Music consultants say that a great website is paramount. Not sure I totally agree. Yes, you need one. But I think we can take it’s-good-enough attitude with them, too. As long as your website is easy to find, up-to-date, and enables folks to find you—job done! People don’t often visit your website to check out your music. They usually go for pics, bios, and to see where you’re playing.
Here’s an observation: One mistake folks make is that their websites don’t really reflect who they are or their career status. A colleague once joked with me that if you went to my website (my former one) you’d think I was making $100,000 per year—certainly laughable back then. This was something to think about. It’s a little misleading to create an impression of being a multi-platinum artist, and you’ve got three door-gigs in Bushwick listed in the SHOWS section.
Nowadays, fans and colleagues are used to being able to engage with us in delayed and real-time, whether it emails, the World Wide Web, or social media. These are the areas you want to stay on top of.
Regarding emails: Be prompt with them and make sure they are well-written. This is the next best thing to having a conversation. I’ve seen plenty of musicians who have fancy websites, who don’t respond to emails promptly, and when they do send them, they’re often not professional.
Social media: I see social media as the great squandering of the 21st century. Again, a fantastic opportunity to let folks know who we are and what we’re about (and it’s totally free, by the way), and we betray people’s trust by having nothing to say and showing up empty-handed. It reminds me back when I was a kid, and we’d go over to a friend’s house and ring his/her doorbell and then run and hide in the bushes before he/she came to the door. As you probably guessed, they eventually stopped responding to our ringing. Why? Because we betrayed their trust. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—all great mediums for engagement. Now it’s up to us to show up to the table with something worth serving.
YouTube: This is another area musicians don’t take advantage enough. With video recording being so easy to make, there’s no excuse not to have at least five new videos posted on YouTube per year. This enables folks to remain current on our musical activities. Being current is one of the most positive images of the project. It
shows that you care, and consequently, makes others care. And besides, there’s transparency in videos that lets folks know precisely what they’re getting. They might be more likely to trust poorly shoot YouTube video than a slick, well-produced recording.
Blogging: Some may not feel this is for them. But I’m here to disagree. Everyone has a perspective on the world, or at least an area of expertise. So blogging helps you to articulate this. Doing this is two-fold: 1) it helps to organize your thoughts, and 2) lets others know who you really are. The more deeply they feel they know you, the more likely they are to follow you and your music. You don’t need to wait for DownBeat or JazzTimes to interview you. Become your own publicist.
So as you can see, there are many aspects to getting yourself out there. I’m not saying websites are unimportant. Only that other more effective mediums exist.
As long as folks access to pictures, bios, know where you’re playing, and can find out how to contact you immediately, that’s all that’s needed.
One last point about being reachable.
Listing your European booking, your North American booking agent, your manager, your publicist—all of these folks are fine—but also have a way you can be reached directly.
As I see it, a website is your ticket to the game. The other mediums are your means through which to play it.