As an independent artist, attending the right music conferences is essential for staying current and building your network. Here are some of the best conferences to consider in 2024:

1. NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants)

  • USP: A global event showcasing the latest music products and technology, including instruments and audio equipment.
  • Why Attend: Ideal for artists focused on production, sound engineering, and tech. NAMM offers networking opportunities with gear manufacturers and industry professionals.
  • Tip: Plan your visit around specific vendors and sessions. Don’t miss the showcases and demonstrations that could introduce you to new tools for your music.

2. SXSW (South by Southwest)

  • USP: A convergence of music, film, and technology in Austin, Texas. The music festival features thousands of performers across various genres.
  • Why Attend: Offers the chance to perform and network with industry insiders, including label representatives, journalists, and producers.
  • Tip: If performing, schedule meetings with industry professionals in advance to maximize your exposure. For attendees, curate a list of bands to see and events to attend, but leave room for serendipitous discoveries.

3. Music Biz Conference

  • USP: A gathering point for commerce in the music industry, bringing together retailers, distributors, and labels.
  • Why Attend: For artists interested in the business side of music, this is a great place to learn about trends and opportunities in distribution, sales, and marketing.
  • Tip: Attend the educational panels to gain insights into emerging business models. Network strategically to form valuable connections that could lead to future distribution deals.


  • USP: A global music, media, and technology summit that gathers executives and artists from around the world.
  • Why Attend: The focus on global music opportunities makes it an excellent place for artists wanting to break into international markets.
  • Tip: Attend the networking mixers and private receptions for face-to-face time with decision-makers.

A Guide to Networking at Music Conferences

Making the most out of music conferences means knowing how to network effectively. Here’s a guide to maximize your opportunities:

1. Prepare in Advance

  • Research Attendees: Find out who’s attending and make a list of people you'd like to connect with. LinkedIn and social media platforms can be useful here.
  • Set Goals: Know what you want to achieve from the conference—be it meeting potential collaborators, learning about industry trends, or securing business deals.

2. Make a Strong First Impression

  • Elevator Pitch: Have a concise pitch ready to introduce yourself and your music in 30 seconds or less.
  • Business Cards and Social Media: Ensure your business cards are up-to-date and have a social media presence that's professional and active.

3. Attend Strategic Sessions

  • Panels and Workshops: Attend sessions that align with your goals and the people you want to meet. The content and discussions here can help you engage with like-minded individuals.
  • Networking Events: Mixers, meet-ups, and private receptions are key for casual conversations that can lead to meaningful connections.

4. Engage in Conversations

  • Be Genuine: Show a genuine interest in others, ask questions, and listen attentively.
  • Find Common Ground: Start conversations around shared interests or recent conference events to break the ice.

5. Follow Up

  • Connect on Social Media: After the event, connect with your new contacts on social media and send a brief message.
  • Email Follow-Up: Within a few days, send personalized follow-up emails to solidify the connection and discuss potential collaboration.

Networking at music conferences can significantly impact your career. With preparation and a clear strategy, you can build valuable connections and gather insights that propel your music career forward.

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