16 Reasons Why Bands and Musicians Should Have Their Own Websites

This post was originally published by Chris Bracco on his music industry blog, Tight Mix. Chris is currently the digital marketing coordinator for Intrigue Music, LLC, a boutique management and publishing house in NYC. Feel free to subscribe to his blog’s RSS feed, or follow him on Twitter.


I’m a huge advocate in bands and musicians having official websites. There are tons of advantages to having your own domain. I recently came across some comments on a post over at Digital Music News, where Constantine Roussos outlined sixteen very interesting and insightful reasons why every band should have their own website.

Constantine works for a company that is trying to enact the “.music” domain name extension (as opposed to the traditional .com, .net, .org, etc). Here are the reasons that he stated in that awesome comment thread:

  1. You own your website.
  2. You are branding your artist/band name, not a 3rd party website.
  3. You never know if that 3rd party website will exist in the future or be as relevant. What happens to all that work that you put into the 3rd party to help them create THEIR brand not yours (eg MP3.com shutting down)? How much time was devoted by artists on Myspace the past 5 years? All of your “friends” left and unless you captured their email through your official site, then you are in trouble.
  4. Control your search engine results. Be ranked #1 for your artist/band name. If you have your own dedicated domain name it is easier and also you can receive search “juice” or “pagerank” to your official page by linking to your official site from social sites as well as others linking to you.
  5. It is a long-term strategy.
  6. Visitors to your website have a much higher sales conversion ratio than 3rd party sites.
  7. You control all the content and brand image.
  8. You portray professionalism. Would anyone in the press take you more seriously if you had a website or if you haven’t? First impressions count.
  9. You can funnel and aggregate all your social media and widgets in one location, where it is convenient for your fans to find information about you.
  10. Flexibility. You can create polls and add any programming, widgets or any modules of your choice without being limited to 3rd party restrictions.
  11. You have no fear of being deleted because you are being too “commercial.”
  12. You can own your shopping cart and keep more profit for your sales.
  13. You can add your own advertising and sponsors on your page.
  14. You can offer product bundles and exclusive contests for your fans.
  15. You build credibility with your fans as well as can create a fan club area for your superfans as well as dedicated message boards to interact with your fan.
  16. Invest in yourself and not others. Websites are like cheap virtual real estate property. Why wouldn’t you invest in your domain name for only the costs of a few Starbucks a year?


Links –
Tight Mix: http://www.tightmixblog.com
RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/tightmixblog
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/cbracco

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23 comments to 16 Reasons Why Bands and Musicians Should Have Their Own Websites

  • The big problem is finding some reliable webmaster who will respond to calls for changes and won’t dump you, and who charges a reasonable price. I have gone through three webmasters and spent a lot of money and they’ve all disappointed me, stopped responding, quit, etc.

  • Chris, great article.
    Back when the original mp3.com was around, I looked at several highly visited artists (they used to show their counts of hundreds or thousands of listens per song per day) and noticed all the highly hit mp3.com artists had their own web site. Makes sense since they could communicate with their own email list, feature anything they wanted right on their web site, including links to their mp3.com page.
    A main site is absolutely essential for music artists.
    Steven

  • […] 16 Reasons Why Bands and Musicians Should Have Their Own Websites // […]

  • Lonely

    What? People are leaving myspace?

  • There is nothing prohibiting an artist from forwarding their own domain name to the URL of their preference.. If the site you like, shuts down.. Simply forward the URL somewhere else.

    Colie

  • Our website remains the main gateway for fans to gain access to all of our other social networking sites. There are 1.5 million different websites/online communities where one can upload music, pictures, videos, etc, but the artist MUST have a main page in which to direct people. Otherwise, you just get lost in the shuffle of the contemporary music world which, I am sad to say, is unbelievably saturated.

  • Bought my own domain and website around about the time that IUMA (remember them?? Thought not!) went down, or was absorbed into MP3.com etc etc, never looked back.
    No excuse for not having one these days.
    Simon

  • This articel is so valuable…my camp and I were just discussing the importance of having one’s OWN website!!
    As an artist, I think it’s essential to have your own individualy site for all the reasons listed above, and some!!
    Anyway, thanks for re-confirming our convictions!
    Mercedes

  • Bravo on all 16 points.

    I’m a performer, a presenter, artist consultant and director for this year’s Folk Alliance Region West conference, and I see so many short-sighted independent musicians choosing the easy and free route (usually MySpace) rather than considering what’s easiest for their audience and best for them in the long run.

    Thanks Chris, I’ll be pointing folks to this list.

  • Butch

    All good points. Although I would say it’s important to have both your own website as the main place for people to go and a third party because they have all the traffic built in. People are more likely to go straight to your 3rd party site when they’re on myspace or facebook. If it wasn’t for these 3rd party sites I wouldn’t have had as many fans, as much awareness of my music because that’s where the traffic was. It was harder to find a way to guide more people to your individual site. People are lazy. Also, I made more sales from 3rd party sites like Amazon or iTunes because they are trusted brands, rather than an artists site. It’s great to keep more of the profits, but zero of zero is zero. Take what you can get and get the overspill for the few that will use your site.

  • I say use it all.
    The more sites your on the better chance your fans can find you online.

    I have my domain point to my wordpress blog with a music player widget from soundcloud.

    Works for me.

  • Tom

    This is all true. Ive maintained the labels website before connecting to any social networks and will continue to do so long after. Control is everything. After all its a hundred percent control and only content pertaining to the label and the artists on the roster is featured. Benefits for both us and the fans. Enough said!

  • Thanks for all the very encouraging comments, guys! It’s great to see that there are many of you out there that really get it, and bravo to you all.

    @Billy – great point. You’re right, the industry is a clusterf*@k of medocrity, and having a great website to showcase and sell your music & merch is a step in the right direction, and can help you stand out in the bunch.

    @Colie – Yes, you can redirect your URL to a 3rd party website, but in my opinion that is the opposite of what you want to be doing (unless you are redirecting your URL to a place like Bandcamp, which is pretty effective as an official website since it is a store for your music & merch). Instead, you want to use all of your 3rd party websites (facebook, myspace, twitter, last.fm, etc) to funnel your fans into your official website, where they can ultimately download and purchase your music directly from you. It is always better to lead your fans to your official website because it is a place where you have full control over the layout, branding, content, and navigation.

    @Bev – much appreciated!

    @Butch – right on, man.

  • Colie Brice has a point there, about redirecting a domain to any of the other free sites. While that method gives almost no control of search engine optimization, there are several sites now that are good portals to many of the social or blog networks such as about.me

    (notice .me is the extension instead of .com or .net etc..)

  • What about just hosting a blog like WordPress on your official URL? It’s dirt cheap. You can even use domain masking to only show your official URL, and if someone bookmarks you, it’s always the same place. My band’s thinking of smooshing the official website and our wordpress together to save money.

  • gary

    I would like to have my own website but they,er so exspensive…and very timely to maintain..do anyone know how to go about getting started. NeedHelp asap…

  • And another thing… Facebook, Twitter and My Space are financed by commercial advertising and also support the anti-democratic activities of jackals like Rupert Murdoch thereby attempting to control the UK media and pedalling his own brand of New Right clap-trap from glorious tax exile abroad- a malign force.

    Though I admit that I do have a My Space page as well as my own web-site…

    Good article.

  • Chris Bolton

    Hi Gary,

    Might I suggest HostBaby.com? We’ve been hosting websites for musicians for over 10 years. We’re on the phones 7 days a week. Our website builder is super easy to use.

    Give us a ring. 1.888.448.6369

    Chris

  • @Jon – I’ve seen people do the domain masking thing before, and it is a viable option. You won’t have as much flexibility as the self-hosted WordPress, but if all you need is a blog then yes, that is a pretty effective way to save some $$ if you really cant afford to pay for hosting.

    @gary – if you think about it … a couple dollars a month to host a website really is not expensive at all. That is like two coffees at Starbucks a month … if you are not willing to invest that little bit of $$ into your music career, then why would anybody else? To get started, I would suggest trying out WordPress.com and start a blog hosted on their server (its free and easy to setup/maintain).

  • @gary – hostbaby.com is great as well! They have a great support staff, too.

  • I Just got my domain up, now I’m work on my page it a lot of hard work if your doing it yourself especially with no programming experience what so ever, but the 16 point make me want to work even harder getting it together thank you for the incite. If anyone has any input on my building my site please let me know

  • […] domain, as opposed to relying on MySpace, Facebook, other social media or specialty tools. Read the full post on the Hostbaby blog which is a response to this article at Digital Music […]

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