Hello you beautiful music creatives, it's Mack here, founder of Musician Guidance : )
Over the last several years, I have been extremely grateful and fortunate to meet with some of the most successful people, brands and icons in the music industry.
My first meeting as a fresh 20 year old was with Snoop Dogg's team member, in which I probably set the world record for most sweat lost in 15 minutes...
Since then, I've somehow convinced hundreds of music professionals & business people to meet with me, and hear me out.
Over the years, I've learned some valuable lessons, which I wish I knew when I was first starting out, and so, that is exactly what I will share in this blog.
Here are 8 things I learned after working with influential music experts.
1 - Your Story & Who You Are Is Important
When I secured a meeting, the last thing I did was share about myself, because, well... I didn't come from a background in music, nor had a achieved anything remarkable at the time. For these reasons, I skipped past an introduction, but what I found was that I would always be asked to share about myself - not a whole life story, (because if you share too much, they’ll walk away) but a few sentences on who you are, and what you are wanting to achieve. This is for many reasons.
1) The first being stories sell. Beyond your music, fans will fall in love with the creative behind the music. Having a great story makes your music even more desirable (to those trying to sell it).
2) The second being, by learning about your story, your mission and who you, they receive a really good idea into whether or not you’re an odd ball, have an ego, are cocky, or whether you’re someone they could work with (and want to work with).
3) They have a brand or reputation to maintain. So... before working with you, or even entering into a conversation with you, they want to know that you’re someone they would not mind the public knowing that you’re working with.
2 - Follow ups are mandatory.
It's no secret that people are busy, and especially those at the top of the music industry that I was trying to get in contact with.
I assumed however that not getting a reply meant they were not interested, but no... well, not always. Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.
More often than not, the people I was trying to reach, and the people you are trying to reach may open your email when they're not in the right headspace to reply, or they open it and then get pulled to do something urgent, and because your message is not a priority to them, they forget to get back to you.
As a result, follow ups will be your best friend.
I’ve been known to send 10 follow ups before hearing back. Now... ten is a lot, and I would never send 10 to someone I had never talked to before, but please note, follow ups are a necessity.
I understand sending follow ups again and again can be quite daunting and it's no secret that some people will tell you to "take a hike" or to "F off," but most will politely reject you, and some will provide you what you're looking for.
In essence, close mouths don't get fed!
3 - Know your worth.
When I was starting out, one of the first calls I had was with a former team member of Snoop Dogg's. As you read in the introduction, I was sweating bullets during that call because I felt like I was wasting their precious time.
The reality of it was that I was actually providing a proposal to them, which was of value to them, because otherwise I would not have got the call in the first place.
So as soon as I shifted my focus from not wanting to waste their time, to knowing my worth and place in the room so to speak, I was able to communicate more confidently and work towards a deal, which brings me to my next point...
4 - Professionals want to make a deal, even labels.
I am honestly not sure if there is an industry where you’ll hear “no” more than the music industry, maybe acting? Regardless, for that reason, when I was starting out, I felt like people, (or companies) would look for a reason to say "no," but that’s simply not the case.
Don’t get me wrong, many people will say no, just so they don’t have to deal with you, but many will want to make something happen. Record labels for example would do not want to spend money on finding and developing talent.
If they could sign the first artist they saw and make a stupid amount of money off them, they would. The reality is there is a lot of due diligence to do, but they’re not looking for a reason to say "no." They're looking for a reason to say "yes," but again... it has to make sense to them.
So as soon as I changed my mindset from professionals want to say "no" to me to, they want to make a deal, I made more deals, because rather than it being a one sided pitch (or sales meeting), I opened up the conversation to hear from them.
It then became, working with them, to come to a mutually beneficial solution.
5 - Superstars are human too.
I think we’ve all been starstruck by someone in our life, and as hard as it may be to believe, these idols we look up to are just like us. They also struggle with their own internal battles.
They go to bed at the end of the day, just like us. They get nervous in situations, just like us.
I know that's obvious, but I personally did not truly understand it for a while, because of the lifestyle & fame they have.
However, when I eventually realized that they're just like you and I, I was able to build common ground with them, and have more meaningful conversations.
A really bad example is rather than saying “OMG, I just saw you in concert and loved it,” I will ask a question, such as, “what do you do on the tour bus when you're travelling for hours each day?"
Form that, I am able to build common ground, because I have never performed in front of 30,000 plus people, so the last thing I can do is relate to them regarding that. I have however, been bored on long car rides, so that's where I can build common ground, and also joke about it.
One side note to mention is that not all conversations will lead to something, but by building relationships through common ground, you now have an "in" for something further down the line.
The moral of the story is we’re all humans, build common ground, and you'll have a lasting relationship.
6 - Superstars are not above us.
Similarly to number #5, superstars are not above us. Maybe they have more followers, or have done more in certain spaces, or have more money than us, but we're all equals.
For example, some of the most successful people that I have connected with are the ones to ask me how my weekend was.
Do they really care how my weekend was? No. Zero chance, but my point is, they value a relationship with us, as much as we value one with them.
They want to help us, or they want to connect with us as much as we want their help, or as much as we want to connect with them.
Are there outliers, of course, but for the majority, that is what I have learned.
7 - When you get a "no," there’s a good chance it has nothing to do with you.
As I touched on earlier, you will be told "no" in the music business a crazy amount of times, and sometimes it will be your fault haha, but more likely it's simply due to...
1) Their busy schedule
2) Them protecting their image
3) Them not being able to invest the time or money in vetting you
And so on.
Most processes are structured, and so if you’re trying to get their attention in a new way, (which I'm guilty of doing all the time), you will receive a "no" more likely than not, because they’re just not open to something new. It has nothing to do with you.
8 - If you are told, "I’ll have a think about it and get back to you,” that means a no 99% of the time.
Sales 101. People do not need time to make a decision, they need information. If you end a call with the person you're wanting something from telling you, they'll have a think about it and get back to you, it's BS.
They're saying no, because:
1) They don't trust or like you.
2) They don't understand your offering,
3) They don't want to spend the time to learn more.
To increase your chances of getting what you're wanting, do your best to not have that call end, until you have what you're wanting, or at the very least, a follow up meeting.
Well there you go, 8 things I learned while working with influential music experts. What are some things you have learned? P.S. If you want to connect with me, send me a message on Instagram here.
Rock on : )