Disruption as marketing

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Case Studies  |  Personal branding  |  Music  |  Best Practices

Most music artists use the usual route to launch a record – try to get radio airplay and try to get the media to write a review.

That’s not what Ronnie Dunn did to launch three new songs. Instead he performed a guerrilla gig from the roof of a restaurant, playing as the CMT Music Awards show audience was filing out of the venue next door.

Since Ronnie Dunn is well known to the country music world - his duo Brooks and Dunn have won more Country Music Association awards and Academy of Country Music awards than any act in the history of country music and sold 30 million records - fifteen thousand people gathered to watch the gig. He created quite the scene!

At his home in Nashville, I interviewed Ronnie about the disruption.

Direct link to Ronnie Dunn discusses disruption as a music marketing technique on YouTube.


Live video of Ronnie's performance was projected onto the walls of Rippy's (where he was playing) and two other nearby music venues, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and Honky Tonk Central. At the same time his @RonnieDunn Twitter handle and hashtags were projected onto the roof of the nearby Ryman Auditorium. As Ronnie says in the interview, that aspect of the disruption caused him some trouble.

The hoopla generated tons of attention for Ronnie’s music as people shared on social media and the music press wrote about the surprise appearance.

Country Weekly: Ronnie Dunn Ambushes CMA Music Fest
USA Today: Ronnie Dunn debuts new single on Nashville rooftop

Put yourself out there

In the past, Ronnie has generated great success using mainstream methods. His fan base allows him to enjoy continued success no matter what direction he goes.

But his choice to put himself out there to give fans a surprise means that he stays relevant.

Ronnie uses Facebook to engage with fans on a regular basis, with many of his posts generating thousands of likes.

And heck, he even quotes Seth Godin in my interview. He's a marketing geek!