I have a CD coming out. (Earthbound. It's awesome. You should totally buy it. There's a link at the side of the page at www.bradbaileymusic.com. I'll wait.) Near 1000 facebook friends. 700 some odd twitter followers. A cool website. But I still don't really know what to do to make this whole music career thing happen.
One thing I learned was worrying about what you don't know is a good way to not ever do anything.
I figured a good way to meet musicians and let them know I'm in town and trying to get involved was to go see bands play. Some immediately asked me to sit in on a song or two. But a lot of times, I just hung out, said hi and that I liked what they were doing. Then I went back. And again. And they told me other places they were playing with different people. So I went there. I saw events on facebook where people were playing, and I went there. And did it all again.
A facebook friend runs an event where musicians play for people in recovery. I asked him if I could be a part of it, and he gladly welcomed me. I showed up with my guitar, direct box, cables, and microphone, but forgot a guitar stand. I was plugged in, and not having a place to set my guitar, I ended up playing with most of the other artists at the event. That happy accident resulted in forming an acoustic duo, and another artist asking me to play with him pretty much any time we are within 30 feet of each other.
It also led to an in person meeting with another facebook friend, Andrea Bensmiller. (www.dreadvox.com) Andrea is a phenomenal musician, as well as the Managing Editor of Live2Play Magazine. (www.l2pnet.com) She was gracious enough to meet with me and another local musician, and talk with us about different aspects of building a career. Andrea was full of encouragement, and more importantly, a wealth of practical knowledge, experience, and advice. Later I thanked her for her time, and she commented that she was always happy to help other musicians, but also that she noticed that I was doing whatever I could to support other artists; going to shows, liking facebook posts, retweeting links. It seemed like it wasn't that big a deal, just playing on the computer. But that's how I found out about shows. Someone else doing the tiniest thing to support a friend or a band they liked got me to where I am getting calls from people to play with them.
Your friends and acquaintances have different projects, businesses, artistic endeavors, charities, etc. that they believe in and are working hard to make happen. Seek them out and support them. Buy their book. (I strongly endorse this one. That's how I met my girlfriend.) Go to their store. See their band play. Attend their gallery showing. Sign up for the 5k they're running in. And tell other people about them. Invest in people, and what they put their sweat and blood into.
And seriously, go check out Andrea Bensmiller's completely awesome blog series at www.l2pnet.com. It is far and away one of the most helpful and practical things I have ever had the privilege to read.