Amsterdam Dance Event

How to get the most out of attending a conference

19 October 2014

In the artist section on this site, I uploaded something on goals yesterday. It all started with an MYA meeting with Capetonians Sean & Inka aka Mr. & Grrrl. We wanted to determine a long-term strategy. We feel that if we try to book shows for Mr. & Grrrl in the Netherlands for next spring, we will be able to book some small successes, but there won't be any growth. We need to know where Mr. & Grrrl want to be in 5 to 10 years to find a focus for our efforts. It changes everything if your dream is to be the best producer for TV adverts than if you want to be known as an autonomous independent artist making installations or if you want to be a well-known audio visual live act. You make different choices along the way; it determines when to accept an assignment and when to say no. It doesn't mean you can never accept different jobs to pay the bills, but there should be a strategy to reach your goals. Therefore you need to know what these goals are; you have to know what you are aiming for. Develop SMART objectives, make them specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Once you know where you want to be in 5 or 10 years, you work on the strategy. Do you need an agent in different territories? You might need to invest in a person for your marketing; someone who knows the scene you want serve. Who is the target group and how can these people be reached? What radio stations do they listen to, what (online) magazines do they read and how do they get information on new music and concerts. This person should have a network and the skills to get your music played on those radio stations, that your music is being reviewed in the right magazines, and that your potential fans know when you are in the country and where you will be playing. So here we are, Sean, Inka and Annelies are at Amsterdam Dance Event. What can we get out of it? It can be very expensive to get a conference ticket - from 8.000 ZAR for a design conference in South Africa to €450 for ADE in The Netherlands. It is nice to learn from listening to panels and to have a drink with old friends, but you should really try to earn your money back. Before paying for a conference (with flights, accommodation and food & drink), think how this investment will support your career. Just attending panels and chatting to people you bump into is not a bad thing, but most agents, promoters and managers will have an agenda full of meetings at the conference. Some have a different meeting every half hour just to get maximum results. Whom to speak to? That depends on your goals. If you want to get known overseas, you first need an agent. An agent can help you putting together the best team to build your career. The agent will work with you, finding the right booking agency, looking for someone to do your marketing, speak to promoters of festivals and venues etc. You do need people who knows the market, where to find your audience, get your music reviewed in the right (online) magazines and airplay on radio stations that suits your music and your (future) fans tune into. Maybe you want to get signed and you want to meet A&R people of record labels, find a distributer you makes sure your music is for sale where people will look for it, or speak to local artists you want to collaborate with because they play to a similar crowd as you'd like to. Perhaps you can get a remix or get your music licensed for a compilation. Meet these people who know your product and know the people who would like that product (when they know it exists). Be clear what you want from them and what you can offer. Where do you want to go and what it is in it for them? Build your career; growth doesn't come magically, it needs goals and dedication. Make sure you know what you want and develop a strategy that will take you where you want to be! These goals help to get the most out of a conference but also to instruct people you work with at home. If you know what you want, you can ask your publicist to target magazines and websites in countries where you would like to become big. He or she can do research what magazines and websites are important to reach your goals, to get journalists to write about your music and tell your story. You can tell your agent overseas whom your heroes are in e music scene, so the agent can look where they play, what websites write about them, who they work with and how their music is described in the press. It helps to set clear SMART goals; they can be powerful and when you know what to aim for, you increase the chances that you will get there.