How To Be Taken Seriously By Influential People In The Music Industry

Vinny 2010 250© 2011 Vinny Ribas

There are an unprecedented number of artists who do nothing but shoot their websites, EPKs, CDs, social network pages etc. out to everyone they can find in the music business in the hopes that they will be heard by one person who will launch them to stardom. Some get pushy and send something every week. And the truth is, the majority of them go completely ignored or just aren’t taken seriously! Why? Because industry professionals are overwhelmed with these unsolicited promotional materials. They are always looking for the next breakthrough act, but not this way!

What can you do? In order to grab the interest of people who can be influential in accelerating your career, you need to both stand out from the pack and demonstrate that you are worthy of a closer look. And keep in mind that the best way to get the undivided attention of anyone in the industry is to get someone they trust to refer you to them. Here are some pointers:[private_member]

  • Always be on you’re A-game. A good live show generates excitement, and you never know who is in the venue. There may be a VIP, or the friend or relative of one in the audience. The bartender or dishwasher may be friends with or related to someone who could help you. You never know is watching and listening, or who they might be able to brag to about you.
  • Be professional 100% of the time when you’re on the job. Treat everyone with respect. Keep a positive attitude. Stay clean and sober. Nothing is more disappointing than watching someone with great talent blow it by making a fool of themselves.
  • Be professional 100% of the time when you’re off the job. You never know who is watching, taking notes, taking pictures or videotaping you with their phone!.
  • Be professional 100% of the time when you’re online. If you’re doing a decent job of marketing yourself, your every move, picture, word etc. are being posted and shared worldwide. Protect your brand! Don’t do or say anything that could come back to haunt you.
  • Be prepared: Always carry professional looking business cards with correct contact information on them. Also carry your CDs or DVDs (preferable live as well as studio-recorded) and a one-sheet, and don’t be stingy with them. It’s not worth the price to lose a great contact.
  • When talking to anyone, always ask them about themselves, and then ask what you can to help them. This immediately disarms the other person and makes them want to help you. And when your turn comes to tell them about yourself, they will be very receptive.
  • Whenever possible, direct the conversation. Don’t stand there bragging or talking about yourself constantly. Learn to lead the conversation such that it givers you a natural, comfortable chance to say what you do, what you’ve accomplished, what your goals are and what you need next.
  • Know who is or can be important to you! Think about the 3rd party contacts that could make valuable introductions. For example, couples who are getting married often ask their wedding photographers, their wedding planner and even their caterer to suggest a good entertainer. A truck driver for a beer distributor probably knows the managers at a lot of venues. The list is endless. Network to build these roundabout relationships. This goes back to getting someone to personally recommend you to someone who can help you.
  • Email your EPK immediately after it is requested. This will impress the receiver, and they will open it because it is fresh on their minds. The same goes for a physical press kit, a follow-up email after a conversation etc. Don’t let someone else slip in and distract your contact.
  • Make yourself easy to find! You need to have your own domain name for web address, and it should contain your name or the name of your act (e.g. Your email address should be yourname@yourdomain name (e.g. Both of these, plus your phone number, should be on everything you send out, from your business cards to your CDs. Also, set up a Facebook fan page and get the Facebook tag with your name (e.g. After all, what good is being an amazing artist if the people who want to book or contact you can’t find you?
  • Make it easy for your fans tell their friends, relatives, associates and even total strangers about you! Have ‘share this’ buttons on your website, blog and social networks that enable people to brag about you with one click of a button!
  • Make it obvious that you are serious about your career. You do this by:
    • Studying the business by reading books, attending workshops, watching industry-related videos etc. People will recognize that you know what you’re talking about.
    • Surrounding yourself with people who are smarter, wiser, more successful and/or more skilled than you are, and learn from them. People love to help others who are teachable.
    • Constantly improving your music and business-related skills. People take note when they see you progressing in the right direction.
    • Increasing your fan base. As you sell more music, get more attention on social networks and draw more people to your shows, you create that all important ‘buzz.’
    • Looking, talking and acting with the confidence of a successful artist.
    • Moving up the income ladder. People take notice when you’re playing better venues, when you’re getting more money for your shows and when your merchandise table is packed after each show.
    • Networking constantly and smartly. Target your networking so that you put yourself where there is a better chance of meeting influential people. Show up for industry events and fundraisers.
    • Attracting positive attention. Getting good press/CD reviews, volunteering to perform at nonprofit fundraisers and headlining instead of being the opening act are all examples of positive attention. Others can’t help but notice you when you’re constantly in their line of sight.
  • Establish Your Identity. Don’t let anyone ever get confused about who you are or what you stand for. Be sure your personal look, online presence, CD covers and marketing materials all fit with your music and message.

All in all, your goal is to make it so that people 1) can’t help but notice you, and for all the right reasons; 2) want to tell everyone about their great discovery, and 3) can find you and spread the word about you easily.[/private_member]

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.