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Blink 182 Drummer’s Networking Advice

Blink 182 Drummer’s Networking Advice

Liston Witherill
Liston Witherill
3 min read

Believe it or not, this guy can teach you everything you need to know about utilizing 1:1 connections and content to build your network. Yes, this guy:

That’s Travis Barker, Blink 182 drummer, record producer, and record label owner. He now produces and promotes hip-hop artists, too, which is a long way from how he started.

I’m not afraid to admit that I saw Blink 182 in concert at the height of their popularity. It was at the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles, and the average attendee at this particular show was a 15-year-old girl who knew all of the lyrics to all of the songs.

Today, Barker produces and promotes several hip-hop artists, which is a long way from how he started as the drummer of every teenage girl’s favorite bubblegum rock band. In a recent interview, Joe Rogan asked Barker how he was able to make the transition from pop act to rap producer. Here’s the real meat of it, at about 4:45 of the clip:

“I came out with a rap project where I produced all the beats and I got all my favorite rappers. I think I had 30 guests on there, and Lil’ Wayne asked me to go on tour with him.”

This is networking advice you can apply to your business immediately. I’ve talked about the benefits of starting a podcast before, and this is exactly the kind of thing that Barker did. By creating his own album and asking other artists to be a part of it, he gave them a lot.

The big, overarching theme here is that he provided each guest with a compelling reason to start a conversation. It’s unclear how strategic he was in creating the album in the first place, but he always loved hip-hop, and creating a project gave him a reason to contact other successful artists.

By participating in the project, each artist was given access to a new audience. It may come as a total shock to you, but artists (and business owners!) quite like more exposure, especially to new audiences who don’t know them or are less familiar with their work.

Free publicity is a key element to the whole thing. That captures attention and drives interest in the relationship right away.

Not to mention the fact that everyone who participated had the chance to earn more revenue from being on the record.

And you know what else? It was a new and novel experience for them. Artists typically work with a relatively small set of producers in their genre, so getting into the studio with a well-known rock drummer is an opportunity worth seizing.

In addition to all of those benefits, taking part in the project was high leverage and low commitment for every guest. Each guest probably showed up to the studio one day, wrote a verse or two, recorded vocals, and left. That’s typically how it works. So in just a few hours, each guest got all of the above benefits. Not a bad deal for the guests.

There are lots of different ways to apply Barker’s technique to your business. The bottom line is that it’s a whole lot easier to start a conversation with anyone, for any reason – including doing work with them – if you give them a really compelling reason to do it.

So the next time you dare reach out to someone who could be a strategic parter or client of yours, ask yourself this question:

What’s in it for them?