Posted on 01 June 2018 by Natasha Moore
*It's not what you know, it's who you know! (well, kind of)*
No you don't have to sit around a campfire and sing kum Ba Yah to thy neighbour to get your foot in the door of music. But there's no hiding the fact that this industry is built on relationships.
From my own personal experience, it's growing your web of contacts and genuinely being a nice person that will take you further than sticking your head in the encyclopaedia of music's history from the year of dot.
I'm not saying education isn't important but social skills have an equally important part to play in your climb to success in the business. How do I build relationships I hear you say? Well, doing the following in my opinion wouldn't hurt?!
1. Network Network Network
Nothing beats a bit of mingling with some light-hearted chat when aiming to build connections. Online methods are good also (as discussed below) but sometimes the old fashioned trick of just getting out the and talking people pays off more. Even
though it's daunting at first!
I can vouch for this as that's exactly what happened in my case. Yes, indeed, I owe my success in landing a job at an independent music publisher here in London thanks to the ERIC festival. I salute you! It was during their music event last
February that I bumped into a now friend who was moving internally within the company so guess who took her old job?
Up until this point I can admittedly say I was losing hope in networking events as a lot of the time it can be awkward and you come away with a few business cards including one from some guy called Bob can make you famous and another from
Anastasia the pianist. But let me just say this - perseverance will pay off. If you love music enough you'll drag yourself out for the smalltalk instead of watching Corrie in your slippers.
Websites such as the Eventbrite, Go Think Big and The Big Music project all feature upcoming music networking events across the UK. A constant go to in the past during my months of scouting for a job in the biz!
Keep it updated and use it to reach out for mentors, recruiters and like-minded peers.
Remove the info about the time you rescued the injured stunt dolphin in Guatemala and replace it with more recent relevant experiences such as how you're helping promote a friend's band or creating your own music Q&A event. Relevancy is key to being noticed. Remember you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.
Although the internet offers an abundance of contacts at your fingertips, I wouldn't recommend messaging every employee under the sun at your dream company, but, choosing who to contact wisely and with the correct etiquette could just pay off. Everyone has to start somewhere so don't be intimidated by the fact that you're reaching out to a manager of a well-known name, give yourself a pat on the back instead for being pro-active and not a procrastinator!
3. Gigs and live events
What's a better place to meet music folk than at a sweaty, steamy electrifying live music event? You never know who you could be shuffling across the dance floor with or head banging next to you in the mosh pit. Why not take the chance and find out?
My go to venues at the moment are The Roundhouse and The Jazz Cafe (Camden). But of course you shouldn't limit it to London, I tend to check out the O2 Academy's up and down the UK for inspiration also.
4. Think Outside The Box
Perhaps you build a rapport with a fellow music lover who just so happens to be the head of Sony through your love of felines as you sip on a chai latte in an adorable cat cafe? In other words having the confidence to openly talk and meet new people
in a range of environments will better your chances of gaining a music contact. Cast your net wide (as my mother would say, urging me to find a bf)!
5. Through Education
Going back on my words here, I do see the benefits of gaining a music qualification at some level, not solely for the content learned but also because your fellow students and lectures are most likely to know contacts in the industry too, hence
giving you that foot up. Societies also available through uni would be really helpful e.g. the radio society, TV society. Not even at a university level but foundational and recreational courses are really great places to meet like-minded music lovers too. I
took part in Capital Xtra's Music Potential which was a great way to meet other music creatives.
If you're at a bit of a loss on how to further your career in music some really helpful websites to me have been:
We want to hear from you! Let us know your thoughts below, tweet us at @eric_festival or instagram us at @ericfestival!