How to write about your album

Colorful viny record albumsYour album description is essentially a sales pitch, but that doesn’t mean it needs to read that way. It’s important to avoid tired phrases that mean nothing, and use specific language that really gets at the heart of what your album is about. After all, if you want people to click that “buy” button (that resides right next to your album description) you’ve got to provide some good reasons for people to do just that. But what seals the deal? What can you say that might take that teetering customer over the edge and into purchase territory?

For my money – which I’m never eager to part with – honesty and specificity are the key: Tell me what you sound like, and be detailed. Tell me WHO you sound like, and don’t be afraid to get granular – “Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan” paints me a perfect picture. Tell me about your accomplishments and any notable names that worked on the project. Give it to me straight!

Tip #1: Sometimes we are not the best judges of our own music. We think it sounds like Radiohead and our fans think it sounds like the Talking Heads. Before you compose your album description, ask some friends and fans to describe your album for you. Use this information to create a more balanced description of your music.

Tip #2: Step into the listeners shoes. How will they experience your album? How will they feel when they listen to it? What benefit will they get from the purchase? Use this to inform your writing.

How Not to Write About Your Album

What you shouldn’t do is use a bunch of cliches and vague language that ultimately lead nowhere. Want examples?

“unique” – This could be said about literally every piece of music ever made.

“genre-defying” – If someone put a gun to your head you couldn’t come up with one or two words?

“indescribable” – Try. Please just try.

“eclectic” – Nothing is eclectic anymore because this word has been overused and no longer has meaning.

“like nothing you’ve ever heard before” – This one, like “unique,” is technically absolutely true. It’s also a lazy way to describe your music and not necessarily a good thing. I have very specific tastes, and you think telling me it sounds nothing like the music I KNOW I like is going to sweeten the deal for me? I don’t have money to waste here. Give me some details.

“a wonderful addition to any music collection” – I see this one quite a bit, and I’ve gotta tell you: if you’re trying to say nothing about your music, this is about as nothing as you can get. “Do you have music at home? This is also music. You should buy it and put it with your other music.”

“the hottest new artist on the scene” – Slow down, Mr. Cool! I’m having trouble deciphering your hip lingo.

“a must-have!” – Requirements for life: oxygen, water, food, and this person’s new album.

“something for everyone” – Quick: name an album that everyone likes.

“if you love music, you’ll love this” – Casting your net a little wide there, Skipper.

Which ones am I forgetting? Let us know in the comments, or tell us your opinion on the issue. Does language like this entice you? Why?

Join HostBaby in Support of Net Neutrality

HostBaby Net NeutralityYou’ve probably heard about it in the news. Big cable internet companies like Time Warner, Comcast, and Verizon are planning on setting up internet fast lanes for the tech giants that can afford to pay, and internet slow lanes for everybody else. What does this mean for musicians and HostBaby customers? It means a slower internet experience for you and your fans. But even worse, it means that cable companies have the power to promote the companies that pay, and demote the ones that don’t. This is not freedom of the press. It’s extortion.
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Feature Fans on Your Site. Collect Karmic Rewards.

feature your fansHaving (very) recently experienced the birth of my first child, I think I can say, with a reasonable amount of certainty, that humans have a pretty primal desire for care and attention. In fact, I can’t put down my son for more than a few minutes before his cries announce a desperate need for these very things.

What does this have to do with websites, music, or the price of tea in China? Well, we’re all kinda like my newborn son deep-down. Right? We’re all still in need of attention and care. Thankfully, we’ve moved beyond uncontrollable crying (for the most part) as a means to acquiring these things. But it’s still rather important to most of us that we feel others value our existence and are willing to go out of their way to make us feel valued.

As simple as this information is to grasp, it can be difficult to apply in real life. But it’s important for us musicians. After all, it’s not all about us. Music success can’t exist without devoted fans.

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5 things your fans want to see on your website

5 things your band website MUST haveWe’ve written many times about website essentials for musicians. More often than not, though, those articles have focused on what’s essential for YOU, the artist, in order to turn web visits into sales, subscribes, and shares: things like email capture widgets, clear calls-to-action, a music store, etc.

But web traffic is more than just a stat; it’s people!!! And people expect to find what they’re looking for when they visit your website.

So what ARE your fans looking for from your band website? 

1. Your best music — Don’t make people have to work for it, or hunt around on other music sites, or guess at what tracks are your “hit singles.” There should be an obvious music player on your site that streams a handful of your best songs. Oh, and shut the auto-play function OFF! Continue Reading . . .

The website mistake that’s guaranteed to drive your fans away

Website tips for bands

Your band website shouldn’t be a point of departure

I visited a band’s website the other day to see what they’d been up to this summer. I didn’t really NEED any specific info; I was just curious and figured I’d pay a visit. After no more than ten seconds on their site I closed the tab in frustration. Why?

I’m glad you asked. Here’s why: the website consisted almost entirely of a landing page with a background image and the band name — and then the only other “content” was a handful of icons that linked me to Facebook, YouTube, SoundCloud, Twitter, and Tumblr.

If you don’t see anything wrong with that, walk with me a minute down Analogy Lane

Imagine you’re interviewing for a job, and I’ve done you the courtesy of showing up at YOUR house to do the interview. Continue Reading . . .

3 simple Analytics stats that will help you boost your web traffic

How to use Analytics to boost trafficYou don’t have to be a Google Analytics wizard in order to put your web traffic data to good use. In fact, by looking at three fairly basic areas of Analytics, you’ll be able to create better content that resonates with more viewers.

Just ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. What are the most popular pages or articles on my site?

Google changes things pretty often, so specific terms and placement within the Analytics dashboard may change, but currently  you’d find the answer to this question by clicking “Behavior” in the left-hand sidebar, then clicking “Site Content,” then clicking “All Pages.”

From there you can see what sections of your website are performing the best in terms of attracting viewers within a certain date-range (which you can customize at the top of the dashboard). Continue Reading . . .

Introducing CD Baby’s New Music Player

CD Baby free music playerCD Baby has announced a brand new music player widget (and store) that can be easily embedded on any website (including your HostBaby website). And it’s FREE to use for CD Baby artists. Yay! The new music player is built in HTML5 so it works on mobile devices, tablets, and desktop computers. You can build playlists from your CD Baby music and create and save as many players as you like. The player comes in 4 designs that will automatically resize to fit the space you put them, in. You can easily drop the new music player into any page on your HostBaby website, or add it to your sidebar using the code widget in your widget section. Watch the video below to see everything the new player can do. Create your own CD Baby music player in your CD Baby account, here.

 

 

 

 

How to design a band website that turns visitors into fans

How to design music websiteI’ve said it many times before: your band website is the most important online marketing tool you have. In fact, your band website matters almost more than anything else. But . . .  how do you use your band website to convert casual visitors into fans? Well, people don’t (usually) become fans overnight. (Yes, it’s possible. Someone might experience “love at first website,” but chances are you will need to wine-and-dine your visitors before they start taking you out to lunch and buying everything you release. In order to do this, you’ll need to make sure that your website is modern and intuitive, has easy email capture features, displays fresh content, and connects with your audience. Here’s a quick checklist that will help.

1. Make sure your website is modern and intuitive

Your website should be a website. Seems obvious right? But many artists get this wrong. A Facebook or Bandcamp page is not a website. Any 4rth grader can set up a Facebook profile and abandon it two days later. You need your own domain name (www.YOU.com) and your own multi-page site. A professional music website (like the ones we offer at HostBaby) is the very first step to impressing potential fans and letting people know that you’re serious about your music.

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