The Importance of Networking as an Artist for Exposure and Collaborations
The importance of networking for an up and coming artist is no secret at all. The music game is all about who you know as opposed to what you know, and we see gentle reminders of that everyday. If you want your career to flourish as an artist, you have to get to know the tastemakers, big players, and last but not least, the other artists in your city. These are all key connections that you should make in order to grow in the music scene. We often hear the old saying that "your network is your net worth" and we can see perfect examples of that as artists help their friends climb up to the top once they make it, like Fetty Wap and the Zoo Gang, or Missy Elliot to Ciara, Da Brat, Tweet and many more women on the come up at different times.
We are in the heights of the digital age and you could very well blow up on Spotify, but you still need actual human interaction to form lasting and helpful partnerships. Even in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, ‘Love/Belonging’ falls right in the middle - we were born to socialize, so why not make it work to your advantage? Think about it this way, are you more likely to do a favor for a friend or a complete stranger? Here are a few places where you can expand your social network:
Open mics provide a great opportunity to perform and build up your stage presence so that you can become a better performer, meet new fans and some like minded artists. Even if you don’t perform on the first night, it’s definitely worth it to start to explore the live music scene in a low pressure, chill environment. A quick Google search will help you find listings!
Don’t be afraid to check out other artists’ shows in your city. You can easily meet artists, producers, promoters and maybe even management by hanging out in the crowd. Take some video and even tag the performer on social media; most artists are grateful for little snippets of their set.
Whether it’s a workshop on bookkeeping for artists, mixing/mastering, or writing techniques, this is another great way to meet serious artists. Workshops normally host smaller groups and give ample opportunities for participants to work together and mingle. Once you get to talking, you might meet a photographer, fashion designer or someone who just wants to support.
I highly recommend going to music conferences, places like ComplexCon and Imsta Festa are a great way to not only meet creatives in your area, but from out of town as well. Thousands of artists, producers, managers, studio owners, bloggers - anyone you can associate with the industry will be there. You can easily score an opportunity to not only meet collaborators, but to get industry advice from some seasoned professionals.
From going out to open mics, workshops, live shows and music conferences, you will definitely expand your network and find new creatives to bond with. At each of these events, don’t forget to actually exchange information with who you meet and follow up! Nobody likes someone who’s all talk and no action; the faster you connect, the faster you can see who’s actually down to do some work and who’s not quite there yet. The beauty of attending these events is that you can meet people who are at your level and start to create new art worth sharing. With both of you sharing your creations amongst your networks, you will definitely make bigger waves.
Go to the Events Calendar for an up to date listing of upcoming music conferences and festivals across the United States that you should attend for networking opportunities to increase your exposure and meet new collaborators.
Tip -- Some essentials items you need to have on you when you attend the networking venues listed above include a business card and/or a music download card. Go to the Resources section, specifically the "Music Download Card" page, for more information about how you can get yours ASAP.