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


At Feb 22, 2011, 1:22:00 PM, Anonymous MaryRoseVaro said...


you're VERY GOOD......

and I find myself "listening to" and READING most of the things that come my way from you......

because you're INTERESTING... and....yes.... you 'set it up well'.

No WONDER you're good at what you do!! :)

At Feb 22, 2011, 3:53:00 PM, Blogger James Chatman said...

The story caught me hook, line and sinker. Love the song too!

At Feb 22, 2011, 5:29:00 PM, Blogger Debra Russell said...

There is more than one object lesson in this blog:
1) Stories work
2) Use your stories to let your fans know more about you - giving them a feeling of knowing you personally deepens their experience of their relationship with you - thereby deepening their loyalty to you
3) Use stories that your readers are going to be interested in - how will you know that? You need to know your niche - who they are, what's important to them, and what will they be interested in.
4) Sales pitch should come only after you've already engaged your fans, added value to their lives, deepened your relationship with them - then the sales pitch feels like a cool opportunity not an imposition

At Feb 23, 2011, 5:49:00 AM, Blogger hundredthmonkey said...

Beautifully put Bob!

The biggest difference I've discovered over the past few years is that by sharing your story, people connect with you emotionally - by far the most powerful connection of all.

There is no sales pitch anymore, it's all about giving value.

Thank you for writing this!

At Feb 24, 2011, 8:57:00 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Nicely put, Bob. Great version of Barney's Theme, too. I'd like you guys to reform and take a crack at the Monkees Theme song, too.

At Mar 4, 2011, 7:46:00 AM, Blogger jobywater said...

ha awesome., really great blog and you got me to leave a comment and listen to your track without even thinking! :) cheers for the inspiration


At Jul 3, 2011, 10:10:00 PM, Anonymous indie music said...

I want to change my music and now this time I want to listen to some indie music. Please suggest me any site from where I can download it.

At Mar 7, 2013, 9:40:00 AM, Blogger Rebecca Day said...

This post makes so much sense. So many times artists(including myself) get so caught up in marketing that the act of connecting emotionally, like through telling a story, can be forgotten.

This post has definitely inspired me and I appreciate you writing it!


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