The following represents notes taken during the ARTISTS & THE INDUSTRY: INTRODUCING YOURSELF AND BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS panel at Indie Week 2015

PANELISTS: Mike Graham (United Talent Agency), Amy Eligh (Red Brick Songs), Jeff Dalziel (Diesel Music), Stephen Carlick (Exclaim! Magazine), Kara Purto (604 Records), Bob Willette (Virgin Radio), Victor Mijares (Warner Music Canada). Moderated by Lindsay Dworkin (SonaBlast!)

How do Professionals find new talent?

  • There is no single way. However, most trust recommendations of other professionals with whom they have established relationships
  • Live shows. (Stephen won’t reply to cold emails. He needs to know that you have a history and brand buzz)
  • Amy often relies on finding of Hypebot rated blogs


  • Professionals like this as they can create personal playlists and listen at their own pace.
  • Your brand needs to be evident here and consistent with other platforms.

Approaching Industry

  • Don’t just add them on linkedin and NEVER add on Facebook (a very personal space now),
  • Industry tends to accept requests based on who you know in common, though many will not accept requests if you haven’t met in person.
  • Make sure your emails are personalized, professional, spell checked
  • Try to establish a conversation on twitter before just pushing your product
  • Know their product and demographic as much as what you are selling them
  • Have a story!

What Goals Should an artist have achieved before they approach industry?

  • Malice – not in a negative sense but in the sense of tenacity. Thinking outside the box. Digging a hole if you can’t break through a fence.
  • Accomplish whatever you can control. Get socials up. Be the captain of your own ship.
  • Live show has to be tight. Touring 50-60 cities will change how you approach the stage,
  • Professional branding
  • Strong recordings
  • Be developed. Labels don’t have time or money to invest in artist development. Know your brand. book your own shows, Write your own grants. “Labels are not there to create a career, but build on one.”
  • Approaching industry before you are ready can create very poor impression. That is why bands in the past rebranded.

Once you have a relationship with Industry, Maintain it by

  • Keeping them posted on relevant new things (not necessarily every new show in cities they don’t cover). Rather make it about moments where you shine (e.g. a hometown release show) and relevant to their audience as well.
  • Thank them for feedback
  • Treat as if you are dating this person. Don’t keep saying same thing over and over again. Progress the conversation. Whatever new material you put in front of them has to be better than what they last saw.

Press Releases: Are they still relevant?

  • Really only matters if sent from someone with whom they already have a relationship.