A Musician’s Best Friend: The Top 10

Making friends at the right places and building connections is crucial to your progress and success as an artist. That’s why we are often reminded musicians to be kind to all and do their best to always leave a positive impression of themselves.

Today we’ll take a look at the top 10 key people and contacts that will open doors for you in the long term.

Don’t miss The MEGA Starting a Band Checklist to follow and get your career on track!

#10 The Doorman

For an amateur band, a doorman (or bouncer) offers permission for entrance and the extra security and protection a band would need.

These guys don’t only take the money and sell the tickets, but they also take care of the audience – AKA your guests.

Being a doorman is often not an appreciative job and I always try to pay extra attention to them, and perhaps also buy them a drink after their shift.

Having the doorman on your side allows you to bring your crew in through the back door, where in many cases they will need to pay door fees.

#9 The Barman

A barman at your service allows you to be taken care of for the night. You should always negotiate to have a meal and a few drinks as a minimum payment for your performance, but the barman taking care of you and your band means no more standing in the queues at your own concerts.

Befriending the barman and waiters also leads to your good reputation at a venue. They often put in a good word for you at the venue manager which often leads to more bookings.

This article was written and published by De Wet from startingmyband.com on 27.09.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere other than on my website.

Here, I even went as far as supporting the venue and bar with promotion by wearing the shirt.

#8 The Venue Manager

Having the venue managers at your side is golden, especially if you’d like to perform more regularly, get better ratings as a band, and open for higher-profile artists.

Their opinion of you very often depends on your friendly and cooperativeness, your flexibility to the change of line ups, and the level of behaviour maintenance. On top of that, you can also count the amount of guests, visitors or fans you bring into the venue.

The venue managers understand that the beginner bands don’t bring in a huge amount of passionate fans, therefore I recommend that you perform together with buddy bands in order to sell the minimum amount of tickets for the evening.

I wrote The Guide to Organise an Amateur Band Night for Charity which you can still find here for free 🙂

#7 A Contact From Your Local Instrument Store

All musicians love a good instrument deal. I know exactly when my local store has sales, and I truly save and stock up during these sales.

I visit the instrument store quite regularly, even if it’s to chat with the staff, check out any new flyers for opportunities and keep an ear on the ground for anything that will help my band progress.

I often walk out with old stock that they want to get rid of for the cheapest of prices.

Make sure that you know when the next sale will be on so that you can be there early and get the gear that you need.

#6 A Distribution Expert

Having support from an expert in the distribution department is worth gold when you are releasing music. Even though you can do it all yourself these days, a distribution specialist help you with the timing, a release plan, and for you to stand the highest chance of reaching chart status.

We are moving into an era where having a label is less important since we can do most of the work of a label ourselves, therefore we can still benefit from the skills and contacts that a distribution deal can offer us.

I have friends who run their own distribution as well. They do a good job of it, but they do not receive the same exposure as the artists who run this process themselves.

I am really grateful for our distribution deal since my band has had a single still on the Rock Charts for about 3 months now! It’s truly awesome! 🙂

#5 Session Musicians

Make friends with plenty of other musicians. We should make peace with the fact that we are all replaceable. Who will take your place if you can perform a gig?

It is perhaps good for all musicians to have a backup buddy who can take their place during a performance to make sure that a show needs to be cancelled because of unforeseen circumstances.

Also during recording. I want to save time in the studio, so I have experts who take a quarter of the time it would take me to record my tracks and layers. Session musicians are generally expensive, but there’s always an option to make a cash deal for a friend.

In fact, it’s a fantastically profitable side hustle for you to do session recording and performances as well! If you are interested in more info on side hustles for musicians, don’t miss my article called 13 Best Side Jobs for Musicians here.

I am privileged to have great friends in the industry. Some of them make music for a living by teaching, and performing and often find themselves in the studio recording session work.

#4 A Media Contact

To grow your popularity in your industry, it’s good to start local and do something newsworthy.

As soon as you release a single, make sure that your local newspaper is aware of this. Even if they only write a tiny article about you, it’s already a good start to build contacts.

Send your EPK, a list of your next performances, and pictures that accurately present you as a musician. These will all help a journalist with easy and rapid publications.

If you make someone’s job easier, you’re more likely to reconnect.

De Wet Kruger

Reach out to radio stations and podcasters for interviews to promote your music. This will inform people of your existence and promote your music. If you’d like to prepare for an interview, check out my article Rock your Radio Interviews for Bands and Musicians.

#3 A Photographer and Videographer

In the modern day of marketing and promotion, what you can present visually is the ultimate key to success.

From your first performance, try to organise an amateur photographer and a videographer present to capture and document as much as possible.

Video footage is crucial for social media promotion, music video possibilities, and especially to reflect after your concert about what went well or what needs to change.

I watched a previous recording of my band today where I immediately saw some cringe moments about myself that I would like to improve on for the next shows.

If all musicians can view video footage of themselves after performances like sports professionals then our level of performance would increase and we’d always have quality performers on stage.

Photos are equally crucial for posters, album covers, social media content and archive content for future reference.

Make sure that you treat your cameramen with love and respect. Buy them beer and thank them on stage for their voluntary work.

Have a list of names of all the cameramen you like to work with. Have a Google Drive shared folder so that you can receive the content as soon as possible.

#2 An Experienced Sound Engineer

I just watched a previous gig where every member of my band literally begged the sound engineer to increase the volume of the backup vocals. In the end, we ended up laughing at the situation because there’s just nothing else you can do about it but laugh and continue your performance.

The moment we started to tour with our very own sound engineer who knows our sound and style, our whole mix and audience reaction became increasingly better and more professional because finally, all the band members could hear each other.

A sound engineer has the power to make you sound great or absolutely terrible. Make solid connections with the ones that do a good job. Your live performances are way too valuable to be influenced by an outside party.

Start the process of making a positive impression with sound engineers by having a flawless sound check. For more tips and info, check out my article called Successful Sound Check for Bands.

#1 Your Fans and Audience

Your following and your fans are the result of your music. You will rate your success by how filled your venues are and your bookings will stream in from areas where your popularity has grown.

Make the biggest effort to give your fans the greatest experience for coming out to see you perform and offer them every opportunity to interact and spend time with you.

Hand out some freebies and memorabilia so that you will be remembered and give your fans the chance to show the public that they are proud to be associated with you.

It’s the greatest honour seeing a random fan wearing your band shirt in public, or having your badge on their bag and you witness it!

Scan through my article Modern Methods of Merchandise to Monetize Your Music for more info and insight!

I hope you found what you were looking for!

Keep well and Rock On!!

For a next read check out these relevant articles:

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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