So here’s where I am at. For those who are not familiar with my musical dealings, my context is here (otherwise skip to my actual questions): I have a number of musical projects that all are about creating and releasing music and not performing.
My band is a recording group as we live apart from each other. I have around four other projects that I do solo under different names (for stylistic reasons). Two of these have no finished EPs/Albums completed yet, one I released last year, the other will be wrapped up and ready to be released in the next month or two.
At this stage, I use Distrokid to get my music on the usual digital platforms and I love Bandcamp.
If I don’t tour and have no merchandise, is it still worth having a website as a one stop shop for ALL of my music (I see no point having one for each project). By enlarge, it would be a simple place that would house or point to where you can get each of my things, bios, photos and EPKs for each as well.
Is this superfluous or is it a good way to have people jump from one to another?
if it is still relevant for an artist like me (I guess it’s essentially like I run a label with my own work), what platform would you recommend? I see bandzoozle looks kinda cool. Seems affordable enough, looks good and does what I want. I’m not keen to head down the WordPress route again, however. Any other suggestions?
Lastly, this is all great in theory, but how many of you actually every look for or visit an artist’s website - especially an independent one? I have done it a few times in the last year or so, but very rarely. Especially if there is no tour or merch info, would you visit?
Back when I performed live, it was easier to sell CDs and downloads at events and weddings than today. I had a website then, and it did get some major visits. It also helped me find new bookings because the brides would simply pass my website to their bridesmaids and it sort of worked like that. Also, It was harder for people to resist buying a cd from an innocent looking dolled up flautist at weddings
Today, I don’t tour or perform, so having a website isn’t quite relevant in my case. I simply rely on social media. I also rely on partnering with actual Yoga studios to sell my work. Though it is quite cheap to have a website, so why not. I am just too lazy to make one. Even though you don’t technically need a website, you still need to be visible and found. Just in case, someone happens to google your band name, they need to be able to reach you in some form.
Just my opinion here as an hobbiest musician and music lover. There are principles in the world that work universally. One of them is that when a person is mostly focused on giving, they tend to always get in return. Many books on sales and management talk about asking what you can do to help someone that you may want to work with. And you don’t do it with the focus of getting back. This has worked in countless companies and it is even in the movie “Miracle on 34th Street”. So with the principle in mind of giving to your fans instead of what and how you can get most from them, I would think that anything you can do that shows more of who you are as a musician, and a person, is helping them to know you. People want to make a connection, they want to know how many instruments you play, they want to know what other bands you played in. They want to know what other musicians you know, where you bought your Les Paul and how that rip in your amp speaker happened. Your website can do a better job at this than anything else. So if I were a musician, I would have as much about me and my work on a site. Don’t write it in 3rd person, write it as you, 3rd person is dead or for banks. I don’t google many bands like you said, but when I do, I look long and hard. I want to know if that was a hollow body guitar used on that lead. I want to know if that is a Zildjian medium 22’ ride he’s playing. Chicks want to know if you are married. Some want to know if you have any pets. Bono constantly talks about how they have a strong connection with their fans because they are constantly putting out there who they are and what they are doing, all of it.
I think if someone likes a persons music, they want to make an emotional connection and know all they can about them. I would try hard to fill that quest and make it as easy as possible. So that picture of you with your pet goat will make them want to tell their friends to listen to you, because they love your music and your goat. Or sometimes just the goat.
Squarespace has sites that as incredibly easy to set up. Its just upload and put in text. You can sell Mp3s off of that site, I have and they just buy them and download and the money goes into your paypal. Very easy to do and it will make you feel great about yourself when you know that is there for others to find.
Thanks @WeGotLost, I agree with much of what you said. I looked into square space and how it compares to BandZoozle and I kinda liked how the latter worked regarding music as I can point all potential music related interest to the relevant bandcamp pages.
Seems like it can’t hurt, although I don’t have a goat
I can’t see myself keeping up with adding too much content but I think I can create something good enough to give a decent insight for any potential stalkers (musically speaking).
WeGotLost hit on what is probably the most crucial factor to growing and maintaining an audience. You need to form a relationship with your fans just as you would with a friend. People are much more likely to buy your music once you’ve formed a bond with them…, and that friendship /bond must be reinforced regularly if you want to keep your fans and continue growing your fan base. Your personal connection to your fans will be more critical than your music. You can be an extremely mediocre musician, performer and songwriter but if you are really social, outgoing and communicative with your fans and potential fans you’ll be successful and you can make a living off music alone. There’s thousands of examples of that in the mainstream music industry but it probably applies to us Indie musicians/ artists even more. If you have a very social, outgoing personality you’re in a great position to take advantage of all the modern ways of connecting with your fans or potential fans.
I believe having a website is important if you are serious about growing an audience. You can use social media sites too. Just always be aware that any Facebook page, YouTube channel , or any other social is not owned by you and all the effort that you put into building your social media pages/ channels/ etc., can be taken from you in an instant. It happened to me just a month and a half ago. I had built my Facebook band page for 10 years ( since 2011) and without any explanation Facebook unpublished my page and then 5 days later they deleted my page. I contested their decision and I still haven’t heard back from them. It’s a good idea to direct people to your official website and to keep them aware of it because if the rug is pulled out from under you at some point, at least they’ll be able to still find you and communicate with you. Imagine having thousands of Facebook fans all of a sudden vanish one day. Those fans are your success, they’re your building blocks to creating your musical kingdom. I understand that some people are happy with having 5 or 10 people hearing their music and then never listening to it again but if you want your music to mean something to people you need to be business minded…, or find someone who is business minded and can take care of that aspect of your career. I have a very difficulty with the business side of music. I’m not very social and I tend to be a private person, so selling myself has been a big struggle for me, but I don’t want to stop trying. For me it’s a battle but I keep trying because I dread the thought of my music being meaningless to anyone but myself. I want to create something from my music, just as any successful artist has. The likelihood of achieving the success that I want is probably very, very low but there’s something in me that just can’t stop trying.
Anyway, get yourself to a farm and buy that damn goat ! If you can’t afford a goat, then grab yourself a cute cat or dog. That oughtta boost your social media following.
Fantastic point of view @Wicked!
That really sucks re your Facebook ordeal. I’d imagine you won’t hear a thing - we had a similar thing happen to our original YT channel after a basic, rookie error with sending emails to our mailing list. That’s another story!
It’s a funny one as my band has four very distinct combinations of what I would call “digital personalities”. I am outgoing (in the regard you are speaking of) and more than comfortable in front of a camera. I would have little issue in doing that stuff and doing it well enough to make connections. Band member B is also outgoing, more so, but is very anti-social media, so will almost bever contribute of his own accord. Band Member C is a hard worker and driven to make the band succeed but will state himself that he does not feel natural in photos or videos. Band member D is less outgoing and is not involved in any social media also. So, it leaves me as the main digital connector and that’s hard time wise, and also does not help when there is a “band” to promote compared to just myself.
But all your points resonate and make a lot of sense! I think I can make it work for me and myself as a musical entity with all my solo and band projects, but I’m not as confident with my band, which should in a respects, be easier to manage. Hmmm.
true words, but fans (at least of today) are more likely to read a"blog" than a website. So if you want to share personal details, have a blog instead of a website. Or a website that looks like a blog/journal where you can make periodic entries or stories and also where they can share comments and you can respond. There are many web hosting services that can help you setup a blog if you aren’t sure how.
A plain static website is “cold” and while it might attract attention of a fan once, they wont be interested in it for too long if it isn’t updated. A static website today is mostly to validate your presence and not too much more.
A blog is an important part of the strategy to gain and maintain followers/ fans. Your blog should ideally be part of your website. Ideally everything that you want to share with your fans should be on your artist website, not scattered on different sites over the internet. Your main site is your home base, it’s your business. Just as any brick and mortar store has a building that you can enter in, browse, view and purchase things, so too do businesses create their online sites. It’s convenient for your fans if you have a main hub site where they can get everything they want. We don’t have ownership of any site that is not owned by us. By having your own site you maintain control and you don’t one day sign in to your facebook account to find that your page has been unpublished/ deleted.
I would just do something as simple as possible. If you are anything like me, keeping up on articles and updates and all that stuff is going to happen so infrequently it’s almost useless to try. I would just find some low tier hosting service, get a free wordpress theme and put stuff on there. Even if your website just sends people to bandcamp or whatever else you might use, it’s at least a central place that is yours that you can set up however you want.
Yep, this right here is EXACTLY where I am sitting. I know I won’t sustain any kind of regular meaningful updates or anything. I’m leaning towards bandzoozle but will definitely look into other options too.
Many years ago they were allowing bands/ artists to create Bandzoogle sites for free (circa 2010 - 2014…can’t remember exactly). I made a site and played around with the features to see how I would like it. It’s all a bit vague but I seem to remember liking it somewhat, but I don’t remember the reason that I abandoned it. I may have abandoned it because it didn’t work well with the music marketing course that I was a part of at the time. The course instructed members to use the wordpress template combined with decent paid webhosting. Dreamhost was a very popular choice for a webhost and that was the one I used and still use. If you make a free website, you use wordpress.com, and if you have paid webhosting you use wordpress.org. Using the sales funnel and marketing strategy that the course was teaching, it was necessary to have the appropriate paid webhost with the corresponding wordpress.org “pro” version in order to implement all the marketing strategies and sales funnels.
Yeah, I had a couple of Wordpress sites going for my podcast and my band for a while there. I am kind of liking the idea of a dedicated place that makes and hosts the site even if it’s a little more expensive as that way I don’t have as many things to juggle. I know that sounds a little stupid, but the less variables if something goes wrong, expires or whatever, the better. Plus, Bandzoogle integrates well with Bandcamp and looks user friendly enough that I can just get stuck in.