Tony Robbins, is one of my favorite mentors and speaks about a lot of things we need as musicians to build our business and be successful. If you have Netflix, check out his special: “I am not your Guru.” he discusses the power of “Story” and how essential it is to building your brand, product, business, etc. I’ll be putting a link at the end here with a great article to read and 2 minute video. Definitely check it out.
Why is story so important to your music career?
Harsh Truth: When it comes to marketing your music no one cares about your music. I know. Let that one sink in. Podcasters, bloggers, publishers, labels, TV Shows – all are looking for a great yarn to tell. There’s a million Independent Music Artists just like you, trying to make it happen and talking about their music. If you want to stick out of the crowd: Stop talking about your music and start talking about your story!
Think about it: American Idol, America’s Got Talent, The Voice – They all have one important element in common. The story. The audience has to empathize and feel for us first, before hearing our music.
Which one is more meaningful? The artist who goes on stage and sings her song about working 9-5 and doing dishes or a story introduction where we learn this artist is a single mother who came from a broken down home in TN & this was her last audition attempt before going back to waiting tables and taking the 9-5 to support her 3 year old daughter?
As an audience member, I now care about this person. I want to see her win. When I listen to her song, it means that much more to me because I can empathize with her situation. As an audience, we’re on this woman’s side and we support her. We want to see her win. Story is the one tool that can truly make your career happen. How do we apply story to our careers as Musicians?
1)Use story to create a 30 second pitch-line about your music.
2)Create Curiosity & Excitement Story element around you/your band
Bad Example of Story Usage:
“I started playing music when I was 18, but then couldn’t pay the bills so I got a job and currently work as a barista at Starbucks. I still try to play out when I can and I wrote this album because it’s really meaningful to what I was going through at the time.”
This story may relate to the artist, but it does not captivate the readers/audience. We all know the story of the artist who can’t pay his bills and needs to get a day-job. What we haven’t heard is what happened at Starbucks? Maybe the manager got mad because you couldn’t make a caramel machiatto, so you went home and wrote a song called, “My Machiatto rocks!” Now that’s relevant, fun & somewhat engaging!
Good Example of Story Usage:
“I started playing music when I was kid, but when I grew up I realized I couldn’t pay the bills, so I got myself a 9-5 job as a zoo keeper. I know, it sounds weird, but I have always liked learning about animals and places. My mom used to have national Geographic all over the house, so I kind of ended up reading one too many of them. I know, I’m a nerd! Any way, one day I stayed a bit later at the zoo and was working on my song “Louder than you.” I’d just finished feeding the lion cage and figured they could be an audience for a few minutes. So I started playing my new song & when I got to the chorus one of the Lions started roaring! And then his female partner joined him! I knew right then, I had to push this song. I mean if no one listened to it, maybe I could just sell it to the Lions or make it into a zoo soundtrack.”
Ok… this is farfetched, but this story has a lot of elements to it. The song “Louder than you” is a perfect segway into the Lion Story. Secondly, this isn’t some boring songwriter at a cafe, this guy worked at a zoo! Who does that? That’s a crazy world. This story gives bloggers/podcasters/publishers a lot to talk about & guess what? There’s some real mystery here! What kind of songs make Lions Roar in a chorus? I want to hear that! Now everyone will want to know where to get this Zoo Keeper’s songs.
Always be thinking about your story and how to build that into your brand. Here’s Tony Robbins’ article on story. I’m off to feed the lions.
Need help/tips to help you further your music career? Always here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org