Brilliant music marketer Amber Horsburgh asked if me to write a couple sentences of advice to someone entering the music business for her blog Deep Cuts. The below themes are imperative to a young person’s success, and they will supercharge a leader already on his or her way.

A “couple sentences” later, here’s what I came up with 🙂

Get wins on your belt! The first job might not be the one for you. That’s ok. Jump in! And always do your best. You can pivot any time.

Bring value to everybody you meet (especially those you respect) by working relentlessly, sharing knowledge, coming up with ideas, not being afraid of rejection, and putting forth more ideas.

When your ideas are accepted, see the execution through start to finish. Analyze the results. Present the wins and areas for improvement.

Be heard without being pushy. It’s okay to push! Pushing is about getting the other person to do something, whereas pushy is your own state of being. You can push without being excessive or unpleasant.

Come prepared to every meeting.

Show up early. Before it starts, make a conscious effort to be present with the people in the room instead of on your phone.

Get to know people… What they’re like… What they like… What drives them… When you know what they are interested in building, you can come up with ideas aligned with their vision.

Create together. Don’t worry about credit. If you want to establish ownership, do it through project management – Organize the communication to the entire team working on the project. It’s rare and others will take notice of it.

Respond quickly, but don’t get trapped in email – Responding quickly doesn’t necessarily equate to great work.

Know your priorities. Work off your to-do list instead of your inbox.

Deep work is often behind the most impactful projects. Be sure to make time for it.

The music industry moves fast and can be overwhelming… Stay balanced. Set workout routines, meditate, and eat good food.

Write hand written notes to express acknowledgement when others deliver greatness!

Relationships are the most important thing. Give more than you take.

Meet as many people with similar aspirations as possible. Help as much as you can. Remember you will grow with them your entire career. Never forget you will grow with them your entire career. Yes, I said that twice.

Never make enemies. Things don’t always go right. When they go wrong, clear the air, take responsibility, and move forward. 

When people talk negatively, ignore them or address it with them. Others’ perceptions create your reputation, but never let their feelings occupy your headspace. Stay focused on your dream.

Connect others freely and effortlessly. When making an introduction, never be concerned what’s in it for you. Don’t ask for finder’s fees or accept them unless that’s your business model. Understand you may not get credit for these connections. People may even forget you made the connection. Don’t worry about it. Be patient. Giving value generously returns itself tenfold over time. 

Don’t keep points. The only points which count are whether you love what you do and feel you are making progress. If you are not making progress, consult others as to how you can add value – focus on them or the projects themselves, not yourself.

Don’t be afraid of the cold reach out whether via email, call, or even just going up to the person. One time a rookie in the biz came up to me at a festival and asked if I was Jake Udell? We’ve become friends and supported each other in numerous ways.

Teach others when they ask for help. If you don’t have the answers, but know somebody who does, connect them. If it’s not appropriate to do so, find another way to get them the information they need. 

You never, ever know when your big break is going to come… It will only come if you believe it will, and spend all your time and energy working relentlessly toward making it happen. Make that extra phone call. Take that extra meeting. Go out and meet more people. Experience new places. Build networks in different cities.

Develop mentors and mentees inside and outside your organization. It’s easier to do inside, but outside  mentors broaden your perspectives, expand your network, and increase your knowledge base.

Do whatever it takes to create greatness – Great music, great content, great marketing, great communication.

Always have your client’s back and overcome whatever obstacles are necessary to build their audience with them.

Treat their fans as if they were your own family. Get to know them, understand what drives them, and have your artists give them more of what drives them.

Build great teams around your artists. Get multiple references and take multiple meetings with business managers, lawyers, agents, etc. Be gracious for their time. Let them speak first! If they don’t organically talk about your artist, you know their priority is not your artist. If they are passionate about your artist, well prepared, and inquisitive, they will likely be a better fit. Don’t necessarily be sold by the person willing to do the most to get the deal. Check their track record. Do they put in the work long-term? Do they have the resources? What about the clout within their organization? The network to make big moves? What does commitment mean to them? How do they commit every day?

Keep growing. Refine your operational process, improve your communication, and always keep your relationships organized.

Be as clear as possible with how you expect things to be done. If a project wasn’t handled how you wanted it to be, how can you be more clear about how you want it to be handled in the future?

Checklists are underrated. Create them. Use them. Share them.

Write down your principles. What do you stand for? What’s your mission? Do you know it? Are you reviewing it everyday? It can be a simple philosophy which guides your decision-making process. If you have one, repeat it to yourself over and over. Share it with your artists, friends, family, colleagues, partners, and the world.  The more you share it, the more it will become a reality. I learned this from Pete Carroll’s Win Forever. For example, mine is to CREATE TOGETHER. I am dedicated to creating together with the most talented people in the world in a way that inspires others across the globe to accomplish their dreams. I write this down EVERY DAY in my Best Self journal! Creating together is the ethos of everything I aspire to do as a leader with my team at TH3RD BRAIN, our artists, and our world – 1 +1 = 3.

Say “yes” more than “no”. You never know behind which “yes” door your big break could be. Don’t be afraid to say no in order to ensure your priorities are fulfilled first. Making good decisions on how to spend your time will become a backbone for your success.

Do what you love and love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, figure out what’s missing, and how you can get it. Constantly develop and refine your vision for the next steps to accomplishing your dream.

Deliver value, value and more value! What you deem as valuable may not be valuable to someone else. That’s okay. Once again, don’t count. Just deliver. Eventually the right people will notice. Greatness is shared and spreads. If you’re the beacon of its creation, your career will grow alongside it.

Never forget the extra mile is the road less travelled. Ideas are a dime a dozen, but those who put them into practice are priceless!

If you liked this post, in honor of Valentine’s Day, feel free to share these encouraging words with somebody you love today!


Top 3 Fallacies Holding Back Your Music Industry Career
April 20, 2019 12:22 pm

[…] self-belief one’s value is more than they’re contributing. However, if you’re focused on supercharging your growth, your network and systems will always be strong enough to propel you forward and establish your […]

May 19, 2019 11:27 pm

Hey Jake, as an artist I’m finding your blog posts to be super helpful. There’s a ton of great info. I’m learning a lot by reading through everything!

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