Part of being a professional musician – which implies a successful musician – is keeping a contact list. Every time you perform or exchange business cards, whether playing a wedding or meeting somebody backstage, add their information to a master document. This master document could be as complicated as an Excel spreadsheet complete with names, dates, and venues or as simple as a Word document that lists current email addresses.
Music, like all business, is about networking. You never know what could end up in your pipeline because of a brief exchange at a gig you played months ago. This gets you more performances, more exposure, more fans, and more money – win, win, WIN! Personally, I’m not fantastic with technology. That’s probably part of the reason why I’m a classical guitarist…But anyway, I find that keeping a Microsoft Word document is the easiest way for me to keep track of my contacts.
Keep It Simple
Add the new contact to your list as soon as you possible. I find it’s effective to write where you met as well and I’m in the habit of logging the info as soon as I get home from an event. Some will advocate keeping your entire list updated of any and all of your activities. I find being effective – emailing those who have a greater probability of buying your CD, hiring you again, or coming out to a performance – to be a better use of time than forwarding a mass email.
Compile a List of Prospective Venues
Another overlooked aspect of the contact list is keeping track of venues and concert promoters. These can be people you have never met or played for, but may be interested in contacting about performing at their venue in the future. Have a new CD to sell? Have an exciting new program to debut? These will be the people to contact to set up that event and send your press materials to since most venues book out months in advance. It gives you an immediate feel of any and all musical activity in a given location, as well as a bird-eye view to laying out a potential string of concerts.
- Keep a list of all contacts from any event you perform
- Update the list regularly for email changes, new additions, and new phone numbers
- Keep a separate list of local concert venues and promoters
- Target members of your list for emails relevant to your career