists and musicians, this question is very specific to such artists. This type of scenario happens all the time in the music industry, and the person asking the question above is not the only one who bristles with the same reaction when handed a CD by a budding artist. Just about everyone does. This is why so many labels and other music industry entities clearly state on their web sites "We do not accept unsolicited material/music." 

I've actually seen some artists handing out CDs at industry events to people they've just met! This is a big no-no in the industry. No one wants music "vomited" on them. And think about how much music (and oftentimes average music at best) is thrown at industry people in a given week. It's impossible for them to listen to all that music and still have time to get their work done. 

So, what's an artist to do? Instead of forcing your music on someone, first take the time to build a rapport with people in the industry and work to establish professional relationships with them. If you exhibit professionalism in all your actions, you will be seen as trustworthy. Once people see you as trustworthy, they will start to become more open to you and will ask to hear your music. 

One way to exhibit professionalism is to have good business cards (not the "I only had to pay for shipping!" cheap-looking ones) to hand to a new contact in place of a CD, which is a more acceptable practice. I recommend MOO business cards because they are very high quality at affordable prices. You can always include a link to your music on your business card so the recipient can decide if he or she wants to go and listen to it. (It's also okay to keep some CDs in your car in case someone does ask for one, but only then should you give them out.) 

For additional ways to exhibit professionalism to key music industry leaders, check out some of these related blog posts:
If you're an artist who is unsure how your networking techniques are coming across, let us help you with improving those techniques and increasing your confidence and your chances of being remembered in a good way! 

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