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Networking and Conquering the Clubs

7Networking_1There's no better way to get your name out in the music scene than to network. It sounds like a cliche, sure, but meeting people is pretty much the only option if you want to advance the career of your band. Easier said than done, right? The mere idea of networking in the music scene is intimidating; all that approaching and cold-calling, it raises insecurities in even the most confident of musicians. But it's got to be done in order to conquer the rock clubs and make your band a prominent, and undeniable, member of the music scene. And while networking isn't exactly a science, there are a few points you'd do good to remember.

Create a Buzz

If your band is new to the local music scene, buzz will quickly become your best friend. It spreads like wildfire and significantly reduces the amount of networking you'll have to do completely on your own. Before hitting up some of the bigger rock clubs, get your CD or demo to prominent people in the music community: music journalists, radio station managers (or even interns), independent club promoters. Think outside the box; who really has a say in what the music scene listens to? Music store owners, for instance, are notoriously influential, but tend to remain sort of on the outside when musicians think about networking. And don't forget to approach other local bands. If they like what you're doing, they'll often refer you to music clubs or request that you be added to a show they've already booked.

Wow the Promoters

The thing about promoters at prominent rock clubs is that they're often immune to the marketing wiles of new musicians. These people are incredibly busy; they receive tons of press kits and show requests everyday from new bands, the vast majority of which are completely unremarkable. In order to truly wow the music clubs, you've got to step it up a notch. Revamp your press kit to be as professional and unique as possible; include bios, quote sheets and tour histories with your band's logo as the letterhead, spend the few extra dollars on high-quality press photos, even make unique artwork for your demo cover. Just make sure to not be obnoxious or too over-the-top. Few things are more annoying to rock clubs than an overly flashy band with an entirely unwarranted ego.

Another way to get into a rock club's good graces is to request a show with a band who has frequently played there, so get in touch with your friends in the music scene. Music club promoters will pay way more attention to a group if they're coming in on the heels of a band they already know and trust, and they'll be far more likely to offer you another gig if they like your music.

And always, always be as easy to work with as possible. Once you're offered a gig at a great rock club, don't put any unreasonable demands on the promoter. Do as much publicity for it as you possibly can and generally make the promoter's job a million times easier. You'll quickly get a reputation for being a real team player, which counts for just as much in a promoter's eyes as the music itself.

Keep 'Em Happy

Don't think you're done with the networking just yet. Now that you've landed the gig, you've got to live up to the hype, and that can be the most difficult part of all. Audiences, after all, don't just magically show up to rock clubs; you've got to give them a good reason to be there. Promote your show like there's no tomorrow. Network with music editors and writers and try to get at least a write-up in the local papers, inform radio stations of the event and ask if they'll mention it once or twice on the air, and post fliers for the gig all over town. Call everyone you know in the music scene to let them know about the gig and ask them to tell another person. Create yourself an audience out of thin air.

Audiences aren't the only people you've got to keep happy, however; this all goes double for the music club promoter. Do exactly what he or she asks of you. Show up on time (or a little bit early), set up and break down as quickly as you can, play when and for how long the promoter requests. The more reason you give them to love you as business associates, the less it'll matter that they barely know you at all. And if you bring tons of people into their club, they'll continually call on you to open, or maybe even headline, gigs. It's an entirely win-win situation. See? Networking, intimidating or not, does truly have its benefits.

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