When we lose touch with people, we never know in what direction their lives may go. Some of the people that I never thought would be involved in certain industries are. During my college years I spent a lot of time working with local bands in the heavy music field, as I thought there was some serious talent and these bands needed the chance to be heard beyond New England.
20 years later I still write about music. Most of my work involves reviewing and interviewing bands, but I don’t get the chance to help out my local community as much as I would like. A lot of times I believe the newer bands seek out the easiest social media outlets without really studying their industry and think of the promotion and publicity you need to do to build relationships.
A manager from a band called me today that sparked this post. In a small world, I helped him back when he was a drummer in a band that was seeking a record deal. They had worldwide exposure with interviews and reviews in some of the best European metal magazines. Now he’s moved behind the scenes and is seeking out interviews and reviews for this particular band he manages. I take more of an interest because of the relationship I’ve already established with this person- as well as the person that recommended I get in touch with him.
The bottom line? You never know who can help you- and it all starts with building relationships. That person who played in a band in your college days may be the booking agent or a big time producer or running a record label 10-20 years later. I take my relationships seriously, and I’m willing to be very helpful as they are willing to let me review the music and interview the bands.
We all know that once a person gets into the music, they can spread the word to their friends. How you treat this person can make the difference between being a friend for life or being someone who drops you like a bad habit. It’s very hard to get a second chance when you burn someone, so remember that as you are building your following. With thousands of outlets these days competing for consumer dollars, live music to me is something you can’t replicate anywhere else buy on a concert stage with an audience. Getting people to the shows is a grind- and you have to give them a reason for wanting to attend.
I encourage people who are involved in the music industry to upgrade their skills no matter what the cost in terms of money or time. You need great interpersonal skills, you need to know about time management, you need to take care of your health, and you need to know when to say yes and when to say no and stand by your decisions. It’s not enough to read merely about the music business- your need to be productive in your relationships and consistent with your contact.
Opportunities are everywhere if you are willing to look for them. Help others first and you’ll be surprised how much help you’ll receive in return. Keep up the good work, keep the music alive in these changing times and realize that everything changes quickly- so don’t be afraid to be in the know.