A Comprehensive Guide to Networking in the Music Industry

Advice and guidance, Corona Virus, Covid-19, How to, Infinite Vibrations, Music Industry, Networking, Uncategorized

Strategies and methods for networking, even in lockdown. 

Networking is the key to unlocking doors of opportunity within the music industry. Whether it be through meeting your next music collaboration or striking up a conversation with a label executive – meeting people outside of your circle of influence is important to your career because they could bring value and opportunities which can’t be found on your own.  

Although, during a time where events have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 lockdown, it can be hard to meet new people. As well as this, networking can be scary, awkward and a difficult skill to master. 

Fortunately, there are several strategies within networking which can mitigate the initial awkwardness, allow you to network even in lockdown and bridge the gap between your career and its next success.  

You’ve all heard that first impressions count, but did you know why? Let’s explore the psychology and theory behind meeting new people. 

The Psychology of Networking 

Unfortunately, as humans, we have the survival mechanism of deciding what we think of someone new within just 3 seconds of meeting them! People make assumptions based on the clothes you wear, your appearance, how successful you are and how aggressive you are.  

Psychologists call this “Thin Slicing.” 

Other people’s assumptions of you is also based on your status and wealth. In a small study conducted by Dutch researchers they found that “people wearing name-brand clothes — Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, to be precise — were seen as higher status and wealthier than folks wearing non-designer clothes” 

Their research concluded that no other social dimensions affected this outcome. Not even attractiveness, kindness or trustworthiness, just status and wealth. Now this sounds shallow, but it is an instinctual process to help protect us and determine whether or not someone is endangering our survival. Fortunately, we can hack this instinct to be perceived as a valuable member of the music industry through our fashion and social skills. 

“If you’ve ever wondered why businessmen and women always wear a suit, this is why.” 

Infinite Vibrations

You can achieve an instant rapport with someone if you wear a suit. When you wear a suit, you automatically convey success to somebody. It symbolizes that you are succeeding, and this has a big effect on people. But don’t think that you must be a stiff and dress formal everyday – especially in the music industry, as we tend to be more expressive and relaxed when it comes to wearing a uniform. However, a t-shirt/blazer combo can achieve the same effect whilst blending casual/formal attire. 

On top of this, you can convince many people of your value by the way you speak. By being slightly more expressive and maybe a little more dramatic, you can make people take notice of what you are saying, just by the way you are saying it. As well as this, if you want to make a point, then less is more. If you’re naturally a quiet person than this can play to your advantage. Timing is everything and if can say something at the right time – it can leave a big impact. 

Now you know how to network with new people, it’s time to learn where to network. 

Where to network in the music industry 

There are many places to network within the music industry. From social media to supporting your local music scene or straight-up attending networking events; Here’s 6 gates into networking

There has never been so much freedom to networking than there is on social media, especially during the current times, where everything has been converted to digital events due to the coronavirus. Some of the best platforms for networking are Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and LinkedIn. 

  1. Facebook 

Facebook gives you access to groups where you can pose questions, engage in a discussion and learn more about a specific topic in the music industry. Try searching for “(your location) music scene” or “(your location) musicians” as well as broader search terms such as “music producers” or “musician support group” and join these groups. 

Initially you may be reluctant to post or comment in these groups but once you feel confident enough, remembering the internet can be a cruel place so wear your tough skin, you should give your thoughts and opinions to these groups, who will then recognise that you are delivering value to them and return the favour when you need it.  

2. Instagram 

Instagram is the underdog of networking via social media. There aren’t many people who see this platform as a mainstream form of networking, which can make meeting new people a fresh experience.  

The first method to use on this platform is to “slide into DM’s” and whilst this may be a meme; it is also a great way to introduce yourself to new individuals. However, copy and pasting a mass message to loads of people about your new song is a definite way to get ignored or even blocked. You need to engage with these accounts before you message them. Give them a complement or ask them a constructive question and engage in a real, meaningful conversation. Get to know them before you talk about your music.  

As well as this, you should really explore hashtags on this platform. Look at the hashtags you are posting and then look at the hashtags your influencers are posting. Find the comparisons and then try to piggyback onto these hashtags and engage with other people who are posting the same or similar hashtags as you. This way can discover new people within your field of music and strike up connections all over the world.

3. Reddit 

Reddit can be a great source of making new connections as their sub-reddit pages act like Facebook groups. Here you can find like-minded musicians and even some industry operatives, especially if they are doing a Reddit AMA (QnA).  

You can search for specific genres and strike up conversation in a relatively anonymous way, in case you feel anxious about meeting new people. Remember, we have been told since birth that we shouldn’t speak to strangers, so it’s no wonder networking can feel weird at times, but this can be a great way around the anxieties of beginning to network.

4. LinkedIn 

Lastly, LinkedIn is a fantastic platform for networking. This is because it eliminates some of the social barriers surrounding the balance between professionalism and friendliness. It does this because LinkedIn as a platform is built for professionals to network with each other and inherently sets that precedent that if you reach out to someone, you assume they are trying to meet and network with you.  

As well as this, LinkedIn has seen organic growth boom due to its lateness to developing an advertisement service, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for people to naturally discover you without having to put that extra legwork into marketing and promotion. But, don’t think this will last forever, as LinkedIn will soon follow suit with Facebook in that they will try to charge you for ad space in order to reach a wider audience. 

5. Supporting your local music scene 

“Speak to other musicians in your scene as they will know who the promoters are, who the venue owners are, who the recording studios are and pretty much every contact you need to push your career from the bedroom and into the limelight” 

Infinite Vibrations

This is arguably the most important form of networking, especially in the early stages of your career. If you’re lucky enough to have a bustling music scene in your town or near where you live, then this will be the bouncing board which will propel your career forward. This is because any good musician or band has always started out surrounding themselves with their local scene and seeking the support of friends and family.  

Your local music scene are the first people who will support you and your music so you should make a conscious effort to become a part of it. Play as many shows as possible in this location and people will begin to recognise you as a house-hold name. As well as this, you should be proud to represent where you come from, as when you begin to spread your wings into other territories, these are the people who will remember you and shout about you from the roof-tops.  

Try to meet at least 3-4 people every time you go to your local venue, because you never know who you could be speaking with and who they know themselves. Just remember not to push your music on them straight away. This is because, if they are not working, they are probably on their down-time and want to relax rather than talk business. Engage in small talk to begin with, test the waters and then proceed to introduce your music to them. This way you are demonstrating that you want to get to know them instead of just using them to further your career. 

6. Conferences and networking events 

Once you have begun to take these first small steps into networking, you are then ready for the big leagues. Conferences and networking events are the crème-de-la-crème for gaining contacts in the music industry. This is because these events are organized for the sole purpose of meeting and engaging with other people and wider communities. They will often host a plethora of key industry figures such as: label executives, managers, promoters, successful musicians and enterprises which aim to help musicians. Here you can meet people who will make a BIG difference to the success of your career. 

As with any networking opportunity, it is best to prepare beforehand, especially for these types of events. First, you should identify who you want to make a connection with, who is attending this event? Choose 2-3 people within your field of music and learn about them, what are their likes/dislikes? Do they have a favorite drink? The more information you know about your desired contact the more points of conversation you will have. Ask them if they would like their favorite drink and go and buy it for them. If there’s something that they dislike then avoid a discussion about that or if you’re feeling confident, demonstrate your knowledge by engaging in a debate about it – just remember to remain courteous. 

On top of this, you need to make sure your web presence is in order. This is because if someone you meet goes to search you online, you need to have an attractive and up-to date website and social media, otherwise they might lose interest. To help encourage your new friends to go online and check out your stuff, you should always have business cards to hand with your website and social media handles advertised on them. They’re relatively cheap to produce now-a-days and they can mean the difference between staying in contact with someone or remaining a stranger. 

As well as this, you should follow-up each new contact with a nice message or email the morning after. This will show that you cared about the conversation and want to continue to develop the relationship outside of the event. Make sure you get the business card of the person you we’re speaking to, as well as handing out your own, so you can remember their contact details too. 

Building and maintaining relationships 

Once you have met someone new and made a connection with them post-event, it’s time to begin developing that relationship so you can benefit each other’s career. 

“If you find networking hard or are struggling with making connections during lockdown, then you should come to one of our new Online Networking Events” 

Infinite Vibrations

I’m sure you’ve all heard the age-old saying “It’s not WHAT you know, its WHO you know” but it’s no good knowing someone if you don’t know how to speak to them in a professional yet friendly manner. Being simultaneously professional yet friendly at the same time is the art of networking. 

It’s all about building a long-term mutually beneficial relationship. Investing time in developing a relationship with someone is one of the most important investments you can make in your career – and all its costs is your time and attention! This can be done by simply checking in on them every now and then or going to a coffee together, it doesn’t even have to be a business call. In fact, the more time you spend together as friends, the stronger your business relationship will be. 

Remember, people invest in people first and music second, that’s also why fans want to engage with the person behind the music as well as just listening to the music. They want to know what you are like as a person, because if they like and relate to you on a human level then they are more likely to relate to your music. It’s the same with making industry connections. If they know the person behind the music, then they have a reason to care about your music and your career. 

However, if you find networking hard or are struggling with making connections during lockdown, then you should come to one of our new Online Networking Events. The first one is completely free and will take place in September – Keep an eye on our social media (below) for new updates. 

It’s the perfect opportunity to meet new industry figures, as we will have a guest attendee at every session, as well as network with like-minded musicians to skill-swap and discuss issues and topics in music.  

Every session will include resources you can take from the event, a guest member of the music industry and grant you access to an exclusive networking group for musicians on Facebook, where we engage in discussion and promote safe and healthy networking opportunities for musicians. 

How do you network? What are your tips and tricks for meeting new people? Share your thoughts down below and let us know what you think on social media by tagging us below. 

Statistics and quotes in the article are available here:  

  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/things-people-decide-about-you-in-seconds-2016-11?r=US&IR=T#people-judge-how-much-they-should-trust-another-person-after-only-just-meeting-them-1 
  1. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-make-a-great-first-impression-2014-1?r=US&IR=T 

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Rise of the Independent Music Industry

Advice and guidance, Independent Music Industry, Independent Musicians, Industry Insights, Infinite Vibrations, Innovation, Music Industry, Uncategorized

It’s time to join the new music revolution 

For years, the business of music has remained stagnant, unfair and in favour of corporate profits over art. However, that’s all about to change with the rise of independent music… 

After the impact of Covid-19, many are questioning the future of the music industry; but with this once in a lifetime phenomenon, comes a much-needed overhaul to the music business. Before the pandemic, this underlying trend slowly continued to grow, but this change in power received a massive kick in the right direction as the Corona virus forced musicians to re-think the way they operate their careers. Highlighting the un-justified lack of income after festivals and events we’re cancelled, and music streaming sites leaving musicians with a pocket full of pennies. 

Amid this adversity, we saw musicians adapt to Covid-19 by creating new content for their audiences, developing new income streams and writing more music than ever before… all setting artists up for the biggest revolution in music yet, the rise of the independent music industry! 

But where is the evidence this new, independent industry is growing? 

Well, since the dawn of the internet, many industry figures have entertained the theory of an independent music industry, but only now has this idea begun to see the light.  

“Between 2017-to-2019, the independent music market grew on average by 90%”

Infinite Vibrations
Independent music market growth between 2017 and 2018 from MIDiA

In a recent report from MIDiA, a specialist media and technology analysis company, they found that: “independent artists generated more than $643 million in 2018, a 35% jump from the year before” as well as this, they also estimated that revenue generated from independent artists in 2017 was $472 million and in 2019 it was $873 million. Consecutively over that three-year period, the independent music market grew on average by 30% year-after-year. This meant that that the independent music market is growing at more than three times as fast than the broader global music market. 

As well as this, the Raine Group in America, a merchant bank that offers acquisitive guidance to companies in the music business said that: “our work suggests that the independent artist recorded music sector will achieve $2 billion in revenue in the calendar year 2020, representing approximately 9% of the entire global recorded music industry” this comes after the company invested more than $600 million in music-related assets, so they can see an opportunity here too. They projected that the independent music industry will grow at a premium to the broader recorded music industry, approximately four times what it is currently valued at, according to historical trends. 

Fred Davis, a partner at the Raine Group mentions that: “most of this growth will come from three factors” 

  1. More artists creating, uploading and streaming music 
  1. The rapid growth of international markets and DSP’s (Digital Service Providers such as iTunes and Spotify) 
  1. The success of more and more independent artists 

Although these are American statistics, it proves that the independent music industry is on the rise. America and the UK are some of the fastest growing music scenes in the world and the UK is never far behind America. This being the case, we are starting to see some significant changes to our industry, especially in the wake of Covid-19. 

Percentage of independent producers in The Music Producers Guild

One such change in the UK comes from The Music Producers Guild who stated that: “94% of its membership are self-employed” which means that the vast majority of producers, mixers, recording engineers and programmers who are part of the organisation, are independent of labels or managers. They conduct their careers via a path of independence and self-employment. 

On top of this, the Grime scene in the UK represents the forefront of this growing independent music market. This is because, in an article written by the Independent newspaper, they mention that: “The British urban scene at first struggled to gain recognition in mainstream culture and has primarily depended on independent media to help it reach its audience.” 

The Grime scene in the UK has been one of the fastest growing music scenes in the country, which is representative of the rapidly growing global independent music market. The Grime scene has relied on the same sense of community that comes with being independent. In order to grow, we could take a page out of their book and apply their ethos to other genres of music in the UK. 

“the shift in power from the corporate world to independent artists has led to many acts openly stating that they’re not interested in getting commercial support.”

Saquib Butt, social media manager and A+R representative at GRM Daily

Saquib Butt, a social media manager and A+R representative at GRM Daily, a British urban music outlet, says that: “the rise in the internet, social media and streaming means artists can now break the scene themselves” he also noted that: “the shift in power from the corporate world to independent artists has led to many acts openly stating that they’re not interested in getting commercial support. AJ Tracy said he wouldn’t join a major (label) unless they could “do something which he couldn’t”, while rappers such as Bashy have spoken about not signing a (record) deal as a positive thing” 

Lastly, he says that this rise in independence has had a direct effect on record labels: “Before, majors would primarily offer 360 deals and literally take a percentage of everything an artist made. But now, they know that they have to be fairer because artists can do it without them” 

However, what does this mean for you and how does it affect your career? 

This means that the independent music industry is growing at an exponential rate and to be successful, you need to begin implementing this independence into your career. With these new changes comes a wealth of opportunity as the definition of a ‘music career’ has been completely re-written.  

Having a modern career in music means so much more than just the music now and it’s your responsibility as a musician to learn new skills, develop your knowledge and equip yourself with the tools for success.  

Musicians need to develop their skills beyond that of a musician from The Working Musicians report by The Musicians Union

The Musicians Union itself identified this trend back in 2012 when they said “Musicians need to develop their skills in order to sustain careers, beyond those associated with being a musician. Such as, business, marketing, teaching and community engagement skills. Above all they need to be adaptable” This means that if you wish to pursue a successful career in music then you must begin to break the mould of what it means to be a traditional musician. You need to learn about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, teaching and many more new and exciting skills if you aspire to be like your favourite artists, as these are all the skills which they have learnt too.  

Analysis of musicians careers by the UK government department for digital culture, media and sport

In saying this, the government department for digital culture, media and sport also found that “Many music creators still find it hard to sustain a full-time career. This has resulted in a workforce where many juggle multiple roles within the industry. Their research found that more artists are self-releasing, self-managing and self-publishing, but this can put pressure on these individuals and leave them at risk when developing their careers.” Luckily for you, Infinite Vibrations streamlines this process and alleviates the pressure of self-employment within the music industry through support networks and confidence building. 

“a career in music is now 50% creativity and 50% entrepreneur”

Infinite Vibrations

But we get it, honing your craft is a momentous task already without beginning to learn all this new stuff. We’re with you, but a career in music is now 50% creativity and 50% entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean that the business element must be boring or tedious, infact, you can inject just as much creativity into this process as you can when creating the music itself. Being entrepreneurial is about being daring, innovative and trying something new – everything which music is about too! 

So, why should you choose an independent career in music? 

There are many reasons why you should choose to pursue an independent career in music, but let’s look at the pros and cons and breakdown what it means for you and your career. 

“The benefits of being an independent musician significantly out way the challenges of being an independent musician” 

Infinite Vibrations
Pros of being an Independent Musician Cons of being an Independent Musician 
Join the fastest growing sector in the music industry Lack of financial funding in the beginning 
You retain 100% of the ownership over the music you create  
You retain 100% creative control over your music  
You retain 100% of the profits from your music  
You have the exact same tools record labels use to promote artists  
No deadlines or contracts  
Leverage your success to negotiate your own music licensing and publishing deals  
You can be your own boss through self-employment  
The pros and cons of being an independent musician by Infinite Vibrations

When you choose to be independent you are choosing to join the fastest growing sector in the music industry. This means that your market size is growing at an exponential rate and the risk of being unsuccessful is significantly reduced because of this. As well as this, you immediately retain much more control over your career than you would if you were signed to a record label. You retain 100% of the ownership over the music you create which means you have the freedom to leverage your own success for licensing and publishing deals and reap 100% of the profits made from this. 

Furthermore, being independent means that you retain 100% creative control over your music, meaning nobody is influencing your sound or production techniques. You can decide what your music sounds like and how you create that music; plus, you have no deadlines or contracts meaning your music is not restricted to a time frame or tied into any long-term contracts or 360 deals which take a percentage of all your income streams. 

Being an independent musician means you can be your own boss through self-employment. On top of this, you have access to the exact same tools which record labels use to promote their musicians and artists, but without having to pay the record label upwards of 80% of your profits. 

The only down-side to being independent is the lack of financial funding during the beginning of your career. When you sign a deal with a record label, they can send you an advance on your future sales – almost as a loan, which you can use to fund your recording sessions or lifestyle while you write the music for the record label. However, this can easily be subsidized by non-for-profit organizations in the music industry who are willing to award grants to musicians who require financial capital in the beginning of your career, just be sure to budget for marketing and promotion as well as writing and recording. 

In conclusion, the revolution you have been looking for is here! The independent music industry is on the rise and you must join this community if you wish to have a successful career in music. If you don’t, then the train will leave the station and you will have missed out on the biggest opportunity for musicians since the birth of the music industry. We are about to witness the most positive movement for artists in the history of music; it’s time to move on from the traditional strategies of the old music industry and move into a new, fairer and more inclusive industry that we’ve all been wishing for. Viva La Musique! 

Do you agree with this rise in independence? Can’t wait to join the independent music revolution? Let us know what you think below and share your thoughts on social media using #vivalamusique and #thefutureisindependent 

Statistics in this article are available here: 

  1. https://www.midiaresearch.com/blog/independent-artists-the-age-of-empowerment 
  2. https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/files/2020/03/The-Independent-Artist-2020.03.14-vEXTERNAL.pdf 
  3. https://www.rollingstone.com/pro/features/raine-group-independent-artists-2-billion-in-2020-967138/ 
  4. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/independent-artists-music-industry-stormzy-aj-tracey-stefflon-don-hardy-caprio-major-label-streaming-a8110936.html 
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/melissamdaniels/2019/07/10/for-independent-musicians-goingyour-own-way-is-finally-starting-to-pay-off/#297bdab14f26 
  6. https://www.ukmusic.org/assets/general/Music_By_Numbers_2019_Report.pdf 
  7. https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Files/Reports/Industry/The-Working-Musician-report 

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