– An excerpt from The New Rockstar Philosophy book out in March 2009–
Showcases are different from typical shows in that the show is probably the easiest thing you do.
Much of the work happens prior to going, because the point of showcasing is not only to play well, but to initiate a relationship that will be fruitful.
So before you get to Austin, New York or wherever, you should know a few things:
Why are you going?
The days of unknown bands getting million dollar deals are over. Many industry people have tight schedules at these events, so getting them to come to a new show will take some coaxing. The more buzz you have, the easier it is to get the right people out.
Industry people not only need to hit all of the “important” band shows, but they also need to attended industry events, where they can consume as much free food and alcohol as humanly possible.
So instead of expecting to get signed at a music conference, have goals that are slightly more realistic, do-able, and specific to your situation. That way the reasons for going to the conference will be clear and achievable.
Pick 3 People
With numerous industry people attending these conferences, talking to all of them is unrealistic.
Pick 3 main people who you want to get in touch with, focus on them. You need to work pre-conference to make these connections happen, and you have to be persistent. Keep at it until it’s done.
1. Find out what companies/agencies are coming, and then find out whom their representatives are.
2. Send an email a month or so in advance of the conference. With all the info on your showcase and your band.
3. If you don’t hear back within 2 weeks, send a follow-up (these people are busy). If you still don’t hear from them, look for them at the conference. Know what you want to talk about and get to the point.
4. Finally Google image their names to find a face you can match to the name. Google image doesn’t always work, but having a visual on your target will help you find them.
Who you pick to meet is up to you; conferences are music industry melting pots. Everyone is there, and if the person who your looking for is not there, someone at the conference will know how to get in touch with them.
After that it’s just as important to be in the right place at the right time. Make a schedule of which conference panels/events you want to attend, and the people you want to meet at each one… remember to get there on time.
and a final note on . . . The Magical Hotel Lobby
Typically conferences such as SXSW and CMJ have designated hotels where industry people get discounted rates and hang out. If you know whom you want to contact and have a visual on them, you can swing by the lobby, or hang out in the hotel bar and await their arrival. Be prepared for a waiting game but if the person is important enough to you then it could be worth it. It may sound creepy and slightly stalker-esq but it does work.
Take Control of Your Music,