I attended the ASCAP I Create Music Expo/convention a couple weekends ago. It was fantastic! Lots of panels on different areas of music, ie., production, songwriting, writing for film/tv, recording equipment, etc. It was really informative. But the key thought that kept coming up and was impressed upon us was building relationships with other people.
I witnessed it first-hand at the conference. I made sure I reached out and got to know people - and we all approached each other from a "relationship" perspective. I noticed I tended to gravitate toward people that were happy, laughing and having a genuinely positive attitude, and steered clear of people that were either so full of themselves or who were just plain negative. I left the weekend feeling like I made lots of new friends, future collaborators, and co-writers.
This week, I attended a dinner with several of my new composer friends. The event featured a panel of music supervisors and we were able to listen and learn, as well as meet and dine with several other writers, publishers, music attorneys, and others in our industry. This wasn't a "Music Biz 101 class", by any means. It was about really getting into the nuts and bolts of what is taking place in the music industry.
I am attending another function in a couple of weeks, and am seeing the panelists beginning to overlap from different functions. My perception of this "one, huge, lumped together, impenetrable industry" is quickly shifting to an industry made up of unique, creative individuals - all brought together by our common passion for music. (And yes, there will always be the sharks and the shirts, but that's another blog post.)
I am learning that it is well worth attending conventions and events that have to do with my area of work (music) and I STRONGLY suggest that if you are able to attend a convention or event that has to do with your business, that you go. It is GREAT to get off the stage, or out from behind the computer, or out of the recording studio, and meet people face to face, have lunch, and make new friends.
From here on out, I'll be attending these events regularly and viewing them as a necessity, rather than a luxury. And I may even invite a new friend to come along.