Beatport’s Derek Clark on building your music industry network

When networking in the music industry, it’s important to try to create win-win scenarios, according to Derek Clark, of Beatport and LabelRadar. “Instead of asking for favors or help, think about how to add value to the other person.”

by Jamie Ford of Byta

Student of life. Lover of music, books, nature, travel, and entrepreneurship, Derek Clark is the Director of Product Management for the Music Services Department of The Beatport Group managing LabelRadar, and co-founder of LabelRadar.

Who are you? Where do you work?

My name is Derek, and I am one of the co-founders of LabelRadar! LabelRadar streamlines the demo submission process across the music industry, helping artists get heard while also allowing labels and promoters to review new submissions in an efficient and engaging way. We were acquired by The Beatport Group in May 2022! By partnering with Beatport, we are unlocking the true potential of our platform by scaling our development efforts, tapping into their vast network of industry relationships, and further expanding the value we can offer our users.

What are you currently listening to? 

I’ve been taking a break from electronic music recently and have just got back into John Denver, A Tribe Called Quest, and Sister Nancy! When I’m in an electronic mood you can’t go wrong with some: Tycho, Haywyre, Feed Me, and Sickick.

Give us a small insight into your daily routine? 

Professionally, as the Director of Product Management for the Music Services department at Beatport, I spend most of my time speaking with users to gather product insights, writing white papers for features, working with our incredibly talented engineering and design teams, and, overall, being an advocate for LabelRadar in the industry! We work with teams from inspiring labels like Monstercat, Armada Music, Defected, Anjunabeats, and thousands more.

On a personal level, I enjoy reading non-fiction, spending time in nature hiking and camping, exercising, traveling internationally, embracing the digital nomad lifestyle, speaking with entrepreneurs, spending time with friends and family, and generally enjoying life.

Over to you, Derek…

Building Your Network in the Music Industry

Starting out in the music industry can be incredibly intimidating. The music industry can feel like you’re trying to ‘siege’ a walled fortress – difficult to penetrate and quite overwhelming when you are just beginning your journey. It’s common to experience a sense of doubt and apprehension about where to start and how to forge meaningful connections. However, it’s crucial to push past these feelings and take the first step. Simply getting started and actively seeking opportunities to add value to others can create a ripple effect, leading to more opportunities down the line. Remember, every successful artist was once a beginner. The key to their success was taking that initial step, despite facing numerous challenges and insecurities. This aspiration to make the music industry more accessible for artists is precisely why my co-founders and I started LabelRadar. Our mission is to democratize access to key decision-makers in the music industry, ensuring artists of all levels can get their work in front of the right people in an efficient and transparent way.

Practically speaking, LabelRadar allows artists to upload their unreleased demos and efficiently bring it to market by accessing a huge pool of A&Rs hungry to discover new talent. Artists begin by creating a profile, uploading their demos, and we help match them with relevant and active labels around the globe, receiving real-time updates anytime a label interacts with their demo or profile (among many other exciting features). As of October 2023 we’re working with over 180k+ Artists and 2k+ Labels and Promoters in a variety of genres and geographies. We believe we’re well on our way to accomplishing our mission, but there is still a lot more work to do. Nothing makes us happier than connecting the dots between talented artists and the labels they are trying to reach.

That said, it’s tempting to network only in the digital realm because it’s much more accessible and arguably less ‘intimidating’. That said, it really is hard to compete with meeting people in real life, so try to avoid using only digital channels. You can’t go wrong with identifying and attending music industry conferences (depending on your genre) like Music Biz, International Music Summit, South by Southwest, ASCAP Expo, ADE, and countless more. There you’ll hear from incredible thought leaders, and with the right attitude and mindset, you’ll have no shortage of incredible people to talk to who can help point you in the right direction if you’re just starting out. As an example, when my co-founders and I launched LabelRadar, it was actually at an electronic music industry conference called Amsterdam Dance Event where we pitched and eventually partnered with Monstercat as our first label user! The best part about these events is everyone is there specifically to meet new people and interact with other folks in the industry, so you’re catching people at the right time when they’re most open to forming new connections. The energy at music industry conferences is simply magnetic. Don’t forget to have fun with it, and it’s okay if it takes a while for you to get comfortable at conferences!

As another practical tip, when thinking about networking in the music industry it’s important to try and create win-win scenarios. Instead of asking for favors or help, think about how you can add value to the other person. Can you offer feedback on their work? Can you introduce them to someone who might be beneficial to their network? Can you collaborate with them on a project? By approaching networking with a mindset of adding value, you will be amazed at the opportunities that begin to flow your way. A great resource for improving your networking and relationship-building skills is the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It offers timeless advice on how to approach interactions with others in a way that is positive, constructive, and ultimately beneficial for both parties.

Where should readers go to find out more? Any further reading or digital gurus to recommend?

To hear LabelRadar related updates and to read more you can check out our blog at blog.labelradar.com

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