A question I get a lot from clients I coach is whether it's better to try and connect with people offline in the real world or online via email, facebook, linkedin and so on. Although I don't think either method is necessarily superior to the other, I think there are pros and cons to both that are important to be aware of.
Let's discuss networking offline first...
There is something about meeting someone face to face, in real time and in real life that simply can't be replicated online. When you are able to look someone in the eye and speak to them directly, you are able to form a much more personal connection that simply can't be created via email or facebook. Some of my best connections have come about as a result of first forming a personal relationship with someone. In many cases these relationships moved to email later down the road, with the occasional phone call when necessary.
A great way to meet people in the music business is at industry events and conferences. One of my clients from my latest mentorship program attended an industry conference recently where she was able to play a prominent licensing agent her music right on the spot. The agent loved her music, they set up a meeting a couple weeks later and she was offered a deal on the spot.
Of course, there are usually costs associated with attending industry events and conferences, and depending on where you're located there are potentially travel and lodging costs as well. If you're in a different state than where the event is being held these costs can add up very quickly. A three day conference in LA can easily end up costing you a couple thousand dollars by the time all is said and done. These costs obviously need to be weighed against the potential upside.
In general, my experience networking online as opposed to offline, is that things seem to take longer. It takes longer to develop relationships this way usually. People aren't nearly as inclined to respond quickly to someone they don't know. However, I've made some great contacts this way as well. I've made a few great contacts with people that I've still never had the chance to meet in person.
Depending on where you're located, you simply have to do the best you can do in terms of networking. If you're not in major music city like LA or New York, don't let that hold you back from connecting with people who are located in those cities. Reach out via email or phone, send them your music and of course, always follow up.
Remember that a lot of music industry people are busy and get sent a lof of music. BUT.... if your music is good enough, they're going to want to speak with you, regardless of where you live or how you met.
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In : November 2013
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