How to get the most from your music as a professional

There are many ways in which a music industry professional (artist manager, booking agent, festival director, record label owner, etc.) can benefit from attending a music trade event. Below are four important steps to getting the most out of the next trade event that you attend.

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1. Identify how attending can help you achieve both your short-term and longer-term goals

Review the short-term and long-term plans for your business. When attending a music conference, it is best to identify what new business you are looking for and how this fits in with your overall business plan.

Below are some key areas to benefit from the platform provided:

a) Networking opportunities with the attending delegates.

b) To listen and learn from experienced professionals.

c) For Artist Managers:

 *  To build relationships with promoters, booking agents and festivals attending,
 * To build relationships with record labels and distribution companies attending,
 * To network with potential funding bodies in attendance,
 * To build relationships with media attending,
 * To promote the artist you work with,
 * To find new artists to work with in a management capacity.

d) For Booking Agents:

* To build relationships with promoters and festivals attending,
* To discover live performance opportunities for existing artists on your roster (i.e. festivals and tours)
* To find new artists to work as a booking agent,
* To build relationships with media attending,
* To promote the artists you work with.

e) For Music Festival Directors/Programmers:

* To see new artists for potential future bookings,
* To build relationships with managers and agents attending,
* To network with potential funding bodies in attendance,
* To promote your music festival.

f) For Record Labels/Distribution Managers:

* To discover new artists to sign,
* To build relationships with artists, managers and agents attending,
* To build relationships with media attending,
* To promote your label.

g) For Media:

* To build relationships with managers and agents attending,
* To build relationships with music festivals attending,
* To build relationships with artists attending,
* To network and promote your own business or media platform.

2. Research the music industry professionals attending the conference

The best music conferences list the music industry professionals that are attending the conference. With the knowledge of the new business you are aiming to achieve from the conference (Step 1), you can now start to make a shortlist of who you aim to connect with, both prior to the start of and during the trade event itself.

Research the artists, music festivals, artist management companies, booking agents, record labels and other relevant parties in attendance, and identify any potential synergies between what they do and what you do. Once you have done this research, you should have a good shortlist of delegates to contact.

3. Contact the relevant music industry professionals prior to the conference

Take your time to contact your shortlisted delegates. You should make contact with them personally, and approximately two weeks prior to the trade conference to introduce yourself and to set up a meeting. If you have an artist that you work with showcasing at the event, make sure to invite relevant delegates to the performance.

Do your research first
Contact via email or the online platform provided by the conference
Send a short, personalised email introducing yourself and what you do
Set up a meeting
Contact all delegates in attendance. They will receive lots of emails and if your email looks like a generic “hello”, they will easily skip over it
Contact music industry whose work does match yours. If you represent a traditional music group and the music festival books electronic music, you are wasting both your time and theirs
Include large files as attachments. Photos, videos and MP3s should be sent via the Cloud

4. What to bring?

Some music industry professionals have embraced the digital age, and would prefer to receive everything via email to download and hence not have to carry business cards, flyers, vinyls, CDs and flash drives around with them.

However, other music industry professionals are more than happy to receive your music on vinyl, CD or flash drive, and your business information on tradtional cards or flyers.

We suggest that you have everything stored in the cloud, ready to send via email, and if you wish, bring a limited number of physical copies of your music or promotional assets to give to selected delegates.

Also, rest up ahead of the conference and bring positive energy and comfortable shoes - trade conferences are known for their long days and nights!

Jess White is the founder of Akum Agency.


ACCES is a pan-African event for music industry players to exchange ideas, discover new talent and create business linkages. ACCES is held in a different African city every year, attracting active music industry players from across the globe.

ACCES is organised by the Music In Africa Foundation is partnership with Goethe-Institut, Siemens Stiftung, Kenya’s Permanent Presidential Music Commission and the Kenya Cultural Centre. Other partners include ONGEA, Ketebul Music, SAMRO Foundation, Midem, Busara Promotions, Bayimba Festival and WOMEX.

For more information, including registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit the ACCES website or download the ACCES 2018 brochure here.

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