The 5 types of people you meet at every music conference

From budding superstars to industry veterans, music conferences offer unique opportunities to network with your peers.

A guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix.

[ALSO READ: 7 worthwhile music conferences]

Musical conferences make a return in 2022. After two years of postponements and digital reinvention, several conference organizers are eyeing spring and months later as a perfect time to come together again. COVID-19[female[feminine may have other plans, of course, but only time will tell.

Many readers have asked us about the usefulness of music conferences in the past. We answer that conferences, like all industry networking events, parties, or similar events, give back what you put into them. If you start with goals in mind and a plan to achieve them, the sky is your limit. You won’t get far if you don’t go there and focus on watching shows rather than meeting people. You can have fun, but your career won’t move.

With that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to illustrate the types of people you’re most likely to meet at a music conference. Some are useful, some are fun, and some could ruin your life.

We plan to bring you more conference coverage and how to navigate them in the coming months. Follow Haulix on Twitter and Facebook to never miss another update.

The coming and going

Most music conferences are aimed at emerging artists and budding professionals who want to take the next step in their career. What this stage is and how the conference helps them reach it will vary, but these artists will understand most of those present. Make sure you wear something with pockets, because these people will give you everything from business cards to thumb drives, sample CDs, postcards, and everything in between for (hopefully) forge a connection with you.

Should we talk to them?

Yes! These people make up your peer group, and you never know when someone will become a life-changing connection. Even if they can’t help your career, they might make great music, or maybe they’re decent people. The thing is, these people are there to make friends. Be someone who befriends them.


The Industry’s “Big Shots” (AKA Headliners)

Each music conference looks to its renowned guest speakers as a way to prove its effectiveness. Organizers know that more people will attend a panel featuring a Spotify employee than a panel featuring a guy who knows a lot about Spotify. It doesn’t matter if that employee’s work doesn’t directly involve artists; brand association still sells.

You’ll see the big names in the industry arrive shortly before their panel and sip the free refreshments offered to VIPs. They’ll be talking as much as they need to on their panel and will be inundated with “quick chat” requests as soon as the event ends. Do they possess the ability to change your career trajectory? Probably not! Will this matter to most newcomers? Nope!

Should we talk to them?

Don’t wait twenty minutes for thirty seconds to nod while you pass a business card, but if you see an opportunity for a real conversation, yes! But keep your expectations low. These people are highly sought after at these events, but their influence and knowledge may not live up to your expectations.


The Industry Pros (AKA Lifers)

Industry professionals, otherwise known as lifers, fill most panels and serve as individual advisors at any music conference. These people work in behind-the-scenes roles at companies with varying levels of brand recognition. They make a good living working with talented artists and have perhaps the best work-life balance of all participants. They more than make up for what they lack in dominant influence with kindness, knowledge, and experience, so give them a chance.

Should we talk to them?

Absoutely. Industry professionals are full of actionable and honest information. They are also the professionals most likely to give you their time and attention, which you would be wise not to waste.


The Brand Ambassador (AKA Swag God)

Although participating companies vary from event to event, each music conference has a Marketplace where vendors can showcase their latest products. Most conferences have a variety of music stores, hardware manufacturers, music schools, and recording studios close at hand, and almost all of them will be regional. These companies pay to be there and they are always easy to find.

Should we talk to them?

Yes! They are good people. Whether you ask them anything or not depends on your goals. Are you interested in a music school or are you looking for new equipment? If so, then by all means support these people. If you are looking for a job, you can also hire these participants. However, if your goal is to close a deal or bring attention to your career, these people aren’t the answer.


The ‘guru’ (crooks)

Music conferences depend on inexperienced independent artists with disposable income to survive, which is the same target market as all music scam artists. Whether they’re promising inclusion on Spotify’s editorial playlists or guaranteeing major-label A&R exposure in exchange for a small discovery fee, so-called industry “gurus” are all over the place. conferences. These people rarely appear on panels, but you’ll find them holding court in all networking spaces with artists unaware that they’re convinced of a scam.

Should we talk to them?

No. While a guru will boost your confidence and inflate your ego to make you more susceptible to their scams, these people have nothing to offer you as a career or peer. They’re low-end looking for easy targets to make a quick buck before moving on to the next conference in the next mid-sized city. Avoid them at all costs.

READ ALSO: 7 interesting musical conferences

James Shotwell is Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a known speaker for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His signatures include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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