Getting Connected In The Nashville Music Industry

2019 Vinny Ribas

I hope this helps some people…

  1. Nashville is a relationship town. Talent will only take you 10% of the way. You make inroads by making connections and cultivating them. Once someone trusts you they will open more doors for you. Over time, those doors get bigger and more influential. Follow up all connections with an invitation to take them to coffee. You’ll be amazed how many people will say yes.
  2. Join and take advantage of the professional organizations in town. That include NSAI, Global Songwriter Connection, TN Songwriters Association, The International Event Buyers Association and the Country Music, Americana, Gospel Music, Bluegrass Associations, BMI, SESAC, ASCAP. There are many more. Build relationships.
  3. Join and take advantage of the networking organizations here, such as Music Starts Here, Young Entertainment Professionals, S.O.L.I.D, the Woman’s Music Business Association, Women in Film and Television, Indie Connect etc. Again, there are many. Build relationships.
  4. Attend workshops, seminars and conferences. Many of them are free or very reasonably priced. It’s a great way to meet people within the higher levels of the industry.
  5. Hang around, perform with and write with others who are better at their craft than you are. As you improve, your circle will widen and your notoriety will grow,
  6. If you’re in college, offer to intern. Make sure it’s a company that let’s you get directly involved in their services, not one that will stick you in the mail room or at a reception desk away from the action. If you’re not in college, volunteer with some of the music-related nonprofits such as the associations I mentioned or others such as MusiCares, Musicians on Call etc.
  7. Be patient. Remember there are phenomenally talents people who have been working their way up the ladder here for years. It takes time to build enough relationships and earn enough trust to see real traction in your career. There will always be people who shortcut the system because they have a friend or relative in a high place, bring substantial money to the table or have enough of a following to cut through the clutter. If you don’t have that, you need to understand the pace your career will grow at.
  8. Forget who you were in your former life. By this I mean you might have been popular and in-demand in your home town, but you’re playing in the big leagues now. There will most likely be Uber drivers and waiters that can run circles around you. They too are waiting their turn.
  9. Remember that Nashville is a songwriter town. Until you have hits of your own as a writer and/or performer, you shouldn’t expect to make enough money to live on from performing in Nashville. The exceptions might include being in a wedding or corporate band. Chances are you’ll either need to tour away from Nashville or get a job to support yourself. Of course, you can try to get a job within the industry.
  10. Remember that musicians, songwriters and industry executives are everywhere and don’t wear badges announcing themselves. You can make valuable industry contacts just about anywhere you can meet people. Don’t ever assume that the people you meet aren’t important or influential. Just be yourself and build relationships!

For more information on getting connected in Nashville, check out Visiting Nashville, a powerful audio course.

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About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.