IHM News

IHM Road Tips Vol. 14- 4 Red Flags To Be Cautious Of When Networking

Posted By : Tom White, Posted On : February 14, 2014

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2



The first line of a poem written in the 1600’s by John Donne perfectly defines what it takes to be successful in the music industry today, “No man is an island, entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” In other words, no one can truly stand on their own. The most successful artists know this, which is why they build teams of experts that offset their weaknesses and augment their strengths. They invest in the right people and services like managers, publicists and marketing companies to achieve their goals and expand their reach. In the music industry this begins with building relationships. Which is why this edition of #roadtips will show you how to network properly.    


While most people you’ll encounter are usually legit and friendly, keep in mind the music industry also has it’s shady side and you will meet people that do not have your best interests in mind. The following 4 tips will help you spot the most common red flags and avoid getting ripped off. This article isn’t designed to make you paranoid about the industry. Instead, it will help keep your wits while you find your way.


4 Red Flags When Networking in the Music Industry:


  1. Chronic Lying 
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet said “There’s daggers in men’s smiles.” Despite people’s outwardly friendly appearance, their intentions might not be pure. Sometimes this is conveyed by body language. Contrary to popular belief, lack of eye contact may not always indicate that a person is lying. Some common tells include constant grooming and constant hand to face activity, as well as the reaffirmation of their honesty. When you hear “I swear to god”, “why would I lie to you?” “I don’t like dishonest people” repeated in conversation your spidey-senses should start tingling.

Get a crash course in “How to Spot a Liar” by watching this Ted Talk: 

  2. Name Dropping
Being an industry built on personal relationships, you will inevitably run into someone who has worked with or is currently working with someone of note or celebrity. As you get to know people, they will most likely share their success stories, but be wary of those who excessively name drop on first conversation. Often this is a tactic sharks use to loop you in an effort to impress, most often misrepresenting their relationship with those they name drop. This happened to me early in my career talking with an individual who kept mentioning they were an A&R for a well known producer of the time and could get my tracks listened to for a fee. Not having the finances at the time, I passed on the offer. Couple weeks later, I met the producer on my own and asked him out of sheer curiosity if he knew the person and was their A&R. To which he replied “I received a couple tracks after being contacted on twitter but that was it.”  Note to self, genuine people will want to know you before offering their help or more importantly leverage their contacts on your behalf. 

  3. Over Promising
Another red flag to avoid is when a conversation is going too well. Whether its you or them, when over promises like “if you work with me we’re gonna make so much money together,” and “We’re gonna get your music on this blog and get you in with that producer” start to fly, watch out! It’s easy to get over excited when the energy is high, but take it slow. It’s always best to cultivate a relationship by taking one step at a time. This industry likes to emphasize overnight stardom, but slow and steady usually wins the race. Biting off more than you can chew damages relationships and spoils reputations.  

  4. Fast Negotiating
Finally, the most fundamental takeaway is DO YOUR RESEARCH! This business is full of characters and self-serving providers, you shouldn’t take everything you hear at face-value. Before making any agreements or deals, take time to learn about the people and companies you meet. Research their track record and talk to their past and current clients – especially if you plan on investing your time or money with them. Also, when signing a contract of any kind, always consult an attorney of your own hire. Don’t rely on the other party’s counsel as there will always be a bias that is not in your favor. Google is your best friend, and checking out someone’s twitter feed can speak volumes about them. When you do your homework it will become apparent whether or not you should do business with someone.


Take these 4 tips and try them out at your next local industry networking event, attend a music conference or even better yet go to a show. You never know who you might meet, so stay mindful of the above red flags and avoid the industry pitfalls that can hinder your career.


Join the indiehitmakermailing list and receive more tips on funding tours and getting the most from the road. Have a question, comment or feedback? Tweet us @indiehitmaker #RoadTips, like us on Facebook, orcontact us online.


IHM RoadTips Readers get one month free when you register for IndieHitmaker monthly live venue reporting services. Click toRegister Now and receive your immediate discount code.   Code lasts for a limited time only!



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