Tips for Successful Music Networking and Building Industry Connections

Networking 1

Networking is a key skill for any aspiring music industry professional to develop in the digital age. If you want to find out more about the best ways to hone your networking abilities and forge industry connections, then check out our Music Business programme. Read our guide below for some essential do’s and don’ts…

For bands, artists, and music industry professionals, networking is a core skill that needs to be honed.

Why? Well the age old adage, it’s not what you know but who you know does ring true within this sector and can go some way to help you develop a successful music career.

Of course, it’s important to craft your abilities in your chosen area of the music industry. But this business can also be based on relationships and knowing the right people.

By being personable, friendly and able to forge meaningful connections, you will be able to build a network in the music industry that will hopefully set you up for a successful music career.

Duncan Lewis, SAE Music Business Tutor based at our Liverpool campus, said: “From the moment they start, we urge SAE students to get out there, to have the courage to step outside the student bubble and speak with people. Introduce yourself, say hello and see how you can help. Which goes further than asking, ‘have you got anything for me’.”

So how do you begin networking in the music industry? From attending industry events to finding the right online platforms, let’s find out more in our guide…

Music Industry Networking

Meeting the right people at the right time in your career can help you build your network and facilitate more opportunities for you to develop your career.

Like other creative industries, not all opportunities or job roles are advertised on traditional job sites like Indeed or professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Instead, many opportunities can come through networks. Which is why you need to prioritise expanding your professional social circle from the get-go.

Your music career and networking

Networking is about building long-term relationships and a good reputation among influencers, industry professionals and anyone else who might be able to support you in your professional work.

It’s important to remember that the best forms of networking are two-way – you should meet and get to know people who you can assist and support.

How music industry networking works

Music industry networking revolves around meeting new people, getting to know them, and their work. To build meaningful relationships with fellow professionals, you need to find common ground to establish trust and a rapport.

The more connections you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to succeed. The more people you know, the more likely you will find someone to help you get where you want to go. You’ll also be able to recommend other professionals and share their details and experience when someone within your network is looking for a specific skill set.

Networking tips: how to make connections in the music industry


From using social media platforms to attending industry events, there are plenty of ways to network in the music industry.

Here are some tips on the most effective ways to engage with others.

Leveraging your existing network for introductions and referrals

Your networking journey should begin by leaning on any existing relationships.

By building on connections with professionals you already know, then they will be able to introduce you to other like-minded professionals.

Explore your local music scene

Your local music scene is a great place to begin expanding your network so get out to live gigs and introduce yourself to other attendees. Building relationships with fellow musicians, promoters or other gig-goers can create strong relationships within your local music community. These can be an essential foundation of a robust network.

social media: follow professionals and key influencers

Social media platforms can play an invaluable role in helping your online networking. Social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter are free to set up and can be a great way of making connections with leading professionals.

You can make sure anyone you want to connect with becomes familiar with your name just by following or engaging with them online. This can come through liking Tweets or starting a dialogue by replying to their comments. Try to get involved in music-related discussions too – especially on music industry Discord servers, Reddit threads and relevant Facebook groups.

Effective social media networking involves joining conversations, appearing genuinely interested in others and providing valuable insights where you can. This can be key to nurturing successful relationships.

Know what you are about

Always carry your business cards or similar with you at networking events. This can demonstrate your professionalism and show that you are serious about establishing new connections.

If someone asks you for an elevator pitch on you or your business, then always have something on hand to say. If you’re not a natural when it comes to small talk, then make sure you memorise a few questions or some facts so you have plenty to discuss. 

Networking events

There are hundreds of music industry networking events and industry conferences of all sizes taking place across the country, from small gigs, to conferences.

Before going to an event, have a plan on what you want to achieve – perhaps it is meeting a potential collaborator or business professional. Sometimes, giving yourself a target of how many people you want to meet can be motivation to talk to people. Remember to exchange contact information, such as email addresses or social media handles.

Manners matter

Remember that the music industry is smaller than you might think – and word will get around surprisingly quickly if someone is not friendly.

Introduce yourself politely, listen to other people’s opinions, and make sure you make a great first impression. Nobody wants to talk to anyone who comes across as arrogant or surly. 

Secure a mentor

Having a mentor in the industry can be incredibly helpful when it comes to navigating the music business as they can offer valuable insights into how you can conduct yourself and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

Take the time to find someone who you respect and admire and who can offer you the kind of guidance that you need as well as potentially open doors. Having a mentor in your corner whose expertise you can draw on is a great resource.

Common networking mistakes

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There are plenty of mistakes made by those networking in the music industry.

When striking up meaningful conversations with other musicians or just trying to find other professionals in online communities, here are some common errors to avoid.

Don’t push or sell too hard

There is a difference between between being persistent and being overly pushy when it comes to building connections.

If you are trying to make contact on social media with other professionals, then remember not to come on too strong. You want people to remember you as a positive presence rather than someone they want to try and avoid.

Asking for something before offering your services

Remember, you can very rarely expect to receive without giving anything first.

Show your value to a potential contact and demonstrate how you can help them, preferably without asking for anything in return. Then further down the line, you can ask them for support or assistance.

Balancing networking efforts with creative work and career goals

When starting out on your music industry journey, you should make sure you split your time between your creative work and networking efforts.

Of course, it can be tempting to devote yourself to constant online networking as social media platforms are easy to use and industry professionals are accessible.

However, you need to remember to maintain your creative work too – so when the right record label executives, music journalists or music producers come along, you have the content to demonstrate your value as a connection.

Research the right event and artists to connect with you for you

One of the biggest challenges is finding the right person to connect with. So before you book yourself tickets for a networking event, try and find a list of attendees, companies or speakers who will be at an event.

You should also ensure that any event you do attend is relevant to the area of the industry you want to focus on. For example, if you’re trying to forge a career in heavy metal, then there is no point in attending any industry events devoted to folk music.

Follow up 

Once you’ve made an important connection and exchanged details, it might be tempting to just sit back and wait for your new contact to get in touch with you.

Often, however, music industry professionals have busy schedules and you might slip their mind. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a polite email or phone call. You need to keep your name in their mind in a positive way… Good luck out there!

Study Music Business at SAE

At SAE, our Music Business Degree can help students learn the best ways to develop a network in the music industry.

As we’ve seen above, it’s an essential skill that will take you a long way on your journey within the sector.

Honing this ability alongside discovering more about various areas of the business such as publishing, copyright and more will give you the edge when it comes to forging your own path or looking for music industry opportunities.

Get in touch with our team to find out more.

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