Storytelling is as important in the music business as in any other creative industry. Some might even argue that it is more important in the modern music industry than ever.
The broad usage of streaming services by music consumers has intensified the need for solid storytelling even more. Being mainly based on track-by-track listening habits, streaming doesn’t inherently focus on a musician’s profile.
If you are lucky, your track will end up in playlists among many other songs. That means that the listener will play it but without immediate access to the profile.
Where does storytelling come into play, you might wonder?
First of all, successful storytelling offers the music consumer something to latch onto once they’re in your profile. Secondly, it gives them a reason to become a fan and enter your ‘universe’. And lastly, it gives you the scope to link your music together into one coherent catalogue. Even if you choose to release singles only as a way to play the streaming rule book.
How to improve your storytelling
- Use storytelling on social media in order to create an emotional response.
People don’t like to be marketed constantly. If you only ever post ‘New Single Out Now’ or ‘Stream my new single now’ it gets really boring. What is more, it doesn’t tell people why they should stream your new single.
Having a storytelling arch that builds up towards your release is much more suited to catch the fan along the way and carry them through the release cycle. What is more, good storytelling aims for an emotional response when someone interacts with your content.
Therefore, it will be much easier for your fans to remember you and your music. In a world with constant newness online, a most valuable step in getting people to actually listen to your music. Don’t simply use social media as a way to tell the news. On the contrary, use it as a way of breaking down your storytelling into bite-size pieces. One post at a time.
Storytelling is a dynamic and interactive exploration of a narrative.Producerhive.com
Before you even plan your release, lay out your storytelling
2. Plan your storytelling first!
Here’s the thing, most musicians finish planning their next album and are about to release the first single before they even begin thinking about the storytelling. There might even be an Offical YouTube video ready as well as an expensive photoshoot.
In my humble opinion, I find this approach problematic. However, I see it very often in my work as a consultant.
Now: the issue here is that you haven’t factored in your storytelling at all before you completed some of your most valuable products.
Don't build your storytelling after your products, build your products in line with your storytelling!
When you start planning your storytelling, make sure to use adequate techniques. That could be a mind map that notes all the different content outlets. From social media posts to newsletters and your website. Factor concerts into the mix as well as videos you create. Think of your storytelling like a book with hundreds of pages. You need to guide your fans through it like an author guides the reader through the book.
This approach will foster the connection between you and your fans or prospect fans that you want to conquer as well as engage their imagination. What is more, igniting their dedication can get your project to the next level. A true fan loves nothing more than talking about their love for music with other fans.
Just look at Reddit and its many subreddits dedicated to music and bands.
The art of storytelling allows you to capture the attention of your listeners beyond your music.groover.com
3. Don’t just sell products – sell a ticket to your world
Why do very successful musicians have fanbases with their own names? Lady Gaga fans call themselves “Little Monsters” with her being “Mother Monster”, for example. It’s storytelling galore! Lady Gaga started the name for her fanbase all the way back in 2009.
A very good example to show that storytelling never stops. Even if you have multiple albums out, your storytelling arc can accommodate them all. Giving your fanbase a dedicated name also gives them dedication. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to go that far. However, make sure to always have the bigger picture in mind and offer your fans more than just your music products.
Don’t know how to get started with storytelling at all?
Every musician has started out brand new at some point. Even if you are a seasoned pro, it’s always a good idea to go back and work on your storytelling. In order to help you out, there are some questions you can ask yourself. For example:
- What got you into music in the first place?
- Why do you play the instruments you do?
- What other musicians are your heroes?
- Did you have to overcome challenges and difficulties in order to become who you are today?
- Why do you write songs and who for?
- If you are in a band, what made you start out together?
- Where are you from and has this inspired your music?
Answering those questions could be the first start on your journey. Note down all your ideas and start brain-storming. Maybe just on a piece of paper, sketch down everything that comes to mind. Don’t judge immediately and perhaps even let it sit for a night or two.
Then go back and take the answers that grab you the most. Now, make them the centre of a mind-map and see how you can mould them into different content ideas for every social media platform as well as all your other outlets.
If you aren’t sure yet, that’s ok. Take your time and make sure you really stand behind your storytelling. However, don’t fall for the temptation to skip this step in order for more ‘exciting’ projects like recording or video shooting.
Laying the foundation properly will give you the structure to build a truly great music career!
There you have it, 3 tricks to improve your storytelling.