By Chris Robley (SEPTEMBER 6, 2013, published here: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/09/why-your-story-is-just-as-important-as-your-music/?utm_source=cdbaby&utm_medium=email&utm_content=09-13-13&utm_campaign=DIY091313)
Why your story is just as important as your music
The major labels may have their million-dollar marketing machines — but with all the money in the world, there’s still one thing they can’t manufacture: an authentic story, something unforgettably unique or heartwarming, something that MUST be heard.
Such was the case with Fred Stobaugh, a 96-year-old man from Illinois who wrote a song called “Oh Sweet Lorraine” after his wife of 73 years passed away. Through the twists of kismet, his lyrics ended up in the hands of Jacob Colgan, a local producer/performer who decided to help Fred turn “Oh Sweet Lorraine” into a professionally-recorded track. They also captured the whole process on video.
The resulting mini-documentary went viral overnight, and now “Oh Sweet Lorraine” has sold more than 100,000 copies on iTunes, surpassing the latest singles of both Justin Timberlake and Miley Cyrus.
I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that this is a HUGE achievement for an independent artist, especially given that JT and Miley were still in the eye of a veritable hype-storm following their appearances at the VMAs (where Timberlake won a bunch of moonmen and “the twerker” stuck her tongue out a dozen times).
In contrast to that spectacle (which was talked about on every news network, culture blog, and Twitter feed for a week straight), what did Fred Stobaugh have? Sincerity, a touching story, the help of a local musician, and a heartwarming YouTube video.
Major labels still have a marketing advantage (you can do a lot with money, connections, and momentum), butthere’s one area where DIYers have them beat: the viral power of a good story.