Reputation is incredibly important in the music industry. The reputation you build can affect whether you succeed in the industry! This is because it can be what helps someone determine whether they will work with you in the first place or again. One thing that many music industries across the world have in common is that they are generally tight-knit communities. Once you know the key people, you are in!
What is reputation?
Reputation refers to the collective beliefs, opinions, and evaluations held by others about an individual, group, or organization. It reflects how that entity is perceived, judged, and evaluated. This is based on its behavior, actions, achievements, social status, image, and brand identity.
Reputation can be positive, neutral, or negative. It can have significant effects on your social, economic, and political outcomes. A good reputation can enhance trust, credibility, and influence, attract opportunities, and provide a competitive advantage. A bad reputation can damage credibility, reduce trust, and harm relationships, leading to losses in business, social, or personal life.
Who you know matters.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “it’s all about who you know”? Of course, this is not the only thing that works in your favor, but it definitely plays a large role in potential opportunities you may access to. You might have less experience than another band in the same genre, but if you have a closer connection with the booking agent of a particular venue, you will have an advantage.
Managers, booking agents, A&R reps, and publishers are all seeking relationships with creatives. This is in order to build their reputation and leverage off of the revenue that comes from this. Music is also the kind of industry where people do not tend to work with people they don’t like or enjoy working with. When you work in an industry that is passion fueled, you are unlikely to tolerate people who are not like-minded or helpful to the overall cause. If you have a bad reputation, you may not even be afforded the opportunity to work in certain spaces, as unfair as this is!
Maintain a good reputation via relationships with industry people.
Whether you have a good experience with someone or not, you should still try and maintain a good relationship with people in the industry. Be polite and friendly via email and on the phone. We are all trying our best to survive in the industry and people remember when you have been rude. Your reputation in the early days is arguably your most valuable asset. If you start off on the wrong foot, news will spread. People may not take chances on you or give you a big break. It is common for industry members to ask their colleagues about certain bands. If they hear back and there are multiple negative responses, that can be enough to block you from growing.
Don’t burn bridges.
Whether you have a good experience with someone or not, you should still try and maintain a good relationship with people in the industry. Try your best to be as considerate and kind as possible. People remember this! Even if you don’t get the chance to work with someone right now, if you leave the door open you are setting yourself up for success.
Collaboration is often about the perfect timing in the music industry. Sometimes, it just isn’t the right time to work with that particular booking agent or manager. However, if you burn that bridge, you will never have another chance to try and make it work. If you thank them for their time and stay in touch, you never know where it might lead in the future. You are here for the long game, so play it strategically!
Protect your reputation. Word gets around.
The industry is small and people talk. Don’t be one of those people who talk about others behind their backs. You may get a reputation for being a gossip! That is almost as bad as having a reputation for being hard to work with. Word of mouth can be incredibly powerful in the music industry. It can make or break a business. You may keep getting referrals from people you have worked well with that results in a substantial portion of your revenue. Alternatively, you may find you keep getting turned down for jobs just because an influential person has a few bad words to say.
Be careful who you DM on Instagram and what you email. Anything in the form of writing can be screen captured and shared without your knowledge. Best to say only lovely things and keep the nasty stuff for venting to your cat when you get home! 🐈
Stand up for yourself when you need to, but don’t be difficult or unreasonable.
The music industry is still rife with inequality, injustice and discrimination. You should most definitely stand up for yourself and others when something immoral occurs. However, make a point of choosing your battles carefully. You can disagree with someone about the way they behave and still walk away and be civil.
It is likely you will work with and experience the same people several times throughout your career. People tend to stick to those they like and know. So it is best to not leave any situation unresolved if possible. You can internally choose to never work with someone again, but don’t stoop to nasty comments or talking about them to others once you walk away. Be the bigger person and walk away with your head held high.
Build a reputation that people respect
If you act and represent yourself as a person of value and dignity in the industry, not only will you feel fulfilled, but others will recognise this. Command respect by being kind and compassionate. Stand up for what you believe in when the time is right. Lead by example and behave like the person you would want to work with. You will naturally attract like-minded people who respect you for your work ethic and values above all else.
The more positive experiences you accumulate with people in the industry, the more you will feel like you belong. The music industry is after all a bunch of people who love the same thing – music! Find common ground and relate to people on a human level. That is how you build solid personal relationships and garner a reputation that other will respect and honour.
Want to know what else is important in the music industry? Go to >> Vampr Academy to learn more!