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Building an Independent Musician’s Online Presence

by Christopher Young, Graphic Design Intern

Thanks to the advances in recording technology over the last 10 years, it has increasingly become easier for bands and musicians to support themselves. Professional quality albums that rival what those produced in major studios can now be recorded and produced entirely from home. Independent music has grown tremendously – 71% growth in independent musicians recording and releasing music – from 2003 to 2012.

With this shift toward independent artists, it has become more important than ever for bands and musicians to find ways to promote themselves.

I’m a musician and have freelanced for a number of bands in the past, so I’ve spent a lot of time promoting musicians in the New York and Philadelphia Area, including building their websites and digital presences. Here’s a few things I tell musicians looking to promote themselves online.

Develop a Visual Style

Think of your band as a brand. People expect it to look a certain way. Develop a look to your visual materials that compliments the music you create.

Keeping consistency in the way you present yourself will give you a more established image, which in turn will result in more fans. If you are unsure of how to start, look for established musicians that produce similar music and borrow from their ideas. Art is not created in a vacuum; it’s ok to draw inspiration from other people’s work.

You Need a Website

I’ve talked to many people who ask me, “If I already have a Facebook page, why do I need a website?”

Musicians need a place that serves as a one stop shop for their music. Their website should allow their fans to view upcoming performance dates, listen to music, learn about the band, and buy merchandise.

There are a number of different services bands can use to promote themselves (Facebook, Bandcamp, ReverbNation, Soundcloud, etc.), and while these options offer an easy-to-use interface for beginners, they do not offer the customization in order to fully present your band’s image. With your own site, you are given a blank canvas free of ads, popups and other visual noise. Consider this: more people will probably see your website than will ever see you in person.

WordPress Works

WordPress, in my opinion is the best option for musicians looking to create their website. It offers the customization needed to fully realize your band’s image, allowing you to have a site that fits your band’s brand, while providing a powerful content management system. This allows a designer to make the site look exactly how they intended, while giving less-technical bands the freedom to make updates on their own.

Here’s a few of my favorite WordPress plugins for band websites:

WordPress isn’t just for independent musicians; a lot of big names use it, too, including Jay Z, Dave Matthews Band, SigurRos, Circa Survive and ZZ Top.

Social Media Integration

Your band shouldn’t exist solely on social media, nor should it exist just on a separate website. It’s best to do both. Most people won’t know your band exists unless it has a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Social media should be used to drive traffic to your main site. It should give people a taste of what they can expect on your main site and your main site should be an embodiment of your music.

Ready to build out your presence online? Give us a shout and let us help make what you do even more awesome.

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About Christopher Young

Chris graduated in 2013 from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA with a degree in Graphic Design and Studio Art. Before being hired as an Intern at Junger Media, he worked as a freelance designer. His past clientele consisted primarily of musicians from Philadelphia’s thriving music scene.

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