Is it still needed for musicians to have a website? There are so many online platforms where you as a musician might already be on and it all takes time to manage and update on a regular basis. You finally have a good amount of followers on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Bandcamp and Soundcloud, so why add a website on top of all these? Read below the 5 reasons why you cannot do without a website if you are a musician and find out how to get started.
1. You are in control
Social media platforms come and go. Maybe they don’t disappear but they do change their terms and conditions quite often and you are limited to their options on how you can promote yourself. Also, even if you have good content out there, it’s basically up to their algorithm if it will appear on your (potential) fans’ newsfeed.
With your own website, you control every step. What you show and how you show it.
2. You look more professional
By having a website with your own domain name, you simply look more professional. Maybe it is of less importance to your regular fans, but booking agencies, publicists, programmers, and possible distributors of your music will surely take this seriously.
3. All eyes are on you
When visitors are on your site, you have their exclusive attention. No ads, pop-ups, or other musicians which are relevant to you. On your own website, they have everything they want to know and see about you in one place. This is where “conversion” can happen. A visitor can become a fan and possibly buy something.
4. Be found outside social media
Not everybody is on social media or on each online platform. There’s a huge audience to be found which is not very active on social media, depending on your target group. If we look at Jazz, an industry we are already active with Studio Koch, the average age of the listener is between 35 and 65. On average, around 15% of people under 35 never post or share content on social media, and a significant percentage of around 32% of fans above the age of 50 are much less – or not at all – “into” social media (source: Ipsos). That’s quite a big audience you’re missing out on when you only rely on social media for promoting your musical career. Collecting Likes on Facebook and Instagram doesn’t necessarily mean that these people will actually buy your new album or show up at your upcoming gig. When the goal is to see fans converting into loyal fans, who will commit to buying and supporting your music, then you need to have a stable, well up-to-date, and reliable website.
5. Sell more and with a much higher profit
Every musician knows that you do not earn your living thanks to the big music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube. Unfortunately, the majority of listeners don’t know this detail, when they subscribe and follow your artist accounts on these platforms. You need to get out of the € 0,01 per stream (or less) and move towards the € 15 or higher for every sale of your album. A good start is Bandcamp, but most people outside of the music industry are not really acquainted with this platform.
On your website, you can actively focus on showcasing the better-earning platforms such as Bandcamp as a means of selling your music. And of course, don’t forget the possibility to create your own webshop in case your fans and website visitors are not willing to sign-up with a fan’s account on Bandcamp. A fully customized and seamless Store on your own website is a great way to sell physical products like CDs or LPs, your Merch (t-shirts, posters, accessories, etc), or even digital downloadable files of your music (MP3s) and your music scores (PDFs). And you don’t have to pay a commission to anyone! The earnings are all yours!
Great, you are now convinced that you should start your website! But there is still the big question: How?
There are several solutions and it mainly depends on your own IT skills. Making a good website is not rocket science, so if you are confident, you should definitely look into the DIY (Do it Yourself) path. However, if you are not and you also don’t have a lot of good graphic or photographic content, you will be better off hiring a web designer.
Whatever path you choose, it will all start with your very own domain name. I always advise you to check out an international domain first (like a .com domain), since music has no borders and there’s a very big audience out there.
Do it yourself (DIY)
For musicians that have the time, the patience, and the creativity, there are two good options in making your own website: Squarespace and Bandzoogle.
Squarespace is not especially for musicians but has a large number of good-looking templates, good support, and functionality. Bandzoogle is specialized in offering solutions for musicians/bands and has very nice features to sell your products or even merchandise. You may find yourself limited by their templates in several ways, but in general, it is a very nice place to start. Pricing will be between € 15 to € 35 per month, and you will have to do the work by yourself. It’s not difficult since both platforms offer a lot of tutorials and good help, but still, it will cost you time.
WordPress is the most popular web platform in the world. You could say it is also a DIY solution, but it is not user-friendly and it can be easily overwhelming if you have little or no experience with web development. It is a very robust platform though, where you can comfortably grow, so it gives you the opportunity to start small and grow step by step as far as you want to take it.
Professional web developers often use this platform and it doesn’t always need to be expensive. If you have a lot of good content already in photographic material and maybe even a logo, this saves a lot of time. Having a good creative vibe and being open to suggestions will make the professional path not more expensive than a DIY solution and most probably much more successful.
With any website, it is important to think about maintenance. Most of the basic things happen automatically and are done by your provider, but there are some important aspects that you should consider. You can either do this by yourself or assign it to the web designer who made your website. Look at it as the oil to make everything run smoothly. Read more about it on our blog “What is Website Maintenance?“.
The actual content, however, is really up to you. You should get familiar with updating your upcoming shows, news, or a blog for your website. The success of your website starts with having consistency in this area. But, this is not more difficult than maintaining your social media channels, and most of the time you can combine it so it doesn’t cost you extra time. Nevertheless, updating your content (your upcoming gigs, your new album release, news, articles, blog posts, etc) can also be a time-consuming task, which you may not be sure if you will be able to commit to. No worries… because with a little extra charge, this can also be taken care of by your web designer!