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7 industry tips for new artists who want to turn their hobby into a fully-fledged career

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  • Dave Turner
  • 30 March 2017
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2 Don't spam inboxes if you're doing your own press

"Hey, here's my new EP" is a subject title journalists see with more regularity than a rainy day in Manchester. It's a sentence industry professionals "despise", according to Melissa Taylor. She's not just talking on behalf of PRs, but journalists, too (yup, we get endless amounts of these blanket emails and, to be honest, there's just not enough hours to go through them all). Chances are, if you're doing interesting things with your music (read below), we'll see your name in our inbox and open it with the anticipation of a kid unwrapping a present at Christmas. Just don't pack out the email with loads of information. "We’re all busy people. Don’t send anyone 10 different EPs, three albums and a three-page text about yourself as an introduction, you’ll put people off," Taylor says. "Trust your instincts. Think about what’s most important and what’s the best music you have to represent you."

Importantly, don't give up. Remember, agencies have years' worth of contacts stored, but if you're looking to do your own press, things may take a little longer to heat up. With that in mind, keep your ears open, Melissa Maouris says. "Listen to the advice of those with more experience and be open-minded. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. There's only one chance to get it right the first time."

3 Think about getting a booking agent

Don't expect an avalanche of bookings to roll in straightaway, but having a booking agent will certainly fill more gaps in your calendar. Not only that, it'll give you access to new territories and most likely see you playing parties that you wouldn't necessarily think of yourself. If Khan, owner of management and PR company Transmit Signal, says: "If you're a new artist, the agent can get you on to line-ups by virtue of the other artists represented on the same agency. In turn, this could break you into new markets and shows you haven't played before." Wave goodbye to pubs in Brixton and say hello to cool-ass clubs in Berlin.

Again, though, do not just rely on someone else to push your career on. An agent can certainly lessen your workload by contacting promoters, but it's down to you to excite people and gain a fanbase willing to wax their cash to see you play in a club. After all, there's no point in being with a booking agency to get you gigs if no one's going to go to said show.

"The idea that getting a booking agent will immediately guarantee shows isn't the case," Tomas Fraser, Coyote Records founder and PR, says. "Agents work in the same way pluggers, PRs and other industry facilitators operate; they're only as good as the DJ or artist they're pitching out to promoters.

"If an artist is active, signed to a label or releasing music themselves, getting the right press and support on the radio and generally part of a wider scene, then chances are agents will be really useful in helping push DJs/artists into new territory and potentially onto bigger and better line-ups."

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