You shell out a lot of cold hard cash to attend a music trade show, so to make that trip worth the price tag, you need to be prepared. Here are a few simple tips to get you music convention ready so you walk out with tons of great new music industry contacts.
This is sometimes easier said than done - after all, you may not know if you'll have the cash to go to a music trade show until the last minute, or some new project that needs promotion might pop up at the last second. However, if at all possible, decide months ahead of the music convention that you want to attend and sign up as early as possible. Early registration can save you hundreds, plus, it gives you plenty of time to get your game together.
Do Your Homework:
Most conventions and trade shows will offer a list of registered attendees at some point before the show on the website. Sometimes the lists are just that - lists - but other times, you can find information about what kind of music a person is into and what they hope to find at the trade show. Reach out to people you think you might be able to work with well in advance of the trade show. Schedule a meeting if at all possible, and then follow up closer to the event.
Prepare the Goods:
Why are you attending the trade show? Do you want to score licensing or distribution, or maybe promote a new release? Now is the time to prepare things that can help you get the job done. Burn some promos, make some promo flyers, print up one sheets - make sure you have everything you need, and that it is organized and easy for you to access. Keep in mind that EVERYONE is handing out stuff at these events, so skip the 20 page press packs, but try to look for a way to make your product stand out. That can be as simple as using brightly colored sleeves or printing up some badges.
Practice Your Spiel:
Especially at larger music industry events, you may find yourself face to face with Mr/Ms Music Industry Hot Shot, who is giving you a withering look and daring you to waste their time. You'll have a very short amount of time to capture their attention - there will be tons more like you waiting in the wings for their shot - so you need to be able to confidentially speak about your music project, whatever it is. This takes some practice. Although you don't want to sound rehearsed, it's a good idea to give your speech a few dry runs so you feel good about covering all of the basic points.
Brush Up on the Basics:
If you're new to the music business, it's only natural to feel like you're a little out of the loop on music industry vocab - which will only add to the pressure these music trade shows sometimes create. If it increases your confidence, spend a little time learning some music biz basic lingo - this little cheat sheet can help.
Learn More About Music Trade Shows:
Need some help figuring out which trade shows are right for you? Check out these profiles: