Derek Sivers

Get personal

2018-02-14

Before I got into the music industry, I had an idea of what it would look like: Some powerful manager or agent calling me into his office to discuss the business of my music.

Then I moved to New York City and became friends with cool people who also did things in music. Sometimes these people were agents or managers, but that was secondary. Mostly we were just friends.

Sometimes I’d send them clients. Sometimes they’d hook me up with opportunities. But really we were just friends, talking about our love lives or ideas, hanging out and having fun.

It was a long time before I realized that I was already in the industry — that this is how things are done. People send business to people they like. It’s all more personal than I had expected.

One of my best friends in the world is also my lawyer. He’s one of the top music lawyers in the world, but mostly he’s my friend. We talk about cycling, his kids, and music. And sometimes we stop to discuss a recent contract.

The initial contact usually happens for professional reasons. Like when I was looking for a lawyer, and someone introduced me to this guy.

When I hear music I love, I contact the musician, and say let’s meet. Within minutes we’re talking about her dogs, microphones, Japan, and whatever. Then, when someone asks me to recommend some music, guess who comes to mind first?

Point is: As you’re out there in the music business, get personal.

Don’t always be selling yourself. That keeps people at a distance from you, because it shows you’re not friends.

Even if it starts professional, get personal as soon as possible. Be a friend. That’s how things are done.