Derek Sivers

Entrepreneur, programmer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Who to ask for recommendations

I often get questions like, “Can you recommend a good distributor for classical music?” or “Do you know a good publicist for hip-hop?”

I try to help, but always realize I'm the wrong person to ask.

If you want to find a good classical distributor, go to the record store in your area that sells the most classical music, and ask them what distributors they love. Ask friends in other parts of the country (or world) to do the same. Then contact those distributors, saying those record stores recommended them. (It's always a good way to break the ice.)

To find a good publicist for hip-hop, go pick up a bunch of hip-hop magazines that you'd like to be in, notice which new artists are getting a lot of press, and just do some online research to find out who their publicist is. Or contact the magazine offices directly, ask for the editorial department, and ask which publicists they'd recommend.

It's always best to get recommendations directly from the source. I've written about this before in “Call the Destination and Ask for Directions”, but thought it was worth mentioning again for this related scenario.