1. Broaden your aim
Nowadays everybody got social media, from your colleague at work to your favorite movie star. So it’s very easy to reach out to people from allover the world. Most artists, execs, A&R’s and managers got social media too. A lot of the big artists got somebody else to run their accounts but some of them even run it their self. Only the problem is that they receive messages from everybody and their mother so it’s very unlikely that they will answer or even read your message that says “yo check out my beats” cause they are getting thousands of them.
A lot of artists got a team of less famous people around them; proteges, designers, engineers, A&R’s, hypemen etc. Those are the people you should reach out to and build relationships with. Do research about the artist you would like to work with and their team. Check album credits, see who they are close to on social media, find out who their entourage is when they are on tour etc. Affiliated artists and proteges are very good to reach out to. They aren’t too famous yet and are probably always looking for great production. First of all your production have to be on point before even starting to reach out to people. So try to start producing for affiliated artists and proteges and work your way to the top. There are multiple chances there; the protege blows up and/or the artist you was trying to work with gets to your beats thru his or her affiliate or protege and likes your work so now he or she wants to work with you as well.
Let me tell you a quick story about how I got to work with Ghostface and Busta Rhymes. I went to a Ghostface concert in my hometown Amsterdam and luckily for me Ghostface and his protege Shawn Wigs went in the crowd after the show to take pictures with fans and sign cd’s. So I gave them both a beat cd. Ghostface probably threw it away but Shawn Wigs held on to it and took the time to actually listen to it. And fortunately for me he liked what he heard so he emailed me a couple of months later. He liked a few of my tracks and asked if he could use them for his mixtape. Of course that was cool by me, I was more than happy to work with him. So we started working on a couple of songs together and one of them happened to be Superstar. He recorded one verse to it and asked me if I knew any good singers to do the hook and he also wanted a feature on it from somebody who was great at rhyming fast. So I put my singer Jalise on the hook and asked my friend 5FT from Black Moon if he wanted to do a verse on it, which he did. Wigs was really happy how that came out so he played the track for Ghost who was working on his Apollo Kids album at the time. Ghost loved the joint and asked Wigs if he could use it for his album. Wigs being a real cool guy said “sure” and reached out to me with the good news. When we were finalizing the paperwork for the song I found out that Busta Rhymes jumped on the track as well! That’s how I landed my first major placement.
2. Build relationships
People don’t know you. You are a complete stranger for them. So before they will do anything for you, you will have to build relationships with them. Show them you’re a good hardworking reliable person with no hidden agenda. Earn their trust. Don’t force this tho. You don’t want to use them or give them the feeling that you are trying to use them. There has to be some kind of click there. Network with people who could have been your friend outside the music anyway. Be sincere, be yourself and be respectful.
3. Introduce yourself
If you choose to send out messages to people who you want to build relationships with don’t spam them with tracks out of nowhere and just say “yo check out my beats“. They don’t know you and this makes you look very unprofessional. Just send them a short message (not too long cause people don’t have time) introducing yourself and ASK if you may send them some of your music.
4. What can you do for them?
Don’t ask for no favors or handouts. Show what you can do for them. What can you bring to the table? How can you help them?
I built my relationship with my friend Dave Aron (producer/engineer 2Pac, Snoop, U2) because I hooked him up with a couple of workshops through out Europe for SAE Institute. And I didn’t do this because I wanted something out of it. I just did it cause I am a fan of his work and I felt that the students at SAE Institute could learn a lot from him. So I set it up and then we became friends.
5. Get out there
Don’t limit yourself to online networking. Face to face networking is even more important. Go to networking events, shows etc. And put your pride aside. Don’t be too proud to wait for people to give them your beat cd. You know how many times I waited for hours out in the cold at the artist entrance of a venue to give artists my beat cd?