How To Make The Right Contacts In The Music Industry

You know that making the right music industry connections is a key factor in developing a successful music career.

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You know that making the right music industry connections is a key factor in developing a successful music career. The problem is, most people really don't know 'who' the most valuable music industry contacts are, where to find them, how to actually transform a 'first contact' into a meaningful relationship, what it really means to have the 'right connections', etc. etc.

If I gave you my complete list of music industry connections (key people I have established important relationships with), do you think it would help you develop a successful music career? NO! Why? Because a mere 'contact' is not worth anything. Contacts need to become meaningful connections. Meaningful connections are developed by building good relationships More on this later

However, even if you have good relationships with the right people, this won't help you until and unless you work on having the right things in place which enables your contacts to feel confident enough to work with you. You can see more about this specific topic in a free video on how to become a professional musician. So, who are the people you should be contacting? And when you get through to someone, what do you say to him/her? How can you make these important people pay attention to you if you don't yet have a 'name' in the music business?

Lets explore the first question Who are the people you should be contacting? To answer this, you need to ask a series of other questions such as:

  • Who are some music industry people who have great influence and power?
  • Who are the music industry people who have the greatest number of key relationships with other music industry professionals and companies?
  • Among the most important music industry people, who are the easiest to locate in your local area?
  • Who are the most accessible music industry people?
  • Who are the music industry people who you can help to solve THEIR problems and/or help them to reach their goals?

    Is there a single type of music industry person or (company) who fits ALL the above criteria? The answer is 'Yes'. And if you do not have music industry connections, this 'type of contact' may be your best place to begin So, who is this type of person or company? Record company executives? A&R people? Producers? Publishers? Managers? Entertainment Lawyers? Famous bands? No The answer is Concert Promoters.

    Serious concert promoters have massive power and influence in the music industry. They are the real entrepreneurs of the music business. They deal with thousands of very important music industry people every year such as: well known bands, record labels, artist management, tour managers, entertainment lawyers, production companies, merchandising departments, the venues, booking agents, radio stations, the press, etc. etc.

    If you live near an urban area, you won't have any trouble finding promoters who live and work locally (use Google). Unlike most other important music industry contacts, promoters are generally accessible and will be willing to talk to anyone who has 'something real' to offer them (that's where you come in).

    Generally speaking, concert promoters take on more risk than any other person or entity in the entire music industry. All promoters lose large sums of money every year (because some concerts lose money). The successful promoters make (and keep) more money than they lose throughout the year.

    What every promoter wants is a bigger and stronger team of people to help ensure that the concerts/tours they promote make more money! Obviously, it's expensive to employ a large team of experienced people. However, you can join their team (at least on a part time basis) if you are willing to volunteer, intern, or earn a small salary. You may not yet know anything about promoting tours, but some promotion companies would be eager to train you if it isn't expensive for them to do so.

    Think about it from their perspective. If you were a big time promoter taking on huge risks, wouldn't you want another person to work for you, for free or for a very low salary? Of course the answer is 'yes', even if that person could only work part time.

    Many musicians who want a music career are told to intern for a record label. The conventional wisdom is that when you do this, you will learn a lot about the music business. The reality is, most of these interns never get into a position where they can truly learn much at all as an intern. However working for a promoter, your ability to learn how the industry really works (at least on the touring and promotional side) goes way up! In addition, the number of contacts you can make are 200 times more than what you would likely make working at a record label. And compared to record labels, there is a lot less competition for internships or jobs with a promoter.

    As excited as you may now feel, knowing that you CAN actually do this. there is a catch a big one. In order to have any real chance of pursuing this opportunity and using these contacts to help launch your music career, you must work on having the right things in place which enables your music industry contacts to feel confident enough to work with you. The truth is, nothing in this article will help you until and unless you do take this step. You can see more about this specific topic in a free video on how to become a professional musician.

    About the author: Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world. Visit tomhess.net to discover highly effective music learning resources, guitar lessons, music career mentoring, and tools including free online assessments, surveys, mini courses and more.

    2008 Tom Hess Music Corporation. All Rights Reserved

  • 80 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Slash181
      Paul Tauterouff wrote:There is no cult or conspiracy here - I say in the post just before yours that I am a student of Tom's.
      one more thing.....u say this yet....ur co-manager of the whole program....surely u would know what would be said who said this btw.....'I have been studying with you than I did in the past 20-something years on my own and without any proper guidance'. answer in your own time
      baseballerpj1
      yes mom, i would like some eggs. Son, would you like any bacon with those eggs? yes, and could you put salt and pepper on those eggs? Sure son, would you like anything else? yes, i want you to love me. WELL THATS TOO FRICKEN BAD SON!!!
      baseballerpj1
      damnnnn.... you guys quoting somebody and then bagging on them is low. get a life you insecure scumbabs.... hehehehehehehehehehehhehe
      slaygod666
      well from what i get from this is that one who is looking for a chance to better there lives take notice and those who argue about it seem to miss the point...point being there are ppl out there that show the light at the end of the tunnel
      Slash181
      Paul Tauterouff wrote: Steve, Yes, you quoted a positive statement I made about Tom's program. The information that Tom put in this article about networking with promoters is new. It is not anything he has discussed in the past. That is why I did not already know it. I am co-manager of his MCMP program, but I am still studying with Tom in his advanced music career program. I have been through the regular program, know its value and like helping others. I have been a musician for over 2o years, but did not become a full time musician until recently (after studying with Tom). Prior to that I thought I would be working a day job until I died. My original point was that many of the people who are leaving positive comments are people who are in his programs. These people who know what they are like, while the ones who are slamming Hess are people who have never tried his programs - that's it in a nutshell.
      Thank you, thats what i wanted to hear. something from the heart. something in which you know u've stood ur ground for and i would say yes when i get my job back i will try. and i will let everyone know what its like. But again sorry if i sounded rude at any time steve
      Paul Tauterouff
      Steve, Yes, you quoted a positive statement I made about Tom's program. The information that Tom put in this article about networking with promoters is new. It is not anything he has discussed in the past. That is why I did not already know it. I am co-manager of his MCMP program, but I am still studying with Tom in his advanced music career program. I have been through the regular program, know its value and like helping others. I have been a musician for over 2o years, but did not become a full time musician until recently (after studying with Tom). Prior to that I thought I would be working a day job until I died. My original point was that many of the people who are leaving positive comments are people who are in his programs. These people who know what they are like, while the ones who are slamming Hess are people who have never tried his programs - that's it in a nutshell.
      Slash181
      lestat1836 wrote: you obviously have not seen his website or the things he has done or is doing.
      look who's speaking lol the troller of the internet. im sorry but most of your post's have been about Hess or that stupid youtube vid. im sorry if i offend any americans here, i realli do not wish to do that so for everyone bar this guy.....plz plz dont take this personal. But you know them christians in america who over exaggerate everything, make it more into a cult, take the piss basically and is an embarresment to god.....(im atheist btw) well you sir are very similar. To all the rest of you freinds here at UG who are 'real' then i hope people will really see that we all have opinions, we all have views on topics but i feel this is being ramned down my throat. yes i appreciate that most people are saying hess is wonderful. but....instead of me finding out bout hess in a good way, doing my personal research (Which non has come up with major things) tom has students which push others away. we all talk about music in a positive attitude, some more than others, its our life, some people only want it as a hobby (i personally do wanna aim for the industry) but you do make it sound like a cult sorry but ya do.
      baseballerpj1
      oh..... and ps all you commenters..... NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU THINK!!! unless you use 100 Dollar word like bodacious, or exstatic, things like that
      lestat1836
      you obviously have not seen his website or the things he has done or is doing.
      PyroJesus
      It's always the people whos usernames consist of first and last names that post in these articles defending Tom Hess. It's kind of suspicious really, it's rare that you see a person with a normal username defend him.
      Dear God, I see it now. Nothing but "Yes" men. Not a single person with a standard username has said a positive thing about these lessons. I've never heard of Tom Hess, and I put that down to a lack of definition on his part. I lpay the guitar as a hobby, not because I want to be famous, so I hope not to hear any "OMG I DONT SEE YOUR NAME IN LIGHTS", because I don't want that. I just think that if Hess was a musician worth his salt, he'd be out there earning a name as an amazing performer instead of giving "Free professional advice" on UG.
      Draven Grey
      Steve, not all of Tom's successful students are guitar teachers. It just so happens that a lot of them are, because they saw how to leverage their guitar playing skills to free up their time and money, and then spend more time on writing music. I don't teach guitar, but I do Artist Development Coaching. I also had a comfortable level of success for years before hiring Tom. I hired him to light a fire under me and get me back into music. He's done that quite well! I also don't want this to sound like a commercial or even bragging, but I can say with all honesty that without hiring Tom, I wouldn't have music licensed to TV, Film, and Games, nor would I be getting ready to release a solo CD, putting together a new band with people from all over the nation, playing on albums across the world, or be on an international compilation CD that's expected to reach sales of over 10K very soon. Ultimately, it wasn't Tom that did these things. However, going through his courses, having Tom as a friend, and having an incredible group of like-minded musicians right there with me, definitely has had a direct, positive impact on my music career as well as my Artist Development Business.
      Paul Tauterouff
      Steve, I appreciate you being cool. I am mainly a teacher now, but that is not all that I do. However, it is a great way to have freedom of time to work on your career. That is why many pro musicians teach. I am still working on other aspects of my career. I have a plan and am taking actions. I am working on my CD right now and will begin playing live again in 09. Here's the thing - I am 43 years old and married with thre children. I just left my day job of 15 years and am supporting my family through teaching. I make more working part time hours than I did working full time hours at my day job and I spend my work time with a guitar in my hand. A lot of what I learned from Tom in his Music Careers program helped me to learn about finances, passive income, and other things of that nature. Now I have the time to work on my music which I did not have for many years, less debt, and also the motivation and know-how to move forward from here. Another thing is that I am very happy with my life. I honestly didn't want this to sound like a commercial for Hess, but I have gotten results and changed my life thanks to him. This is why I will stand up for him when people who have never tried any of his programs knock him. I feel like I have blabbed on long enough in this post. If you have any questions about Tom's career program send me a PM here or email me and I will get back to you.
      Slash181
      Paul Tauterouff wrote: There is no cult or conspiracy here - I say in the post just before yours that I am a student of Tom's.
      yes i noticed just after the post i put on here and i apoligize for not reading all post's
      Paul Tauterouff wrote: You can talk all the crap you want, but I know the truth.
      tbf mate u do make it sound like a cult, i mean i did the test and everything and i am very interested in what tom has to offer, just the fact when i look at what students are in this program.....your all doin the same thing.....teaching, i mean just answer one question i wont be rude or arragont: is this the most you want to achieve, or havnt you got further yet in the program, or is this all that tom offers. i thought you could become succesful in the industry and tbf i could become a guitar teacher if i wanted to without knowing the right people and being a teacher for guitar isnt bout settin your goals higher and having the determination for the industry. its having a wide range of knowledge, passion and talent to teach. it would be nice to hear from one of his students, and please dont take anything ive said in the wrong way, i mean everything positivly (and any other students of his are more than happy to answer) steve
      James Scott
      RockInPeaceDime wrote: Get views on YouTube = the new way to become a productive musician. If you're good enough and make yourself available, you'll get noticed.
      I think that's true to some extent, it's certainly an important piece of the puzzle these days, but it takes more than that - how many great musicians are there jamming out on youtube who never get anywhere? Lots. Musical skill in itself is not enough for a successful music career - some might argue these days it's not even necessary...
      James Scott
      An excellent article with some real insights and geniunely new ideas - and I thought I knew a few things about the music industry! Anyone with Tom's experience and success is worth listening to - and if Rusty Cooley and Luca Turilli not only say so but do something about it, then who is anyone else to argue?
      Mike_Philippov
      Paul Tauterouff wrote: Yes Rusty Cooley is a member of the advanced version of Tom's Music Careers Program. It's not just a "course." Successful people know that there is always more to learn and continue to search for more sources of knowledge. I am positive that rusty will find great value in what he learns from Tom.
      Yes, that's true. Rusty is in Tom's program for guitar teachers too. But he is not the first sucessfull professional who came to Tom for advice. German Schauss is another guy, among others. If I remember correctly, he taught at Berklee and has done many tours and clinics around Europe. There are quite a few professional musicians who studied music biz with Tom on this page: http://tomhess.net/MCMPstudentAccomplish...
      teddytheturtle
      I'm a promoter and this article is SO true (just skip the parts about the "how to be a professional musician" video).
      ahigs
      BULLSHIT. concert promoters? i grew up surrounded my musical business. 20 years total my immediate family has spent in music business. if you had any piece of shit ideas about the music industry, you would know that concert promoters work hand in hand with the record labels to implement a long term strategy aimed to get new talent, revive old talent or strngthen existing talent. working in the concert promoters business you would learn a lot about PR, promotion, marketing etc, and yes that could be useful to dumbasses. record labels are the life and soul of the business. no new talent = no radio play = no public interest = no concerts. Its a chain, and it starts wth the record labels. yet another load of crap from tom hess.
      Red Exodus
      I have a few contacts [and one relationship, my guitar teacher does small concerts] available to me but I don't think I'm ready to call myself a musician just yet as I still have a lot of practicing to do. When the time is right I'll talk to those guys who'll probably give me more contacts. In the end the only thing that's holding me back myself since I don't have much to offer those guys yet.
      syfmyspof
      121lespaul wrote: negativity is why youll never do anything with your life. let people that wanna dream big and chase those dreams, like me for instance, chase them and dont put them down for trying because your too lazy to even try!
      +2
      121lespaul
      Helpy Helperton wrote: What ever happened to making some music and putting it online, if people like it cool if they don't lik eor don't find it who gives a shit. 95% of people wanting to 'make it big' in music won't get there. Yes that is a stat i pulled out of my ass, i just mean an overwhelming majority). Just make music because you like it, if others like it sell it to them end of. Setting your goals at *I want to play an arena of 20,000 it aint happening. For example my goals are finish an album and teach guitar.
      negativity is why youll never do anything with your life. if you dont try you make it simple as that. let people that wanna dream big and chase those dreams, like me for instance, chase them and dont put them down for trying because your too lazy to even try!
      guitarsolo_17
      this kinda thing ticks me off. The connections deal. There's this 16 year old chick guitarist who's no better than any other in our town who gets to play on radio stations, coffee shops all over the state , and it annoys the heck out of me that she's already so famous around diminuitive state of North Dakota. I personally don't deserve anything either, but there is a 24 year old guitarist in this city, who was 2 votes away from opening for Powerman 5000, and is the most incredible metal guitarist i've ever seen. No one knows him.....just cuz the connections. Gah.....the basic idea of getting noticed because of connections really pisses me off.
      lestat1836
      teddytheturtle wrote: I'm a promoter and this article is SO true (just skip the parts about the "how to be a professional musician" video).
      You're only 19 years old? no offense but i think Hess knows more than you
      syfmyspof
      mrbeetham wrote: I googled a few promoters from some local record companys and asked them if they'd like to go on a fishing trip with me this weekend. None of them were keen. Developing relationships with these people is way tougher than Tom made it sound.
      You can't really be that dumb. who are you to judge any author at UG? It is clear you aint got nothin smart to say, leave this site mrbeetham, same for you sbinlb :
      baseballerpj1
      baseballerpj1 wrote: damnnnn.... you guys quoting somebody and then bagging on them is low. get a life you insecure scumbabs.... hehehehehehehehehehehhehe
      you faggot.... we just like to quote people and bag on them to make us feel powerfull you stupid retard
      b0ch0
      If I had to promote my band, I'd let demos at radio sations... here in my country (Argentina) a few stations play unknown bands on the radio... if they're good... record labels are the ones that come to them... I guess this is the way music industry should work...
      mrbeetham
      Sweet lord, its like jesus camp in here. Who are all these desciples worshiping this Tom Hess guy??? Whos this Tom Hess guy for that matter??? I googled a few promoters from some local record companys and asked them if they'd like to go on a fishing trip with me this weekend. None of them were keen. Developing relationships with these people is way tougher than Tom made it sound.
      sbinlb
      duh its common sense. if you thin he is smart for this than you are a tard. GO AWAY TOM HESS!!!!!
      vortexpassion
      pangui wrote: Helpy Helperton wrote: What ever happened to making some music and putting it online, if people like it cool if they don't lik eor don't find it who gives a shit. 95% of people wanting to 'make it big' in music won't get there. Yes that is a stat i pulled out of my ass, i just mean an overwhelming majority). Just make music because you like it, if others like it sell it to them end of. Setting your goals at *I want to play an arena of 20,000 it aint happening. For example my goals are finish an album and teach guitar. Ok, some people actually want to make a living from their musical activities, rather than just doing it for the fun of it. Sure, you can do both at the same time, but this article isn't for people who just play music as a hobby.
      it also occurred to me that making money or a career with your music IS FUN! Duh!
      pangui
      Helpy Helperton wrote: What ever happened to making some music and putting it online, if people like it cool if they don't lik eor don't find it who gives a shit. 95% of people wanting to 'make it big' in music won't get there. Yes that is a stat i pulled out of my ass, i just mean an overwhelming majority). Just make music because you like it, if others like it sell it to them end of . Setting your goals at *I want to play an arena of 20,000 it aint happening. For example my goals are finish an album and teach guitar.
      Ok, some people actually want to make a living from their musical activities, rather than just doing it for the fun of it. Sure, you can do both at the same time, but this article isn't for people who just play music as a hobby.
      K!!LsWiTcH
      Regression wrote: It's always the people whos usernames consist of first and last names that post in these articles defending Tom Hess. It's kind of suspicious really, it's rare that you see a person with a normal username defend him.
      its horrible that everyone down the line is like that ive noticed after u sed this
      Life Is Brutal
      So you basically start out with small concerts, thats a good tip and work your way up. Thanks, helped me alot. lol.
      Paul Tauterouff
      Slash181 wrote: man this is stupid, its like a ****in cult, this guy i quoted who just said this crap is one of his students. wtf if uve gone through the program urself mate how come you have no idea lol this is crazy, hey and i thought it was gonna be gree wot as shame.....lol
      Hey Slash, that's because Tom hadn't mentioned this before. That goes to show you that there is value in the articles here at UG whether some people choose to see it or not. There is no cult or conspiracy here - I say in the post just before yours that I am a student of Tom's. I am also a full-time self-employed teacher and musician. This is 100% thanks to what I have learned from Tom. You can talk all the crap you want, but I know the truth.
      Paul Tauterouff
      I knew that promoters were important, but have never thought about developing and nuturing relationships with one!
      SmashThings
      Andy_Mclaughlan wrote: Well Tom yet again you have given me another awesome idea. Great article!
      This way YOU can be like Tom Hess as well!
      Dan Klein
      Tom Hess is a top shelf player and instructor that KNOWS the business. I went through many instructors trying to find just one that really knew how to teach properly, and Tom is that guy! Anything he has to say we all would do well to ear up! Tks for the free advice Tom!
      pandora_grunt
      Well... thw concert promoter thingy was good. And it wasn't shameless advertising as usual. Who are you, and what did you do to Tom Hess?
      Dan Weiler
      SmashThings wrote: Andy_Mclaughlan wrote: Well Tom yet again you have given me another awesome idea. Great article! This way YOU can be like Tom Hess as well!
      Well Tom Hess Doesn't seem to being doing too bad. I would like to see how you are doing.
      Jonny_V
      Good stuff. It's worth keeping on good terms with these people. It always amazes me how bands don't seem to get this.