All people that work in the music industry rely on contacts that they have developed over many years. There is the common misconception that this list of contacts can instantly make bands successful, via a network of mutual back-scratching. However the main function that the list of contacts serves is established communication, allowing them to find out about tour supports first, ask advice regarding releases and share recommendations on who to use for outside services.
Take a step back. You are a new band or manager (0-3 years old) and are about to release some music. You so far have struggled to build contacts throughout the industry outside of your local scene. However, you are in a great position to build that little black book of contacts (now an Excel spreadsheet) and here is how you do it.
1. Make a list of all the managers, music journos, booking agents and label reps that you can find on websites, band contact pages and facebook pages (its amazing what you can find when you start digging). Nobody is too senior or too junior to write down.
2. Upload your music to soundcloud, bandcamp or any other streaming service that has a private share ability.
3. Keep it unreleased.
4. Share the private link to all the contacts you have noted down, under the premise that it is unreleased and that you are seeking their opinion on the production and marketability of the tracks.
5. Follow them up with one phone call/email a week later if you get no response and make sure you leave a message.
You will be amazed at how many people get back to you, as everyone in the industry has an opinion and likes to offer it when asked. However, the key to this exercise is not to get the feedback from the industry professional, but to open the communication channel with them. It’s likely they will come back with some sort of constructive feedback, which is great for future recordings. Here is the last and most important step;
6. Thank them politely regardless of their feedback, and let them know how much you appreciate it. Then close the email by letting them know that you will keep them in the loop on further developments. You have left the conversation open, allowing further dialogue about future successes from either person.
Keep track of where the dialogue got to in your excel spreadsheet. You now have made the very first step in building what could be the most important tool in your belt as a band or manager.