In this post I’m going to talk about why your music project really needs a story to help it stand out.

Can you describe your music project, whatever it is, in one simple sentence? If you can do, that’s fantastic. But for the rest of us, I’m going to talk about why I kind of think it’s important.

The Problem Most DIY Musicians Face

Let’s be honest here. There’s just too much music out there. Everything around us is competing for our attention, whether it’s video games, the News, Netflix, or Music, they all need our eyes and ears more than ever to generate revenue.

So, obviously that means there’s lots of competition out there to get to our eyes and ears.

In a report back in 2017 Bandcamp said that 500 bands set up a Bandcamp page every day. That’s active accounts with music. I haven’t got the stats for 2020 but you can imagine it being much more.

2017 Bandcamp Statistics

So, think about that. That’s who we as artists are competing with for our potential fan’s attention.

Sure, you might say people can listen to and be fans with as many bands as they want but that doesn’t mean they have infinite time to do so.

So, I think we have to ask the question, what makes us stand out from these other bands? What makes us interesting enough for people to be interested?

A Solution – We Need a Story

If you listen or read about almost anyone telling you about a new band or artist, they’ll probably frame it in such a way that it’s more than just about what the music is like. They might tell a story and that’s the hook that gets you to differentiate that band from another.

The way Artists are written about

Imagine If I came up to you and said “Oh you should check out this new band called Hogan; they make awesome prog rock music”.

Now that’s all well and good, you might go listen to them – especially if you’re a fan of prog rock. But now imagine if I’d said, “Oh check out this band called Hogan, they make awesome prog rock music inspired by 80s wrestlers.”

Now this might turn you completely off because you’re not a wrestling fan, but it might also do the opposite – anyway the takeaway here is, you’re more likely to be remembered. And remember within these 500+ bands on Bandcamp a day, that’s probably a good aim, don’t you think?

How We Can Find Our Story

So now we know why it’s important, how do we write our story? Well if you’re already making music or doing anything creative, you probably already have one and you just haven’t written it down yet.

So, ask yourself, why do you do what you do? What’s behind it? We’re looking for our niche here, the way we’d describe what we do to other people who ask.

Remember when I asked at the start to describe your music project in one simple sentence?  Well this is where it comes into play. The aim is to drill down to a sort of elevator pitch to what you do, making sure you commit to it with the content. Start with the genre and add the story.

Go with Genre and Story as a starting point

So, for example, my current project is that I’m making ambient rock music inspired by Science Fiction books. Simple as that. Everything I’m creating outside of the music, whether it be YouTube videos or Instagram photos is helping to support that story. If I said I was just an ambient musician, I think I’d be lost in all the other bands.

My music focused YouTube Channel

You might be an acapella musician who writes songs in prison. Or you could be a rapper who writes music for hospital radio stations. Whatever you do, I bet there’s a story in there.

Other Stuff

Now I’m not saying that if you do want to do other stuff that doesn’t coincide with your story, you can’t, just try and not be as vocal about it. You don’t have to stick to this story or niche forever, but it will help get across what you’re currently doing.

But what if I want to say I do a bit of everything?

Yeah that’s cool but don’t you want to help people easily remember you and you know, a jack of all trades, is usually a master of none if you know that phrase.

 We already have a lot to do ourselves as DIY Musicians, what with making the music and everything around it, so at least make the path or focus clearer!

A Take Away

Anyway, I hope that’s helped you out. Obviously, these are just my thoughts and feelings on this subject so take what you want from it. It’s definitely something I’ll be undertaking with my projects going forward but do comment below if this helped you out.

I hope that helped you out. Don’t forget to check out the other DIY Musician Guides on the site.