Every branch has its own highlight of the year. For the music industry, that moment has to be the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). This week is full of music, meetings, and showcases. This is the week where you get to meet the person you’ve been emailing back and forth within the last few months. This is the week where you get to meet the label manager you’ve been in contact with, the guy you’ve made a collaboration with or the booker that has shown his interest in you.

People from all over the world will gather to connect, build relations and do some business.

If you want to have a career in the music industry, this is the place to be.

This checklist is for the people who don’t really know what to expect or don’t really know how to prepare for such a week of madness.

Bring Unreleased Music

Like I said in the intro of this article, people from all over the world will be in Amsterdam during the ADE week. And when I say, people from all over the world, I actually mean all the people who are actively working in the music industry. People who work at labels, management’s, bookers, publisher or events etc. You need these people to build your career and of course, it’s possible to connect with them online but the offline approach is way more effective.

If you’re an artist, this is a really good place to connect with the labels that you want to release your music on. There will be feedback sessions and listening sessions that you can attend.

Don’t you think it’s useful to have a few unsigned tracks ready to go?

Let’s say you’ve managed to arrange a meeting with a label manager of your favorite label.

Here’s an example of how a meeting with a label manager could go:

  • You: “Hi, I’m … and I would love to release a track on your label!”
  • Label manager: “Oh cool, do you have something that I can listen to? Something unsigned would be the best…”
  • You: “Oh crap…”

You instantly lost the opportunity to show him your music. Of course, you’re able to send him your music afterward but it’s unlikely that he will listen to it later. You have created the possibility to show him the music in person, which is always the best way. Use it wisely!

Besides having meetings with label managers, it’s also a smart idea to work on your connections with other artists. There are tons of artists out there who are looking for a collaboration. Introduce yourself when you see someone that you would like to collaborate with. Have a nice talk and then just hand over your contact details so you’re able to stay in touch. You never know where some opportunities will take you…

Make Appointments

Everyone who will be at ADE and has any form of influence in this industry will be busy during these days. And I mean, really busy. Their agenda will be full of meetings.

Most people begin planning their ADE week after the summer holidays (August/September) so it’s important that you will be one the first to contact them. When you’re meeting gets approved and planned it will be a point on the agenda, which makes it more official and harder to cancel.

Scroll through your Facebook friends, Whatsapp contacts and Instagram feed.

Which people do you want to meet during ADE?

Who can add value to your career at this particular moment?

Who can help you reach the next level?

I think it’s clear to say that head of Sony is able to add value to your career but he probably won’t take a meeting with you. Be realistic.

When you found the person you want to meet it’s time to contact him… Make sure that when you contact that person, you add value to that person’s life. Especially when you’ve never met him. Don’t think that someone will take a meeting with you anytime because your music is the best.

Use Your Network

Like mentioned in point 2, it’s important to do some preparations before you go to ADE. Have a good brainstorm about who you want to meet and why you want to meet them.

The best way to start is by using people that are already on your network. People that you already have a history with and that already know you. This is easier because you don’t have to convince them to work with you. They already know you as a person, they know your work and your history.

You can use your network to:

  • Arrange meetings with people that you aren’t able to arrange yourself
  • Arrange guestlist spots at parties
  • Expand your network

They say that you are able to connect with every single person in the world by giving six handshakes. You can reach and find every person on this planet by connecting with six other persons on this planet, isn’t that crazy?

This is where your network comes in…

You need to figure out how you are able to reach a person by using your network.

Who is connected with who?

How can he bring me to the right person?

It’s a game.

Take some time, map it out…

A network is key in this industry so make sure to spent time on it.

Create Goals

Before your leave to Amsterdam all psyched… Think about some goals that you would like to achieve that week. Like I said, it’s a hectic week where a lot of things are happening at the same time. It’s easy to lose yourself and go on autopilot for a few days.

You’ve probably saved up some money to travel to Amsterdam… Wouldn’t it be a shame if all this money would be invested for nothing? Of course, it’s gonna be a cool week. Amsterdam is a cool city with a lot of things to see and do but be honest with yourself. You’re here for work, to expand your network and create opportunities for the future.

To make sure that you spent your time in Amsterdam in the best way possible it’s best to create some personal goals. Goals that will help you and your career in the future.

Here’s an example of how your goals could look like:

  • Goal 1: I want to meet 5 persons that I have never met before, every day of the week
  • Goal 2: I want to sign 1 track this week
  • Goal 3: I want to connect with 3 bookings agencies this week

By setting out these goals it’s easier for you think about who to connect with and when.

You have a clear goal and that makes it easier to achieve it.

Cancel out the noise so you’re able to focus on the stuff that matters

Create a Schedule

During the Amsterdam Dance Event there are:

  • 375.000 visitors
  • 2,200 artists
  • 550 speakers
  • 140 venues

This will give you a small insight of how hectic this week is gonna be. It’s crazy.

That’s also the reason why you should create a schedule.

During the week you will have meetings, events and panels that you would like to attend and all of those things will be squeezed in seven days.

Setting up a schedule that includes your pre-arranged meetings, planned parties and panels will make things clearer for you. Things probably won’t go as planned since everyone is planning 10-minute meetings and things will run late… But it’s worth the try.

Here are two tips for when you create your schedule:

  • Add the name of the person, location of the appointment and time
    Also, add the goal of that meeting
  • Before you go to your next meeting, just have quick look at who you’re gonna talk to and what your goal is so that you can guide the conversation. You don’t have a lot of time to talk so try to get the most out of it.


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This guide is helpful to you when:

  • You don’t know where to start
  • You want tips and tricks to finish your tracks
  • You don’t know how to get your music signed
  • You want to know more about music marketing
  • You want to know more about the music industry