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Since you were a child you have been playing an instrument, singing your heart out, writing lyrics, or spinning and mixing music. Your creative side has been nurtured by family, teachers, mentors, and others in your inner circle who believe in your talents. Your focus has been on mastering your craft. But how exactly will you "break into" the music industry and thrive? We no longer stack albums under our arms or lug around boxes of tapes or even CDs to shove into the hands of interested and uninterested record label executives. For the most part, times have changed and so has the music industry. Except in a few crucial areas that many creatives forget or don't fully utilize...
There's a saying that "you're only in business as long as you have customers" and this is true regardless of the type of business or where it is located. This is true for creatives. If no one is buying and playing your music, you're not in business---you're simply a hobbyist or a dabbler.
With the advancement of technology you can now upload your music to various online sites and work desperately to build a fan base who supports and possibly even purchases your music. But how do you build this base? How do you get your music into the hands of club and radio DJs? How do you get your music into films and on television programs and commercials? How do you gain the interest of record labels, publishing companies, and production companies?
The answer is in the title of this article. Relationship building.
You will need to step outside of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to every interesting person that you meet, whether they are in the entertainment industry or not. You never know who has a connection to a connection to a connection. You never know who is related to the head of A&R at a label or imprint. You never know who is affiliated with a top-level radio or television station executive. You never know if the person that you're speaking with happens to be that executive. You just never know.
This article (and the ones that follow) will provide you with the first steps of relationship building. The steps that you must take before you're formally introduced to someone and risk it all.
Let's discuss Relationship Building 101...
The Business Card
Many creatives think that business cards are just for the stuffy-suit executives who want to look and feel important. This is partly true. But for this article let's focus on the flip side of what business cards represent.
Business cards, creative eye-catching ones, can be the simple reminder that someone needs to reach out and connect you with someone who can positively change your life tomorrow. They can provide the information that someone needs to hear your music or see your interviews. Many producers and industry execs have upgraded their technology and opt out of using CD players, so handing someone your nicely (or poorly) packaged CD may serve as a disadvantage for you--because it has a greater probability of ending up in the trash, on the floor, as a coaster for their coffee cup, or stuck between a crevice in their vehicle. You could stock up on thumb drives but that can be a huge cost factor for you and the recipient may be skeptical of accepting and inserting this drive into their computer. But what about your ability to quickly share information on how to not only reach you but hear your music--by providing the details on a business card with web links and contact information--it's quick, easy, and low-cost.
Nowadays there are so many low-cost printing options available through 123Print, Vista Print, and other sources that you can purchase 100 or more cards for as low as $7.99 (excluding shipping and handling, and tax). If you play an instrument, imagine having a business card that features a photo of it (or you playing it) to catch the interest of every person who holds your card. If you are a writer or producer, imagine having a portion of the song displayed on your card. Whatever tools that you use to create your "art" can be shared through the design of your business card. You can spend a little more money and actually have your cards cut into the shape of your "tool".
On one side of your card you would list your name, contact information, and links to your social media profiles and website. On the other side of the card you need some "pop", "pizzazz", something that catches and keeps the attention of the recipient of the card. Make it count!
You can enlist the help of graphic designers, artists, and specialists who can make sure that your cards represent the best you possible.
Check in tomorrow as we cover the next steps in Relationship Building 101.
Foreman & Associates, LLC
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