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February 21, 2013

Step 6: Look to build relationships

Amanda Palmer's Ninja Beach Gathering

(Photo credit: Burns!)

Artists, of all people, understand that the more information we all share,

the better it is for our business and for ourselves.

Janis Ian

Business, and the music business in particular, is built on relationships. To reach your goals you will need to build many relationships with your peers, fans, and then music industry colleagues - in that order. You have to build these relationships by having personal contact with each of these people. You cannot do this by remote control. A million Facebook likes are not nearly as important as 1000 true fans.

You have to gather people's esteem first and foremost (see Step 8). This means you have to give people a reason to think you're great and (revisit "what's remarkable") something to tell their friends about you so they will come to see you next time you play. That starts with your songs and your performances, but it also includes your professionalism, your coolness, and your ability to make them money. Remember: your time can't be copied. If you give it to an interviewer, or a fan, or a peer, you cannot be ripped off and you will be investing in more and stronger relationships.

Your peers - Whether you like it or not, most of the people who hear your music early on will be other musicians. Ask not what they can do for you but what you can do for them (sorry, JFK) - find ways to help them out. Share what you have learned and teach others to do what you do - and what not to do. Look for opportunities to expand your influence by getting involved in music communities - online and offline. You might not feel that you have much to offer, but you will make friends and allies just by sharing. Your peers are the key to getting your music in front of their fans and converting some into being your fans as well. This is NOT a zero-sum game.

Your fans - As your writing and your show improves, you will meet more and more people who are there just for the music. You have to turn these people into fans of your music. This is a strange relationship but ultimately the most important. If you have 1000 true fans - fans who will spend $100 a year on your shows and merch, you have a viable small business. Meet them in person at every opportunity - be cool.

Colleagues - If you get enough of the first two relationships, these people will come looking for you. When they do, don't be a dickhead. Ultimately, these people want a relationship that makes money. They will come to you if you have enough fan relationships. But remember: this industry if full of pretenders - you need a your smoke detector (see intro) at full strength here.

Step 6 Exercises

  1. Write down 10 peers who you hold in high esteem. Ask yourself:
  2. (Come to the workshop for more)

Exercise to take home

  1. (Come to the workshop for more)
Posted by DrHuge at February 21, 2013 10:41 AM

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