Today I’d like to discuss the importance of ‘following up’ in regards to your music career. Following up can be anything from returning texts to a fellow band member regarding a rehearsal or someone asking if you’re available to do some dep work, to calling a record company executive to find out whether or not they have listened to your band’s demo (even if it is the tenth time that you’ve called this month). It’s one of the easiest things away from the actual creative process that musicians can do, but far too often seem simply too lazy to, and/or just don’t. In the past, we could get away with being a little tardy on late responses due to how inconvenient it was to stay in touch with people outside of our gigging, touring, writing, rehearsing and/or recording circles, but nowadays with everyone and their grandmothers seamlessly connected to the world socially via the internet in one way or another, there really aren’t many excuses to not get back to someone anymore and it can really be in your best interest to have a ‘reply or you may lose this opportunity’ type attitude. (Unless of course, the person trying to reach you is someone that you’ve decided to no longer interact with for personal reasons, but that’s a whole other topic).
In addition, if you have the resources - admin staff can be hired and the ‘follow up’ process can now be done by them. Heck, in such tech savvy times we can implement automatic AI systems like Google Assistant or even hire someone remotely to do some of the work for us via sites like upwork.com or freeup.net for minimal costs. Personally, I’m old school and find the best way to stay on top of things is to just make notes using my phone or an actual diary each day or I try my best to just respond immediately as people reach out to me. If you’re not diligent to do the work yourself or simply not fortunate enough to be in a situation whereby someone can do these simply ‘follow up’ type tasks for you, or simply don’t like using automatic internet systems like the ones mentioned above, then the ‘following up’ process can be forgotten, and forgotten can be the difference between your band getting the support slot on an established tour to losing out on future income in an array of different situations.
What we seem to sometimes forget as musicians, whether we’re working as performers, teachers, techs, songwriters, managers or whatever is that the majority of the real world (the apparent 95% of people which work a normal eight-hour type day), don’t always consider the flexi-time hours that the entertainment industry likes to keep and in many situations expect to have their calls, emails, DM’s and texts returned within a relatively short time period after initially having making contact. In my experience this is especially true in regards to the corporate, club, cover, session, teaching and tribute scene, whereby negligent communication can sometimes be considered unprofessional or even confused as rude. A lot of potential work (which AGAIN, means a lot of potential income) can be lost because of a “tomorrow is another day” type mantra.
Where as (at risk of sounding like a looped vocal ad-lib), if you (or a hired assistant) manage to follow up on a more consistent basis, your reputation will become that of a responsible, reliable, ‘stand up’ individual and if there is only one thing that I seem to have learnt during my 23 years in this industry of ours - it’s that most reliable people seem to like hiring and working with other reliable people.
So go on, answer those emails, reply to those DM’s, texts, (whatever) and try to return your missed phone calls. Heck, even send the odd fax now and then if that’s still a thing, but don’t forget to set yourself a few boundaries too (we’ll talk about that sometime too). I guarantee that you will notice a difference in people’s general attitude towards you. In fact, I’m even willing to bet that you might even notice that your diary starts to fill up. @MusiciansMentorPics