One of the first questions I ask songwriters and artists I work with is, “what are you doing to network with other writers and artists?” Playing shows and writing with our buddy or the band back home are important activities and should be budgeted into our time. But I think that many of us aren’t clear enough on how to use these activities to expand our network, and what other activities we should be doing. To test your own clarity, take out a sheet of paper and ask yourself:
- Who are the writes of my favorite 25 songs?
- What other songs have these writers written?
- Who are some of the cowriters on these other songs?
- Where are these writers located?
- What publishers own the rights to these songs?
- Who other writers are affiliated with those publishers, particularly who are newly signed?
Most songwriters can rattle off the names of artists and writers who are widely acclaimed. But the power of a working business relationship is in the give and take. Network with an eye towards writers and artists you can be an asset to. Writers on the cusp of a publishing deal who are collaborating a lot, or artists who collaborate and perform often and with a variety of musicians can be great assets to your career as you can be to theirs. Through these networks you can find good emotional and mental support as well. If you make feeding into others’ careers as important as forwarding your own, you’ll find doors opening to more opportunity. If you’re networking with musicians who do the kind of music you love, those open doors will be more focused towards the opportunities you want.
Make up a business plan for the next three months, and include in it researching the musicians in your niche you’d like to hang around. Then, make a plan to hang out in the places those musicians and the kind of music you want to create is made.