Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

Music marketing ideas for DIY artists, managers, promoters and music biz pros

February 22, 2011

Your Story: A Powerful Way to Connect with Music Fans

It was 1994. The band I was in, called Roomful of Jimmys, had just started some intense sessions for our debut release. At the end of one long day of recording, our bass player, Jim Broyles, had to leave for a family commitment.

But we still needed to record the drum track on a song that Jim sang - a parody called "Barney Rotten." (Imagine Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols singing the Barney the dinosaur kids show theme song. It's hilarious.)

I remember Jim saying, "I should have left already, but if you guys want, I'll do one take. But that's all I have time for, and we have to do it now!"

So we slammed into a quick, punked-out version of "Barney Rotten." Tony Peteraf was on drums; Dave Palmier and I played guitar. As soon as the last chord rang out, Jim quickly packed his stuff and headed out the door.

When we listened to that one and only take later, it was magical. In our haste to cram the song in, we all played with extra intensity. Not only did the drums sound good, but everyone's part seemed perfectly suited for the song.

It ended up being the only track on the album that had no overdubs (except for an old audio clip at the beginning). Still to this day, that song makes me smile - and everyone who hears it for the first time laughs out loud.

Hmm ...

What did I just do?

I told you a story.

If you're still reading this, I at least held your interest for a few moments. In addition, there's a good chance you were also intrigued and are now curious to know what that song sounds like. (Hold on. That's coming in a minute.)

I related this real-life experience to make a point:

Storytelling is a powerful communication device. It's practically wired into our social DNA. Long before the Internet or even the invention of the printing press, human beings used stories to pass along customs, teachings, philosophy, and more.

Knowing this, why not use the power of stories to communicate with your fans. Don't just deliver facts and sales pitches. Speak with your fans in a way that will pull them in and inspire them to visualize whatever it is you are wanting to impart.

So ...

Don't just tell me that your new album is for sale ...
Tell me a story about something weird that happened during the recording process, an experience you had that inspired one of the songs, or a special guest musician who joined you on one of the tracks.

Don't just tell me about the date and location of your next gig ...
Tell me a story about the venue: what happened the last time you played there, someone famous who played there before, an unusual item on the menu, or a cool decoration they have on the wall.

Don't just tell me about the new free song download you have available ...
Tell me a story about where it was recorded, why you chose to play a kazoo for the lead solo, or the ridiculous jazz chord you used in the third verse.

In short, engage people with stories about the musical things you do and promote.

Any time you send an email to your fans, publish a new blog post, record a video clip, or update one of your social media profiles ... ask yourself:

Is there a story I can tell that will communicate this message better?

If so, tell it. And connect with your fans in a more meaningful and timeless way.

What are your thoughts on the power of storytelling? I welcome your ideas in the Comments section below.


P.S. Wanna hear that punk rock version of "Barney Rotten"?

Use this streaming player:

Or download an MP3 of the track using this link.

Listen to more tracks from the album on CD Baby.
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posted by Bob Baker @ 11:19 AM   8 comments