My mother is an MBA, and a wiz in the corporate world. While I was growing up, she would come home from one networking event or another, and would tell me about the discussion topic of the night, who she met, etc. When I was older, she took me along with her to a couple of these events. It is from these experiences that I picked up a few techniques that have served me surprisingly well as a youngin’ coming up in this industry.
The first of which is the use of LinkedIn. You’d be surprised how useful this social media platform has been! It’s fairly simple: you create a profile, post some pictures, fill in your resume, and voila! LinkedIn profile. A lot of the older industry corporate bigwigs are on this platform (which you can find by searching the company they work for), and you now have immediate access to them. Start looking for groups and conversations that they’re creating or commenting on, and start participating in the discussions. The more you talk, the more views your profile will receive, and the more connections you will gain. I myself have connected and chatted with studio owners and assistants, other musicians, and radio DJs. Also found on the site are interesting and fascinating articles regarding the state of various aspects of the music industry, from the SoundCloud changes to the debate on whether record labels are still relevant. Lots of interesting perspectives, and a wealth of knowledge and connections, all at your fingertips.
Secondly, prepare for and learn how to network, and always be in “networking mode.” I always keep a stock of business cards on hand, whether it’s in my wallet, a cardholder, or just my pocket. You never know who you’re going to meet in your day-to-day life! As soon as you do exchange cards with someone, keep in mind that this whole industry is based on connection, so be sure to follow up with them via either email or phone as soon as possible. And definitely FOLLOW UP! It’s a rare thing for people to keep in contact, let alone show up, and just the initiative of sending off that little thank you note for meeting with you says wonders.
Bottom line is this: CONNECTION. Keep meeting with, and talking to, as many people as you can, and build relationships. Every time you meet with someone, don’t necessarily expect to come out of it with a new job or opportunity. Hope to come out of it with a new friendship, mentorship, or connection. Ask them about their life, their career moves, what benefitted them, what didn’t, etc. People love to talk about themselves, and 9 times out of 10 they’ll be happy to answer and help you out.
If you’d like to go more in-depth in your reading about networking tips, I have found this article to be extremely helpful: 20 Tips on Networking in Music Industry
Willa Snow: Willa is a freelance studio sound engineer and producer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. She loves working with artists in the studio to carve out their sound and clarifying their stories. She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio, and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals.
About Willa: Willa earned her degree in Contemporary Music from Santa Fe University of Art and Design, with a focus on Music Production. Though her career is still a fledgling one, she has already gathered several professional credits to her name as a ProTools operator, sound engineer, and backing vocalist, and has been the leading producer on various projects. Outside of the music studio world, she has dabbled a bit in radio production while working as a narrative editor for a small radio show in New Mexico, and has helped to establish a student-run record label at her alma mater. For fun, she enjoys studying Bulgarian vocal music and African hand percussion, cooking, and dancing.