Tom DuPree III icon
Tom DuPree III icon

3 obvious “secrets” from two decades in the music industry

Jul 2, 2024

3 obvious “secrets” from two decades in the music industry

Jul 2, 2024

3 obvious “secrets” from two decades in the music industry

Jul 2, 2024

Finding success as a musician isn’t about what you know or even who you know—it’s about what you do. 

It’s about starting where you are, using what you have, and refusing to quit even when it gets difficult. 

Especially when it gets difficult. 

I have been in the music business in some form or fashion for nearly twenty years, and in that time, I have learned a few “secrets” to success that have helped me unlock a lasting and fulfilling career. 

So if you want to build a professional life in music, these three things might just help you reach your goals and live out your dreams. 


We all start at zero 

Every single “success” you know had to start somewhere. 

When I moved to Nashville in my mid-twenties to try to build a career as a drummer, I knew no one.

No network, no contacts, no friends. 

I was all alone. 

All I had was a video of a drum solo I had paid to have recorded and filmed when I was in college—remember, this was back before the days of having a smartphone and being able to film any- and everything. 

I posted the video to YouTube (I’ve since pulled it down—kinda wish I hadn’t) and put an ad on Craigslist with a link to it to see if I could get an audition to join a band. 

Fortunately, it worked. 

I got invited to audition for a band called The Rust, got the gig, and within ten months, we had done a US tour, changed our name to Throwing Gravity, and had a record deal with Lava / Universal Republic under the direction of industry legend, Jason Flom

Fun fact: Chris Lord-Alge mixed this song (not sure my drums will ever sound better). 

The point is we have to start where we are, use what we have, keep showing up, and, eventually, good things will happen. 

But there are no shortcuts. 

The only way out of the fire is through. 

This is how the game works. 


Consistency is critical 

Of course, it’s not enough to just get started. 

You have to keep going. 

Before I got the gig that resulted in a major-label record deal in Nashville, I had auditioned and played for a lot of bands in Georgia (where I grew up) and California (where I lived for a short time before moving to Tennessee). 

For context, I started gigging in bars when I was 15—my dad had to drive me to my first shows—so I had nearly a decade of “work” experience under my belt before moving to Nashville at 24. 

I was able to take all of those gigs, all of those rehearsals, and all of those auditions and hone my craft over time simply by continuing to show up. 

So when the time came to finally put the rubber to the road, so to speak, I was ready. 

When I started releasing my own music at 34 (ten years later if you’re doing the math), in many ways, I was starting at zero again. 

This was a completely different game than the one I had played for the previous 10-20 years, so I did what I had done before—I just got started and learned along the way. 

I became a student of the craft. 

If I had stopped trying to figure out how to get people to my music after spending money on Fiverr or pitching to a bunch of playlists (I recommend doing neither of these, by the way), I would never have unlocked the power of ads, never would have had anyone listen to my music, and I wouldn’t have found success sharing my journey on YouTube. 

Which means I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to build a business out of that, and DuPree X wouldn’t exist. 

Every good thing I have in my professional life to date can be traced back to the fact that I kept going, kept learning, and just refused to quit. 

Again, this is how the game works. 


Compounding rules 

When we hear the word “compounding” we tend to think of money. 

I know I certainly do. 

But the rule of compounding applies everywhere. 

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and everything we do builds upon the previous thing as long as we keep pushing. 

At every level of my career, I have learned something new that rested on top of what I already knew. 

Playing the drums every day after school helped me build the chops to be in a band in high school. 

Being in a band in high school taught me how to get gigs and become a better performer in college. 

Playing gigs in college helped me nail auditions in my twenties. 

Nailing auditions helped me get a record deal and earn gigs with acts like Jana Kramer and Tonic

Years of recording and touring at a high level put me in the same room as some incredibly successful people like Josh Abraham and Ryan Williams and showed me what it takes to make great music. 

Being a part of this multitude of projects also gave me a taste of what it looks like to successfully market an artist and a record. 

And all of this informed how I continue to approach creating, releasing, and promoting music as an artist and entrepreneur on behalf of others. 

At every step, I have learned something I could add to my tool belt, and that trend continues, even to this day. 

So if you want to build a music career, I hope you’ll take these “secrets” to heart. 

Remember, the beginning is the hardest part, but we all have to start somewhere. 

Consistency is king—if you can just keep showing up, good things will happen. 

And compounding applies everywhere—even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress, you are. 

Keep going. 

I’m rooting for you. 

Finding success as a musician isn’t about what you know or even who you know—it’s about what you do. 

It’s about starting where you are, using what you have, and refusing to quit even when it gets difficult. 

Especially when it gets difficult. 

I have been in the music business in some form or fashion for nearly twenty years, and in that time, I have learned a few “secrets” to success that have helped me unlock a lasting and fulfilling career. 

So if you want to build a professional life in music, these three things might just help you reach your goals and live out your dreams. 


We all start at zero 

Every single “success” you know had to start somewhere. 

When I moved to Nashville in my mid-twenties to try to build a career as a drummer, I knew no one.

No network, no contacts, no friends. 

I was all alone. 

All I had was a video of a drum solo I had paid to have recorded and filmed when I was in college—remember, this was back before the days of having a smartphone and being able to film any- and everything. 

I posted the video to YouTube (I’ve since pulled it down—kinda wish I hadn’t) and put an ad on Craigslist with a link to it to see if I could get an audition to join a band. 

Fortunately, it worked. 

I got invited to audition for a band called The Rust, got the gig, and within ten months, we had done a US tour, changed our name to Throwing Gravity, and had a record deal with Lava / Universal Republic under the direction of industry legend, Jason Flom

Fun fact: Chris Lord-Alge mixed this song (not sure my drums will ever sound better). 

The point is we have to start where we are, use what we have, keep showing up, and, eventually, good things will happen. 

But there are no shortcuts. 

The only way out of the fire is through. 

This is how the game works. 


Consistency is critical 

Of course, it’s not enough to just get started. 

You have to keep going. 

Before I got the gig that resulted in a major-label record deal in Nashville, I had auditioned and played for a lot of bands in Georgia (where I grew up) and California (where I lived for a short time before moving to Tennessee). 

For context, I started gigging in bars when I was 15—my dad had to drive me to my first shows—so I had nearly a decade of “work” experience under my belt before moving to Nashville at 24. 

I was able to take all of those gigs, all of those rehearsals, and all of those auditions and hone my craft over time simply by continuing to show up. 

So when the time came to finally put the rubber to the road, so to speak, I was ready. 

When I started releasing my own music at 34 (ten years later if you’re doing the math), in many ways, I was starting at zero again. 

This was a completely different game than the one I had played for the previous 10-20 years, so I did what I had done before—I just got started and learned along the way. 

I became a student of the craft. 

If I had stopped trying to figure out how to get people to my music after spending money on Fiverr or pitching to a bunch of playlists (I recommend doing neither of these, by the way), I would never have unlocked the power of ads, never would have had anyone listen to my music, and I wouldn’t have found success sharing my journey on YouTube. 

Which means I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to build a business out of that, and DuPree X wouldn’t exist. 

Every good thing I have in my professional life to date can be traced back to the fact that I kept going, kept learning, and just refused to quit. 

Again, this is how the game works. 


Compounding rules 

When we hear the word “compounding” we tend to think of money. 

I know I certainly do. 

But the rule of compounding applies everywhere. 

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and everything we do builds upon the previous thing as long as we keep pushing. 

At every level of my career, I have learned something new that rested on top of what I already knew. 

Playing the drums every day after school helped me build the chops to be in a band in high school. 

Being in a band in high school taught me how to get gigs and become a better performer in college. 

Playing gigs in college helped me nail auditions in my twenties. 

Nailing auditions helped me get a record deal and earn gigs with acts like Jana Kramer and Tonic

Years of recording and touring at a high level put me in the same room as some incredibly successful people like Josh Abraham and Ryan Williams and showed me what it takes to make great music. 

Being a part of this multitude of projects also gave me a taste of what it looks like to successfully market an artist and a record. 

And all of this informed how I continue to approach creating, releasing, and promoting music as an artist and entrepreneur on behalf of others. 

At every step, I have learned something I could add to my tool belt, and that trend continues, even to this day. 

So if you want to build a music career, I hope you’ll take these “secrets” to heart. 

Remember, the beginning is the hardest part, but we all have to start somewhere. 

Consistency is king—if you can just keep showing up, good things will happen. 

And compounding applies everywhere—even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress, you are. 

Keep going. 

I’m rooting for you. 

Finding success as a musician isn’t about what you know or even who you know—it’s about what you do. 

It’s about starting where you are, using what you have, and refusing to quit even when it gets difficult. 

Especially when it gets difficult. 

I have been in the music business in some form or fashion for nearly twenty years, and in that time, I have learned a few “secrets” to success that have helped me unlock a lasting and fulfilling career. 

So if you want to build a professional life in music, these three things might just help you reach your goals and live out your dreams. 


We all start at zero 

Every single “success” you know had to start somewhere. 

When I moved to Nashville in my mid-twenties to try to build a career as a drummer, I knew no one.

No network, no contacts, no friends. 

I was all alone. 

All I had was a video of a drum solo I had paid to have recorded and filmed when I was in college—remember, this was back before the days of having a smartphone and being able to film any- and everything. 

I posted the video to YouTube (I’ve since pulled it down—kinda wish I hadn’t) and put an ad on Craigslist with a link to it to see if I could get an audition to join a band. 

Fortunately, it worked. 

I got invited to audition for a band called The Rust, got the gig, and within ten months, we had done a US tour, changed our name to Throwing Gravity, and had a record deal with Lava / Universal Republic under the direction of industry legend, Jason Flom

Fun fact: Chris Lord-Alge mixed this song (not sure my drums will ever sound better). 

The point is we have to start where we are, use what we have, keep showing up, and, eventually, good things will happen. 

But there are no shortcuts. 

The only way out of the fire is through. 

This is how the game works. 


Consistency is critical 

Of course, it’s not enough to just get started. 

You have to keep going. 

Before I got the gig that resulted in a major-label record deal in Nashville, I had auditioned and played for a lot of bands in Georgia (where I grew up) and California (where I lived for a short time before moving to Tennessee). 

For context, I started gigging in bars when I was 15—my dad had to drive me to my first shows—so I had nearly a decade of “work” experience under my belt before moving to Nashville at 24. 

I was able to take all of those gigs, all of those rehearsals, and all of those auditions and hone my craft over time simply by continuing to show up. 

So when the time came to finally put the rubber to the road, so to speak, I was ready. 

When I started releasing my own music at 34 (ten years later if you’re doing the math), in many ways, I was starting at zero again. 

This was a completely different game than the one I had played for the previous 10-20 years, so I did what I had done before—I just got started and learned along the way. 

I became a student of the craft. 

If I had stopped trying to figure out how to get people to my music after spending money on Fiverr or pitching to a bunch of playlists (I recommend doing neither of these, by the way), I would never have unlocked the power of ads, never would have had anyone listen to my music, and I wouldn’t have found success sharing my journey on YouTube. 

Which means I wouldn’t have been fortunate enough to build a business out of that, and DuPree X wouldn’t exist. 

Every good thing I have in my professional life to date can be traced back to the fact that I kept going, kept learning, and just refused to quit. 

Again, this is how the game works. 


Compounding rules 

When we hear the word “compounding” we tend to think of money. 

I know I certainly do. 

But the rule of compounding applies everywhere. 

Nothing exists in a vacuum, and everything we do builds upon the previous thing as long as we keep pushing. 

At every level of my career, I have learned something new that rested on top of what I already knew. 

Playing the drums every day after school helped me build the chops to be in a band in high school. 

Being in a band in high school taught me how to get gigs and become a better performer in college. 

Playing gigs in college helped me nail auditions in my twenties. 

Nailing auditions helped me get a record deal and earn gigs with acts like Jana Kramer and Tonic

Years of recording and touring at a high level put me in the same room as some incredibly successful people like Josh Abraham and Ryan Williams and showed me what it takes to make great music. 

Being a part of this multitude of projects also gave me a taste of what it looks like to successfully market an artist and a record. 

And all of this informed how I continue to approach creating, releasing, and promoting music as an artist and entrepreneur on behalf of others. 

At every step, I have learned something I could add to my tool belt, and that trend continues, even to this day. 

So if you want to build a music career, I hope you’ll take these “secrets” to heart. 

Remember, the beginning is the hardest part, but we all have to start somewhere. 

Consistency is king—if you can just keep showing up, good things will happen. 

And compounding applies everywhere—even if you don’t feel like you’re making progress, you are. 

Keep going. 

I’m rooting for you. 

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Subscribe to the Newsletter: Join our growing network of artists, creators, and entrepreneurs by receiving The One Thing directly to your inbox every week.

  1. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.

  1. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.

  1. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Subscribe to the Newsletter: Join our growing network of artists, creators, and entrepreneurs by receiving The One Thing directly to your inbox every week.

  1. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.

  1. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.

  1. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Subscribe to the Newsletter: Join our growing network of artists, creators, and entrepreneurs by receiving The One Thing directly to your inbox every week.

  1. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.

  1. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.

  1. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

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Subscribe to The One Thing and receive one thing to help you improve your marketing and expand your audience—delivered every Tuesday.