The One Word We All Fear

music_networkingNetworking.

As home studio artists, we’re used to doing stuff by ourselves.

We practice our instruments. We learn how to record and mix. We work on projects.

But generally, we’re not that good at getting other people involved in the process.

I’m no exception. I released an EP last year. All of the parts were recorded by me.

I told myself that I wasn’t going to do that again. Next time, I was going to make sure to have other people involved in the process instead of doing it all myself.

Well guess what? I have another EP coming out very soon, and guess who recorded everything again? Yep. Me.

Now, collaboration is one thing. I’m not that good at it, but I feel like I’m improving in some key areas.

But networking? That’s another ball game.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about: when I say networking, I’m talking about going to an event, mingling, talking to strangers, making small talk, and leaving with more connections than when you came in.

It’s terrifying. At least it is to me.

But oh man, it’s so important.

In many aspects of life, it’s not so much about what you know, but who you know.

Whether you’re trying to start making money on your music, get more gigs, or just get better at making your own music in your studio, networking is so important. Going out to places where you can meet real people and have real conversations can be a game changer. You never know who you’re going to meet, what you’re going to learn, or what opportunity you’re going to run across.

I recently stepped way outside of my comfort zone as far as networking goes. I actually went to a conference for bloggers called BlogJam (@blogjam2015). It was a day-long event for bloggers, and as it turns out, it was pretty fantastic.

It helps that I had a friend who went with me, but even so, I met some great people and learned lots of new things.

Most importantly, I stepped outside my comfort zone, did something new, got out of the studio, and interacted with real people.

I encourage you to do that as well. Maybe a bloggers conference is not the kind of thing you’re interested in. But maybe there’s a songwriter meetup in your area. Maybe there’s a regular jam session you can join. Maybe there’s a music conference, or even a recording conference you could take in.

Get out there and meet some people. Get involved in the community. Get to know people, and let people get to know you. You might be surprised and pleased with the results.

What do you think? Do you struggle to meet new people as well? Do you find it hard to include people in your recording process? Let me know in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “The One Word We All Fear

  1. I feel where your coming from. I hate networking but it is something that I am working on. Im in the (lab) studio for days at a time but networking is where all the hard work pays off bit still I hate to do it lol
    So here’s to getting out of the comfort zone
    P.S. I tried the 4 hour mix that you posted a while back and it helped out alot. Went from 8-10 hours on a mix to 4-5 hours and my mix sound better. I just finished a song for a client about three days ago. Ti me I felt like the mix need more work but I let the client and a few others and the loved it I guess im my biggest credit. Anyway thank for the advice

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    1. Hey Marlon,

      You’re so right. Networking is hard. But it totally pays off. People don’t do great work alone. People do great work with other people. It’s so important to meet other people and build relationships. That’s when things go from good to great.

      Awesome that the 4-hour mix challenge worked so well for you! And especially good that your client liked it as well! I hope the idea continues to serve you well, and save you time. It certainly has for me! 🙂

      Have a good one!
      Alex

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  2. Hi Alex,

    Before reading my comment, you should know, that, like most of you, my budget for a production is close to zero. If I have to pay someone 100USD, it literally means, I have to calculate, if I can afford it or maybe have to postpone it till next month….

    Being a very communicative person (in other words, I talk too much ;-), connecting with people isn’t that hard for me. Since I started recording/mixing about three years ago, I immediately searched the internet for musicians, sent them a mail and asked them, if they were willing to add their craft to my songs (for a small amount). Writing, recording, playing guitar, singing lead vocals, programming drums is my job but I don’t play pedalsteel, fiddle or piano or backing vocals. You will wonder, how thrilled your collegues (a few hundred miles away) will be, to get a request like that.

    Besides that, I still do live gigs with various bands and, when I like the way they play, I ask them, if they would like to have a listen to my track, because I would like to hear their (professional) opinion. It’s amazing how they react and many times offer, to play on the next track…. just to be part of the project!

    Recently I met a drummer, who’s in recording as well. We sent us our songs and spoke free about what we thought was good and not so good. He offered to play drums on my new songs (he records at his homestudio and sends it to me). In return, I play guitar on his tracks (bartering, like in the old days).

    Last years I met two female singers during a Rock-Workshop. They sing backinvocals on three of my songs already and more will follow. Since they didn’t want to be paid, I offered both of them, to record a song they would like to sing (so two songs). The extra benefit of it, is that I will get more experience with ‘external’ artists, recording in MY homestudio, working to their demands/wishes.

    On your article about time-managent/deadlines a few months ago, I got into contact with Kaitav from India. Today we have regular contact through mail and/or facebook and also comment on eachothers tracks (new and old).

    Especially looking for musicians on YouTube/Internet is an easy way to get into contact with other musicians, even for shy people :-). Be polite, honest, friendly. When you think, she/he plays amazing …..(fill in the gap), then tell them from the heart, that you think they’re amazing. The great thing about it is, that you will have skills, that the other person doesn’t have, so she/he might be surprised too, to be asked by someone with your talent. Even if they want to get paid for the job, hey, that’s only fair. I didn’t pay more than about 50 USD for a single track, most of the time less. Therefore I get high qualty recordings of instruments (most of the time their unique setup is built around their special equipment), played by peoplke who DO play the instrument (instead of me, trying to fake a fiddle with a keyboard) and (for the big win)…..IN LESS TIME!!!

    I hope, some of it was helpfull.

    Have a great day!

    Pete

    PS: once a muscian wanted about 400 USD (yes, fourhundred!!!!!!) for one track in a 3 1/2 minute song. I turned him down….. He wasn’t even famous 😉

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    1. Wow Pete, thanks for the comment!

      I think it’s awesome that you’ve been working with a bunch of musicians. It’s definitely a lesson a bunch of us need to learn, myself included.

      I like what you said about having other musicians even just listen to your track and see what they think. A while back I had a friend come over who was playing at a coffee house. He had a cover that he was going to play, but couldn’t quite figure out the arrangement. It was a really cool process, working with him to sort out arrangement, instrumentation, etc. Neither of us would have gotten anything nearly as good figured out on our own. Just being in the same room together, trying things out, and working it all out was a really helpful and creative process.

      I like the “bartering” idea. I definitely have a problem with budget too, as I’m sure many of us do.

      Kaitav is a great guy. And his music rocks. I have great respect for that guy 🙂

      As you said: the key is to be polite, honest, and friendly. Don’t get to know someone just because you want them to help you in some way. They’ll sense the ulterior motive right away. Just be genuine. Get to know them because you want to, or find them interesting. Help them out if you can. The rest will sort itself out.

      Thanks for the discussion, man. Greatly appreciated 🙂

      Alex

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