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The Most Underrated Things in a Musician’s Career

A few weeks ago, I posted about The Most overrated Things in a Musician’s Career. Due to some requests, I’ve decided to write about the most underrated things that we often don’t think about or use to the fullest extent. Like my previous article, there are a number of things that depend some time or commitment. However, unlike the “overrated” list, these are all things that you can probably never have too much of.

  • Goals: It’s easy to lose sight of our end-goal when thinking about all of our tasks when it comes to writing/performing music, booking tours, promoting, social media, merchandising, distribution, sponsorship, and so on. However, it’s essential that everything you do is a part of the bigger picture, part of your overall goal. Why should you offer custom hoodies when that money could be invested in a press campaign? Should you play SXSW or CMJ? Or both? It all depends on your goals and thinking about the steps that get you there. Don’t just do things because it seems like a good opportunity. Do it because it makes sense for your goals and will provide a good return on investment.

  • A Good Press Photo: These days, it seems that everyone with a decent camera thinks that they are a professional photographer. You wouldn’t want someone who knows barely knows how to plug a mic in to do your sound, you’d want someone skilled. Same goes for photography: This is your primary image for press, for your websites, and your image…why would you want to skimp here? Learn how to hire a good photographer.

  • A Good Press Kit: Having a decent press kit comes in handy. Take the time to cater it to the specific audience. It’s far more effective to have something customized for someone than to blanket people with a generic kit.

  • The Super Fan: How often do you discover new music because of an ad instead of hearing about them from someone you trust?  It’s easy to get so caught up with the idea of making new fans that we forget to concentrate on existing ones. In fact, you’ll make more fans simply by focusing on your super fans than if you would spent that time trying to convince strangers to follow your music. It’s the super fans that will help your music spread.

  • Daily Habits:The concept of my new book is built around developing habits that will help you take on the music industry. People generally develop daily habits: checking their email/social messages, reading news, watching certain programs. etc. Why not build in a certain amount of time everyday dedicated to working on your music career? This could be on marketing, booking, press, developing skills, and more.

  • The Thank You: At the end of the day, promoters would like to be recognized. If you want to stand out from the crowd, send a personalized thank you note to each person as they help your career: reviewers, promoters, sound/tech staff, etc. It makes a world of difference.


Notice a trend? The “overrated” items were usually big, sweeping, ideas or goals that could dramatically shift everything. However, the real path to success isn’t from one big instant, it’s from slow, steady, steps that get you there. It might not be as glorious, but it’s much more effective.


Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

Reader Comments (4)

Once again Simon, great article with wise insights! I would have to add to your list image, because image affects many of the other items on the list, especially press kits and photos. This of course is coming from an image consultant!

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterLori Bumgarner

Great points. Here's another...take some time to jam and enjoy your instrument.

April 17 | Unregistered

This sort of goes along with your "The Thank You", but please guys, have a good friendly attitude! People will be much more likely to help and stick their neck out for you if you are likeable! It's a simple thing, but some don't seem to get it. Just my two cents.

Great post!

April 18 | Unregistered CommenterHeirToMadness

If you act like a professional, people will treat you like a professional.

April 20 | Unregistered CommenterC David Smart

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