It’s Not your “Story”, It’s your Music
I’ve been reading a lot lately about publicists and writers advising bands that in order to “get press”, you need a compelling story. Something that will make a music journalist or blogger want to write about you. You’ve been told that people want to hear about “the time your van caught on fire”, and “your music is the last thing that matters”.
Is this really true - is it all about your “story” and not the music these days?
I can already see artists racking their brains, trying to come up with some wild episode on tour in Poughkeepsie, just to differentiate themselves from the next band.
Here’s a tip: If writers don’t care about your music, they sure as hell aren’t going to care about your “story”.
Okay, sure, a publicist or writer will be hard-pressed to come up with something to write about your band if you don’t help them out. But those same writers will have no inclination to write about you whatsoever if your music isn’t good.
So, to clarify, it should be “Music First, Plus a Story” and not “Compelling Story and Oh Yeah We Also Have Some Music.”
The real reason Bloggers and DJ’s aren’t opening your emails and checking out your music isn’t because you don’t have a cool story about your band. It’s because they don’t have a quick and convenient way to listen to your song while simultaneously reading your story.
Bloggers and writers are really just fans themselves. Fans want to listen, not read. Your story only becomes interesting and unique after a fan finds your music interesting and unique. But the story is not the hook, your music is. A story about a guy recording music in a cabin in the woods is not all that interesting - until you’re captivated by the music. Only then does that peculiar yet boring story become fascinating.
Your goal should be to get your music in front of as many bloggers and writers as possible. Get your music heard by these folks. Give them an easy way to listen.
And…. have a story to go with your music. Just don’t spend too much time inventing some crazy incident. Your hometown alone makes you unique enough in itself. Expound on where you’re from. If you live in LA or New York, then narrow it down to the neighborhood you’re in. Don’t worry, you won’t be competing to get press against a band from the same neighborhood in the same week.
And for God’s sake, save your best storytelling for your actual songs.