Attracting The Contacts That You Need As An Indie Artist

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

If you are putting your name and reputation on the line by performing, marketing your act and your music, having a website etc., people who can make a profound difference in your career are watching you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the A&R Director of a major record label, though it might. But it could also be a club owner looking for acts. It could be someone who lives next door to someone who knows someone who can open doors for you. It might be a booking agent or artist manager. It might be a publisher that you meet casually and in a non-music setting. It might also be someone who is considering being on your street team, or buying 50 copies of your CD to give to everyone in their company for Christmas. But they will never introduce themselves as such if they don’t see you as serious, driven and hungry for success! Thus, it is your job to set yourself apart as someone EVERYONE wants to be around, get to know, and help in any way they can![private_member]

  1. Be professional at all times. This means dressing appropriately no matter where you are, showing up on time, being easy to work with, having good looking marketing materials, acting appropriately on stage, treating your fans with appreciation and respect etc. Treat everyone both in and outside of the business with the utmost respect. Professionals are attracted to other professionals.
  2. Go the extra mile. This means helping others out any time that you can without expecting anything in return. Can you offer a lesser-known artist a spot opening for you at a big gig so they get more exposure? It means volunteering to play and nonprofit fundraisers, playing overtime at a gig without negotiating extra pay and being generous with your contacts, experience and expertise. People love to help someone who helps others freely, even if they weren’t the direct recipients of their help. And it’s no secret that the more you do above and beyond the minimum required, the more you will be rewarded somewhere down the line.
  3. Be honest about your talent, your strengths and your weaknesses. Surround yourself with people who have the talent, expertise, wisdom business knowledge etc. in the areas that you are weak in. People are turned off by people who try to pass themselves off as something they are not, and are attracted to honesty. Plus, it insures that you can deliver 100% all of the time, behind the scenes as well as on stage.
  4. Show up. No one is going to come knocking on your door asking if there is a potential superstar in the house! Attend industry events, networking meetings, songwriter nights, jam sessions etc. Enter contests. Showcase your act. Go see other acts and introduce yourself. Co-write with up-and-coming artists and with writers who are better than you. Be noticed everywhere. That creates a buzz that can’t be ignored! So when you meet that person who has ability to influence your career, your good reputation will have already preceded you.
  5. Show that you are prepared. Carry business cards, CDs, song demos, press kits and anything else someone might ask for with you at all times. Never risk losing a prime opportunity because you weren’t prepared to do business.
  6. Show that you are constantly growing, getting better at your craft and learning more and more about the business. Movers and shakers love to be around people who are eager to improve themselves. And teachers love students who hunger for more knowledge. If people see that you want it badly enough to keep improving yourself, they will do everything in their power to help you.
  7. Show that you have the maturity to handle ‘the next level’. This means that you are realistic, responsible, optimistic, teachable and persistent.
  8. Show that you have enough knowledge about the business side of the industry to carry on and hold your own in a business conversation. This doesn’t mean that you have to know or do it all. That’s what managers, business managers and attorneys are for. But you need to know enough to know when someone is pulling the wool over your eyes or whether a deal that someone is presenting you is good or bad.
  9. Show that you’ll do whatever it takes. Success is inconvenient. Are you willing to travel longer than you normally want to in order to showcase at an important gig? Are you willing to make an 8 AM meeting with a promoter, or do you insist on meeting later because you like to sleep in? Will you do a gig for little or no money if it will put you in front of ‘the right people’, or introduce you to a large number of potential new fans? Will you stay at your CD/merchandise table after a gig for as long as it takes to talk to every one of your fans? Will you show up at a radio station at 6 AM for a live, on the air interview? People love to be around and help people who are overachievers and don’t make excuses.
  10. Show that you are willing to invest in yourself. This doesn’t only mean having the latest, greatest gear, though having gear in good shape is important. It does mean continuing to take voice or instrument lessons even though you’re already quite talented and established. It means having a professional-looking press kit. It means paying to showcase at appropriate industry conferences. It means hiring a manager when the time is right, even if it means taking less money for yourself for a while.

Have you ever seen someone who is working so hard that you think to yourself, “They deserve to be successful”? Well that is the impression you need to leave with everyone you meet. Because then the people who can help you will do so even before you ask![/private_member]