Music Business Conference Dos & Donts
by Allen Johnston,

Music Conferences today have become big business for the individuals and companies that put them on. Almost every conference created has an educational component, a seminar, panel discussion or technical workshop. Here lays the problem: Why pay good money to come to a conference with positive seminars and not attend? Every conference I have attended in the United States this year has had more nighttime attendees for parties and performances than daytime seminar attendees.

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In Europe it is the complete opposite. Conference attendees come for business during the day in droves. Panels are packed and private meetings are scheduled. Let me give you a few ideas on how to become more productive at your next conference.

Rules To Work Conferences

1. Research Your Conference: Know who is going to be at the event you will be attending. Read the schedule in advance and determine who you want to meet and WHY you want to meet them.

2. Schedule Meetings: Try and reach companies, executives, publicists and other artists prior to the event and schedule private meeting times to discuss your MUTUAL interests. Email works when used properly for communication, so please spell correctly.

3. Speak Correctly: Leave the urban street-based conversations at home. This is a business and professionals will be attending and speaking on the seminars. Lose the phrase “You know what I mean?” and the phrase “You feel me?” Say what you mean upfront and be prepared to explain yourself. The way you speak in the “trap” is not going to get you anywhere in the entertainment BUSINESS environment.

4. Take a Shower: Partying the night before is NOT an excuse to have bad breath or body odor. Make the effort to bathe BEFORE you come to the seminar. You never know who you will be standing next to. By the way, dousing yourself in perfume or cologne is NOT bathing.

5. Be on Time, Awake, Attentive and Prepared: Walking into seminar fashionably late shows disrespect for the other attendees and to the seminar speakers. It also says that maybe a professional does not want to work with you because you didn’t think enough of their time to hear them from the very beginning.

6. Take Notes: Just like you were back in school. This is how you remember some of the information that will be disseminated. Plus, this is how you can keep names and numbers straight while you write down any questions you may have.

7. Have Business Cards Available: Name, email, website, phone number, mailing address and a representation of what you do. (logo, business name, etc)

8. Receive Business Cards: When you give a card, receive a card. Take the card in both of your hands if possible; read it before you put it away. This business card is the beginning of your entertainment industry database, treat it with esteem.

9. Carry a Camera: Take photos of the panelists to help you remember who was who. And take as many photos with other people as you can. Email them back to the person and use this as a starting point for a great business relationship.

10. Be Polite and Courteous: You want and need to advance your career, the worst thing you can do is to disrespect and upset a professional. This means NOT telling a DJ off for not playing your music. DJ’s TALK TO EACH OTHER and so do distributors, store buyers, publicists, record exec’s, club owners and almost everyone else who is a professional.

11. Follow Up: Email, telephone, regular mail and do ALL of these things consistently. It is true that the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

12. Have an Online Presentation: MySpace is good for starters however you do need your own website that allows viewers to find out more about you and your talent. You should also create MP3s of your material for sending and for downloading. If you have a visual talent, create video for web usage.

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