[Music Monday] So You’ve Got A Band. Now What? Make A Website?

[Music Monday] So You’ve Got A Band. Now What? Make A Website?

[Music Monday] So You’ve Got A Band. Now What? Make A Website?
[Music Monday] So You’ve Got A Band. Now What? Make A Website?

Despite all the doom and gloom you might hear in the music industry lately about how it’s more difficult to sell albums, it’s actually a great time to be a band or musician. Whatever the type of your music, you could probably record most or all of your music on your computer, with adequate quality also. And if you don’t have your own computer, most small-to-medium sized music studios already use a computer to do most of the heavy work, and cost less to rent.

From the software point of view, there are many software suites you can use to record, mix, and make a CD master, even free ones, and the Internet offers various paid and free audio libraries to enhance the recording, whether it be a sound effect or a drum loop. Just make sure you can use it for your own music (just make sure it’s totally free or ask permission from the owner). You can even write and share the musical notation of your songs online.

Then what are you going to do once you’re happy with the recording result, and have finalized writing all the lyrics? Then it’s time for the world to hear it. These days, you don’t really need to wait for enough songs to be finished to create an album ready to share (or sell), because if you’ve recorded the music digitally, then it’s only one upload away to be up there on the Internet.

MySpace was one of the popular music + social networks for bands, but these days YouTube is arguably more influential on breaking new bands and introducing new music; or for that matter, videos of cats – so why not introduce your music with a cat video? And for Indonesia, one of the more popular social music networks is Sixteenhole, where your music will be presented in a much more user friendly way, as opposed to using file sharing sites like 4Shared or even those pirate mp3 blogs.

So, should you make your own website or just use Facebook fan pages and on other social networks? Well, the most important thing is what you’re aiming for. A website or a fan page can be your first line of communication to fans, where they interact with your music even before they know who you are, so you really need to get this right. If you just make a website, upload samples of your music and wait for people to come, well nothing will happen.

You need to make sure that all channels of communication are active, engaging everybody who comes a long (although avoiding spam tactics) and making sure that step by step, your music is spread further. And this has to go in parallel of you or your band actually going around doing gigs, adding to the potential fan base. So yes, you need to have some sort of strategy of getting your music out there, and it needs to be a combination of online and offline.

There are many ideas of utilizing the online world for your band – some practice over Skype, others are doing live concerts over Google+ Hangouts. The band OK! Go has just about perfected the science of creating viral music videos, and there are countless musicians who got ‘discovered’ via YouTube. Many web-savvy musicians, at some point or another, have created a free song download – with the reasoning, “I’m not going to get money directly from these MP3 files anyway, why not just spread them for free but do it when I need to?”

Making a band is kind of like making a tech startup – it’s based on intellectual property that you created and will require long hours of tireless (and moneyless) work before you can actually see a return of investment. You might want to focus on the product quality; i.e. creating your idea of the best audio and musical composition experience ever, or create a unique proposition that people will be drawn to; i.e. combining your stage performance with magic tricks (I hear it’s been done), or wearing outrageous costumes.

Create whatever is true for your music though; because creating controversy around yourself to sell your music – like many musicians do – may or may not do good for you or your music. Build your music while you build your fan base, and at some point, I’m very sure there will be rewards for your hard work down the road. But the most important thing is answering this question: what do you want to do with music?

Ario worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog on http://barijoe.wordpress.com

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