The Most Dangerous Way You Market Your Music Online – And How to Avoid It

Posted: September 21, 2013 in Helpful Tips
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A Guest Post by Crowd Audio

 

website marketing for musicians

 

We’ve touched upon the importance of your web presence slightly in our earlier post: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians.

While the EPK(electronic press kit) can substitute for your website, you shouldn’t neglect making your website the hub from which you make your presence known.

Relying on Facebook and other social networking services can be a great way to build your following, but you ultimately want total control over your musical message.

It’s simply too dangerous to rely on other companies to care about your music more than you do.

Don’t “Digitally Sharecrop” Your Music

Reverbnation, BandCamp and all those sites are amazing services for the musician. But they are all third-party services that you ultimately don’t have any control over.

When Facebook decides it’s not interested in promoting music anymore because the new Myspace is so good at it, what’s gonna happen to all those fans you’ve reached out to on Facebook?

Will you still reach them? Or will Facebook just shut down all your hard work?

That’s what digital sharecropping is. Relying on a service you have no control over and then being the victim of their whims.

That’s no good. Didn’t you become a musician because you wanted to do things your way without people telling you what to do?

Your website is the most important thing for your presence online. You shouldn’t ignore all the awesome social networking sites that are available to musicians, but make it a goal to bring your fans to your website.

Why Have Your Own Website?

Including everything I’ve said above, the most important aspect is that it allows you to structure the experience you want your fans to have.

All the social networking sites are the same. The layout is basically the same for any band, whether they’re hip-hop or grindcore. But on your own website you can show your fans what your most important thing is.

And not only that, you can design your website so that you focus on the most important action you want your fans to take.

  • Your Music – Are you trying to sell your music? Have an obvious way for your fans to listen to and buy your music as soon as they land on your site.
  • Your Tour – Are you currently touring? Display your tour dates prominently on your website and allow your fans to sign up to your email list so you can notify them when you play a show close to them. My friend Ian McFeron lets you choose  whether you get notifications for the whole tour schedule or just when he’s playing close by.
  • Your Funding – Bands have really jumped on the crowdfunding bandwagon, especially on websites such as PledgeMusic. If you have a campaign going and you need some extra funding, advertising your crowdfunding campaign might be a good priority.

Those are just some ideas. Your situation might be different and you might want to focus on something else that makes your band special. Just focusing on capturing your fan’s email is an important aspect of marketing your band. It doesn’t have to have a big reason behind it.

What it all comes down to is the importance of customization. You want to have the final say in how your band is portrayed.

Other Important Website Content

As well as your #1 Call to Fans, your website has to have all the other things that make up a website or a press kit.

  • Contact – Email, phone number, contact form or whatever. Make sure your easy to contact. And respond to fans! Nothing is more exhilarating than getting a response from a band you admire.
  • Music – Don’t bury your music deep down in some page on your website. If it’s not your #1 Call to Fans, then it should be the second thing everyone sees on your site. You are a musician after all, and your music is what you’re all about. If you’re not ready to publicize your music because you don’t know how to mix it, our engineers can take care of that for you.
  • Bios – Let your visitors know who you are about, but don’t bore them to tears. A simple, concise bio focused on your music and your successes is better than a long life story nobody cares about because you’re not famous yet.
  • Shows – Bands don’t tour all the time so tour dates aren’t always relevant. But if you’re playing locally you should put up your dates on your website so that potential fans can come see you live.

How to Set Up Your Band Website?

The reason social networking sites for musicians work so well is because they are so easy to set up. Everything is done for you and you just need to upload some pictures, videos and music along with your bio and you’re good to go!

Creating your own website isn’t as easy, but it’s far from difficult.

One of the biggest hurdles with creating your own website is the matter of hosting. Having your own website does cost but it’s not expensive and it’s definitely worth the investment. However, if you are seriously strapped for cash then there are free resources out there.

Free Website Resources

tumblrTumblr – Tumblr is extremely popular and can be used for a variety of purposes. I’ve never used Tumblr but Music Think Tank has a pretty good good on Tumblr for musicians.

wordpress

WordPress.com – WordPress.com is the free version of WordPress, not to be confused with WordPress.org which needs separate hosting.

WordPress is my blogging/website tool of choice and it extremely versatile for musicians.

It is a great way to start out, especially if you’re planning on migrating over to a paid WordPress site in the future.

Self-Hosted Resources

I won’t go into the details of which hosting company you should use. Plenty of websites have done that before me, with differing results.

The bottom line is that you need to make the website creation process easy on yourself. Whatever hosting company you go with, make sure they have one-click installs on popular blogging platforms such as WordPress.

You don’t want to have to learn FTP to set up your website. You should only need to click one button before you can start customizing your website.

Domain Name

If you buy hosting and set up your own website, you must also buy your own domain name. Every hosting company will sell you domain names along with their hosting, and that’ usually the simplest way to go about it.

I think GoDaddy.com is still the cheapest when it comes to domain names, but you would have to go through some hassle with moving the domain name over to your other hosting company.

Additionally, your band name might not be very unique, in which case your domain name is probably already taken.

The simplest way to fix this problem is to add -music or -band behind your name when you register your domain name. So if you’re band name was 10th Street Yuppies and http://www.10thstreetyuppies.com was taken by some weird brokerage firm you would simply buy the domain name http://www.10thStreetYuppiesMusic.com

It’s not the most perfect solution but it’s the easiest one.

Conclusion

In the following weeks I’ll go into more detail on specific themes and plug-ins you might want to use on your WordPress site. If you choose to use another service I think you will still get some value from those ideas.

To sum it up, a solid website is a great asset to have. It enables you to showcase exactly who you are and what you are all about. It differentiates you from all the other bands that have the same, lame-looking social profile on the newest music network.

Make those profiles as well, but every road should lead back to your own domain.


 

Crowd Audio helps you take your music to the next level. They connect independent bands and musicians with excited audio engineers eager to help them with their music.

If you’re a musician, Crowd Audio gives you access to a community of audio engineers eager to mix and master your music, giving it that professional sound.

If you’re an audio engineer, Crowd Audio creates a community of like minded individuals looking to gain experience by doing the audio work they love.

Through community and crowdsourced competition, bands get a professionally produced sound while audio engineers get exposure and experience.

 

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