Tampa Music Conference 2017

 

As many tech-savvy musicians have discovered, social media platforms are great venues to not only communicate with fans, but also to connect with music industry influencers like bloggers, publicists, and music supervisors who can help move your career forward. The problem, however, is that many musicians who try to use social media to connect with these people are going about it all wrong. While some imagine social media as a magical vending machine that spits out industry contacts when we feed it automated messages, the truth is that connecting with people on social media takes much more perseverance and creativity than many of us are willing to invest. We’ve put together a few tips for musicians trying to make connections on social media with industry leaders.

Sending someone a direct message and following up every two days if you don’t immediately hear back

Many people in the industry are careful about giving away their email address, which is why direct messages on social media can be such a valuable tool for musicians. However, sending someone a direct message doesn’t in any way entitle you to a reply, and messaging that person over and over asking if they got your message certainly won’t increase your chances of getting a response. Instead of flooding someone’s inboxes with unwanted messages, try building a relationship with that person on social media before you send them a direct message. Comment on their posts, retweet their tweets, and don’t be afraid to offer a compliment (as long as you really mean it). If someone is already aware of you (and the nice things you’ve said about them), they’ll be much more likely to respond to your message in the first place.

Posting spammy comments on every message board you can find (even if it’s unrelated to your music)

How many times have you seen a comment like this on a YouTube video, Facebook page, or other online message board: “Hey, cool post! Check out our latest album (insert album title here) on iTunes!” Not only do these comments look like they’ve been posted by a robot, they’re also often found in places that have nothing to do with the type of music the band plays, or even music in general. Commenting can be a great way to increase your online presence and make connections, but only if you comment thoughtfully on posts you’ve actually interacted with. Spamming message boards will only serve to either make you look desperate or get you kicked off the message board.

Expecting everything and offering nothing in return

When many people think about social media, they think about what they can get out of it. How many followers can they get? How many much engagement can they get on each post? How can they use it to connect with the right people? The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t help you become someone other people will want to connect with. Think about it: wouldn’t you rather connect with someone who has been friendly to you or helped you in the past rather than someone who only talks about themselves?

Not doing your homework

One of the best ways to put someone off immediately is to spell their name wrong when you send them a message. It can also be similarly (although perhaps slightly less) off-putting when you get other basic details about someone wrong like the name of the company they work for or the city they live in. Doing your homework is important not just for avoiding this type of embarrassment; it’s also an opportunity to impress people with your knowledge of their work. For example, rather than starting a message with something like “Dear (insert name here), my band has a great new album out that I think you should listen to,” try something like “Dear (name), I really enjoyed the music you chose for the film (insert movie title here). I thought the song you chose for the final scene highlighted the message of the film in a really beautiful way.” Showing that you’re aware of a person’s previous work (and dropping a compliment while you’re at it) shows that you’re serious about making connections, and you’re probably a nice person to talk to as well.

Expecting instant results

One of the most difficult things to grasp about social media is that making connections takes time. In the same way that it can take years to build up a list of engaged followers, it can also take a long time to establish meaningful relationships on social media with the people you want to connect with. After all, you don’t become best friends with someone after talking to them for five minutes at a party, so why would you expect someone to become your friend online if they’ve never interacted with you before? Developing real connections on social media takes patience, but the people you meet online in an authentic way will be the people who stick with you the longest and do the most to help your music career.

The beauty of using social media to develop connections is that we can do everything from behind a computer screen or from a device in the palm of our hand. This convenience, however, also creates a dangerous falsehood: we forget that the people we’re talking to are real people, just like us. In order to make your online interactions more real, it can help to think of every interaction as a face-to-face interaction. Think about how you would talk to someone if you met them at a party or networking event. You would probably want to be polite, helpful, and even funny if the situation called for it. So why treat social media any differently? After all, all we’re really doing on social media is talking to people, so why would your social media conversations be any different than real life conversations?

 

\\ Source Symphonic Blog //

 

The Art of Networking in the Music Industry: the Tampa Music Conference is all about networking. Networking is a blanket word, and different people have different approaches to it.

Too many of us leave conferences with a hazy memory of faces and a bunch of business cards of people we don’t remember. You swarm the big-name panelists along with thirty other eager hopefuls, confidently approach the hot-shot speakers, but maybe they won’t accept your card and act completely disinterested in what you’re saying. You meet countless participants, exchange cards and some casually random banter you hardly remember. You followed up with every single person on the cards… but you receive little to no response. The conference passes over as if it never happened. Life moves on. What did you spend that multi-hundred-dollar ticket for anyway?

Sound familiar? Picture this instead:

By the end of any conference, rather than leaving with social exhaustion and a stack of business cards of people you barely remember, you should ideally walk out of the building with 15 new friends laughing on your way to the bar. You know their hometowns, their opinions on the latest [insert hot artist] album, and you know this is just the beginning of a long, beautiful, and mutually beneficial relationship. (And you should still have the business cards of the people remember in your bag.)

Perhaps this is pushing it, but hopefully you get the point. Too many people approach conferences from a sales perspective. Networking isn’t about forced-selling yourself to strangers. It isn’t about finding people who can help you out. Networking is about building meaningful relationships with people. The relationships you build have a greater chance of translating into a label/publishing deal, a new business partner, etc. than the 100 business cards you collected.

1. Dress to Impress. Brand Yourself.

When you dress impeccably, you will feel like you own the room, which often translates into you actually owning the room. First impressions are everything. You may stumble upon a professional in the industry that really matters and first impressions can make or break a situation.

Appearance is one thing, but also dressing up your business cards and marketing/promotional materials is absolutely essential. Invest in branding USB drives with your artist or band logo/name. There are several companies that exist to help with this. Make sure that within the content you include a PDF with a bio, a gracious & concise note, links, and information on how to get in touch with you. And if you’re still on the CD train, just remember a) not to actually write on it, brand it up; and b) new Macs do not come with CD drives.

2. Don’t be afraid. Approach strangers.

Sounds harsh and/or cliché, but someday, we’re all going to die, and what you did at this conference will not matter. What will matter is if you befriended the person who eventually introduced you to the person who got you a record deal which jumpstarted your prolific music career, which in turn inspired the world to give you a funeral of the likes of Michael Jackson. So don’t be afraid to approach people you don’t know. Even more important, don’t get star-struck by the people you see as more “important” than you. We’re all humans.

3. Be their friend, not a salesperson.

Get to know people on a personal level before ever trying to sell something. Smile. Relax. Be genuinely interested in the individual and what they’re saying. Make sure your brain is wired to ingest a lot of information – name, where they are re based, what company they are with, their profession, favorite band, and more. And for Pete’s sake, remember everything. If after a conversation you feel the need to write down on the card a quick brief on the individual, take a bathroom break and do it. You’ll thank yourself later.

4. Focus on the person.

When introducing yourself, do not begin with a sales pitch or a lengthy, wordy speech about yourself, your work, your life, you, you, you. Ask the other person questions. Focus on the person with whom you’re speaking. Really, truly listen. Make him/her feel important. Then let the individual ask you what you do.

Remember Tom Chiarella’s brief in Esquire on practicing graciousness: “When wandering the world, forget your business cards. Don’t look for more contacts. Instead, observe. Say hello to the people you see every day, but don’t make a fetish out of it. Stay interested in others. It bears repeating: Look around. Remember names. Remember where people were born.”

5. Call them by their first name – repeatedly.

In the words of the wise Dale Carnegie, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Repeat it once in your conversation, and always bid goodbye by calling the individual by his/her name. Most importantly, don’t let yourself forget the name immediately, so that you have to ask the person, “What’s your name again? So many faces today!” This does not make him feel important. You will impress her if you are the one who remembers.

6. Don’t immediately brush someone off.

If you approach a person who doesn’t seem to be of much potential benefit to you now, don’t immediately brush him/her off. Evolution comes into play; you may be able to use his or her services in the future. There may be someone close to you that may be interested in those services.

7. Know when to pursue.

If you and a person are hitting it off, stay there and chat for a while. Don’t rush off to meet the next contact. If you already feel like BFFs, get the person’s number and invite him/her to meet you for coffee after the next panel. Foster a better relationship with the people you click with immediately.

8. Know your boundaries. Be bold, but courteous.

Conferences usually have mingling areas for networking, and meetings often happen in the same area. Be bold, but do not approach a clearly enclosed group of people. Observe setting, seating, and body language. If these indicate a set-up meeting between two or more people, do not approach. They will consider it rude. There is a distinct line between confidently approaching a group casually mingling in conversation and rudely interrupting a clearly private meeting.

9. Befriend the people on your level. Don’t put all your energy into stalking establishing hot-shots.

Make friends with the people on your level – the start-ups, assistants, composer/songwriter peers, burgeoning bands, etc. As you progress together through your first jobs/promotions/record deals, you’ll work together, guide one another, and hook each other up. Eventually one of you will be a VP/VIP. Then you all will be directors, VPs, VIPs – you get my drift – who can help each other out. So at any conference, don’t put all your energy into seeking out the established, big-name personnel. Divide your time wisely. Take time to foster personal connections with your peers and colleagues, because those will carry with you for a long time.

10. Master the art of the follow-up.

It’s vital to make good use of the time and money you have spent attending this conference. Connect with them on LinkedIn. If you consider yourself friends with any of the individuals you meet, especially around your age, don’t be afraid to friend them on Facebook. In your follow-up email, do not contact someone unless you truly feel you could both be of mutual benefit to one another in some way, now or in the future. If you don’t ask something very specific in your email, the person will not know what to do with the email, especially if it was sent to their work email, and will delete it. Send them an email with purpose – perhaps with something to consume, such as a Dropbox link to 3 of your top tracks. And of course, don’t make your email a novel. Be concise and relevant. If you hit it off with the person, perhaps pick up the phone and call. This makes more of a statement.

 

\\ Source Symphonic Blog //

We’re excited to announce that Symphonic Distribution is an OFFICIAL sponsor of the Tampa Music Conference!

Symphonic Distribution is a digital music distributor launched in late 2006 by Jorge Brea, a former music producer from Tampa, Florida. Symphonic Distribution delivers music from independent record labels and musicians to online retailers such as Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Napster, Deezer, Pandora, Amazon, Beatport and more.

Today, the company distributes music to hundreds of retail and streaming platforms for over 10,000 record labels and artists worldwide while maintaining a personalized approach to distribution. The company continues to develop new technologies in the form of in-house systems and have expanded their offerings to include Video Distribution, Publishing Administration, Neighboring Rights, Marketing, Sync Licensing, Mastering, Web and Graphic design, YouTube monetization, Soundcloud Monetization, and Piracy Protection.

Artists and Record Labels that have had their content distributed through Symphonic Distribution include: Bassnectar, Deadmau5, Waka Flocka Flame, Datsik, The Movement, Tommie Sunshine, Richie Hawtin, Play Me Records, Moody Recordings (Bad Boy Bill), and many more of various genres and music focuses.

The company has employees in Tampa, New York, Madrid, Dominican Republic, and Pakistan.

Connect with Symphonic Distribution //

Official Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram