Relationships are Everything
If you never learn anything else in your life, personal or professional, learn that. No matter how good your music or product is, if you aren't able to get it out to the people it won't matter. In most situations money can't get you everything you need to succeed, at least not long term. Everyone is trying to make money but just paying everybody and not knowing them or them knowing you limits how much effort they put into it. More importantly why would you want to put the fate of your life in the hands of strangers?
Any successful person will tell you that the best way to get anything off the ground is by using the connections you have to get the job done, especially when you have limited finances. More times than people realize work gets done from trades or by comprise on pricing because of a previously developed relationship. DJ Khaled owns his entire career to the power of strong relationships. All of his hits were cultivated on the basis of a relationship he had built with the superstars of the industry.
No one does anything alone completely. At some point during your process you will need to know someone to get in the room. Some of the greatest songs have come about through the power of strong networks. Think about all the people on Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail and the promotional ads you saw for them. Do you get the impression that these people were not already musically and personally in sync before they created the album? Nothing about the music, the promotion or chemistry seemed forced. Knowing who you work with and being clear about the goal of your project puts you in the best place to win.
People that know you, your struggle, and believe in your talents are more likely to compromise with you on their normal rates or trade for other services. Relationships make people who are invested in your success subconsciously become your cheerleaders. They start referring people to you and vice versa to help you win. However, also realize that you should not take advantage of relationships. In order to keep the bond, some times you have to reciprocate. Make sure you are available and offering your support to them and their endeavors as well. There is a thin line between using for network to build and being considered a user or opportunist.
Ultimately, the relationships you cultivate are just as important as the money you have for your music. You can always get some progress this having one or the other but the two together is a recipe for winning. Value your relationships more than money. Should you fall down, the relationships you have could be the difference between getting back up or being on the hip hop milk carton.
Written by Karyn Shanks (@MeanGirlzMedia) for The College of Hip Hop
Enroll now at www.thecollegeofhiphop.org to educate yourself more on promoting your music.