The single most important thing I’ve learned in this industry is the power of community. This one, often overused concept can actually change everything.
Community is giving up the notion that we’re better off alone and embracing that we’re stronger together — and then making it happen. It’s taking the time to talk to newcomers and tell them what you know so that they, too, can experience success (but maybe struggle a little less). It’s hooking another band up with a great opportunity because there’s a lot to go around, and you’re not losing an opportunity just because you help someone gain one. It’s getting out into your local music scene and meeting people face-to-face, creating bonds, and establishing friendships.
There are so many ways to get started building a community within your own circle. Here are just a few tips to get you started.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “Beyond the Boys Club: Striving For Diversity and Inclusion in Experimental Music”
1. Attend a Meetup
There’s a slew of meetups out there for musicians and industry folk looking to mingle or form a new band. Many spread simply through word of mouth, while others can be found through Facebook groups, meetup.com, and some good ol’ savvy Googling.
If you can’t find a meetup in your area that suits your needs, start your own! It’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds and can be as simple as asking around in different Facebook groups to find out who lives nearby then suggesting a get-together. You can do this in your hometown or even add it into your travel plans.
In fact, I just did this on a recent trip to DC where I met six new people I’d never have known otherwise and had a blast! Getting in front of people is my biggest recommendation for making strong, lasting bonds. So, as tempting as it may be to stay behind the computer, this is the one I encourage the most. Make it fun, and it won’t feel like work!
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2. Leverage Your Social Media
As powerful as face-to-face contact is, there’s no denying the influence that social media has had on our social connectivity and how easy it is to use to our advantage. One of my favorite ways to connect online is through Facebook groups. There’s honestly a group for everything, including your city’s music scene and groups for music journalists, music industry professionals, pop-punk artists, math rock aficionados — it’s all out there.
Do a little bit of digging or, if you already have industry connections, ask your friends which social media groups they’d recommend. Once you’ve found a good group, don’t forget about the next tip….
+ Read more on Flypaper: “How to Build Your Online Presence and Portfolio Before a Tour”
3. Give More Than You Take
The number-one rule I follow when community building and networking is to give more than I take. If you’re able to go to a meetup or join a Facebook group or forum and seek out places where you can share your knowledge with someone who needs it (and not expect anything in return), you’ll begin to foster a real sense of community and create bonds much deeper and more authentic than just throwing your business card at someone.
Helping others is at the crux of community building, and you’ll find that the more you put yourself out there and help others, the more credibility and visibility you’ll build for yourself and your cause. (Whether that’s your music, your business, or something else.)
The truth is that with community comes everything else. The gigs, the press, the organic networking — it’s all there just waiting for us, but until we come together as a team instead of competing against one another, we can’t really access all the things we desire. At least not without a fight. I don’t know about you, but if I have the choice of fighting my way tooth and nail to the top or getting there with friends, I choose the latter.
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