You’ve written some songs and recorded a few demos. Now what?
I know you weren’t planning on just holing up in your basement, posting them to SoundCloud, and hoping for the best—right?
Unfortunately, good music doesn’t just rise to the top. A successful career depends on your ability to meet and connect with other people. How can you quickly expand your musical network?
Gigging is a requirement, not a recommendation.
The best way to avoid holing up is to simply not hole up. If you want to expand your musical network, start performing live as soon as possible. Open mics are a great way to start out since you don’t have to be established to play at one, and they’re usually pretty casual. Performing can be intimidating if you’re new to it, but it’s one of the best ways to meet other musicians, managers, and collaborators.
Your local community is good, actually.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in your local scene beyond performing. Volunteer at a festival, usher for a concert, handout flyers on a street team—whatever you can find. Most importantly, go to shows. No, not Billie Eilish’s arena show on her world tour. While fun, it will do a lot less to expand your musical network than stopping by your local dive bar on a Friday night. These smaller venues are where your peers (i.e. potential collaborators) are, which makes them more valuable from a networking perspective.
If you want to play at a particular venue, you should probably be going to shows there. Like, a lot. Get to know the mixer, learn the bouncer’s name, chat with the bartender (don’t be weird). A venue is more likely to book someone they’re familiar with. Finally, go to shows where the people you want to work with are. If you need a string quartet for your upcoming project, for instance, it might be helpful to forego the thrash metal concert and find a chamber music recital or two.
Meet strangers on the internet.
Like physical communities, virtual ones can be a wealth of connections. Find a musicians’ Facebook group, Discord server, or Reddit forum and actually engage with people on it. Ask questions, leave notes of encouragement, and give feedback on the work people share. Facebook groups are great for connecting with people in your city, which likely has its own local musicians page. Remote collaboration is more common than ever, so don’t downplay the possibility of finding genuine connections online.
Tonic Audio is committed to developing connection and collaboration between musicians. Learn more about the app at tonicaudio.com.