Making contacts is important; making friends, even more so. Doesn’t everyone do more to help their friends than strangers? There are of course many ways to make contacts but there is no substitute for the personal touch. So how can you meet the people you need to meet face-to-face?
The easiest way is seminars and networking events. Some organisations which put on such events in the UK are BASCA, AIM, MPG, MMF and City Showcase (see below for contact details). Also check adverts in Music Week. In the US contact BMI, ASCAP and SESAC and check adverts in Billboard. You also have the NSAI (primarily country) in Nashville and North by North West in Austin, Texas. Also available is MIDEM in Cannes, France.
Some of these events are free for members and some memberships are cheap or even free. Others will cost quite a bit so decide what you hope to get out of it and whether it’s worth it. Be organised so your money (and time and effort) isn’t wasted.
Before You Go
Firstly, before you go, do you know who will be there (check schedules for who is presenting or contributing on panels and debates)? Select carefully the people you want to target. Find out about them, what they have done and how they did it (do they have a website or a Facebook page? Or even a Wikipedia page?).
Try to make contact before you leave. Make the contact far enough ahead to be sure they’ve had time to read it but not so far ahead that they’ll forget it. Don’t mention the event specifically. Just submit a track from your new single or album (see here for how) as part of your usual marketing and promotion.
Let’s Talk About You
When you get to the event and meet them you can mention your previous contact. Hopefully they’ll remember and you can get straight to business. But remember what I said about making a friend. Rather than talking about YOUR business, compliment THEM on their latest success (or an older success but be specific). Say you were impressed with their strategy and methods or some other detail from your research. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and their own success. And most will be flattered that you know about it.
For those of you that don’t know, your elevator pitch is a 30 second presentation of your project (band, album, tour, etc.). Imagine the person you want to speak to got into an elevator with you. You may only have 30 seconds before they get out so you need to get to the point fast. Have yours planned. Have it include why you think they would be good for the project, or better still, why the project would be good for them. Tell them you’d like to speak to them later in more detail about your project so you have an opening.
Of course, ideally you have more than 30 seconds and your elevator pitch will come after you’ve talked about them as above. But if you keep your pitch to 30 seconds (there’s probably a queue of other people behind you) and focus the majority of your chat on them, hopefully they’ll be looking forward to speaking to you about it later. Try to get a business card and make your polite goodbyes.
Give them 2 to 3 days and then make contact again. They’re busy people so give them a few days to reply.
If they say that they don’t think your project is right for them say a polite thank you and ask if they could recommend anyone more suitable; a personal recommendation from someone already on the inside in the heading/first line of your next email might just open a door.
Good luck. And here are those contacts I promised.
City Showcase – http://www.cityshowcase.co.uk/
AIM (Association of Independent Music) – http://www.musicindie.com/home
MPG (Music Producer’s Guild) – https://www.mpg.org.uk/
MMF (Music Managers Forum) – http://www.themmf.net/
Music Week (Industry Publication) – http://www.musicweek.com/
BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) – http://basca.org.uk/
ASCAP (Copyright collection Society) – http://www.ascap.com/
BMI (Copyright collection Society) – http://www.bmi.com/
SESAC (Copyright collection Society) – by invitation only but you can contact them here http://www.sesac.com/
NSAI – (National Songwriters Association International – country focussed) – http://www.nashvillesongwriters.com/
North by Northwest (annual, international, music conference)- http://nxnw.net/
Billboard (Industry Publication) – http://www.billboard.com/
MIDEM – http://www.midem.com/