I was recently at a big music industry networking event – the biggest in London.
There were roughly 1,000 people there, from all aspects of the music industry, including managers, A&Rs, publishers, labels, songwriters, artists, lawyers, etc.
A lot of these people have been in the business for 10-30+ years.
And the event was free!
Not just free to enter, but free for anyone to come, no matter what your (in)experience.
(and there’s free beer and food if you get down there early enough – what more could you ask for?!)
So I was majorly surprised when a girl accosted me and aggressively started trying to SELL me her CD for £10.
I politely declined, but she wouldn’t let it rest.
I explained that I didn’t even have a CD player (true story!) but she persisted.
Eventually, she gave up, asking me scornfully: “Well, who here do you think will want to buy it?”
I told her that I didn’t think anyone would, since it is a music industry networking event, and everyone else will be doing their best to GIVE their music away, in the hope that it will at least be heard.
She looked disgusted at the thought.
Then she asked to who she should give it.
I suggested A&R people.
She asked me to go with her and point them out.
I sipped my beer, sat resolutely on my stool and told her that she should just go and speak to people, since most people were in A&R anyway, to some extent.
She looked even more disgusted and vaguely insulted, then rolled her eyes and said:
“I can’t be bothered to do that, that’s way too much effort.”
After that, thankfully, she slunk back into the crowd from whence she came and I never encountered her again.
But it did highlight a few points:
- Are you in the right place for achieving a particular goal? (e.g. on the right platform to sell your music, or grow your fanbase)
- What is more important to you; making a sale to one person, or getting many people to hear your music for free?
- Building contacts and relationships DOES take effort. It DOES take time. Are you prepared to put in the work for the long-term?
- You may not agree with the current market conditions, but you’ll probably be in the minority; most others will be actively playing the game on those terms; will you be left behind if you stick to your guns?
- Do you have the right attitude? With people? With your potential fans? With the market?
Just a little food for thought.
P.S. Do you want to buy my CD for £10?! Actually, wait, I don’t have one….but you could download six of my songs for free right now… 😉 )