All of your life, you have heard about how important first impressions are . Right? Things have not changed. Your web site gives your prospective customer their first impression of you. Web surfers don’t read; they scan. If they see anything that disturbs, shocks, is distracting, puzzling or unpleasant to their eyes, they will leave. When they leave, they stay gone, usually forever. It’s your job to get the people that you want and to be smart enough to please them when they come to see you. Putting this important point into other words, don’t make stupid layout mistakes.
First and foremost, your web site has to build trust. You have to make your web site trustworthy. You are going to ask your visitors for their name, street address, phone number, e-mail address and most importantly their credit card information. These are all top-secret info in their lives.
Your web site should be conservative; even a corporate appeal. Resist the temptation to get overly creative. Keep everything plain, clear-cut, easy to scan and comfortable to the eye. Don’t get carried away with elaborate graphics! Keep it simple. Your job is to sell those visitors your music. All of your web site content has to point your visitor to your shopping cart.
You have heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s true. But only if that photo helps you sell your music. Use good quality photos. Don’t use animation. Keep your file size small so they will load faster. Use traditional fonts that are both conservative and easy to read. Use black text on white background. Be gentle on your prospect’s eyes.
I have given you the fundamental guidelines. Pass them on to your web designer. Again your web site is to sell your music.
The single, most important selling tool is your web site. Crafting your web site should be priority one in today’s economy. You are a musician. You make your living with music. Doesn’t it make common sense for you to find someone that understands the music world and the Internet?
Unfortunately, web sites are the most overlooked tool independent musician possess. Your web site represents you and your music, yet it is not the answer to all your problems. The amount of information on the Internet is beyond imagination. Your web site will add to that information. Your job is to make sure you are found. Once found it’s also your job to entice your possible super fan to stay for a while. Long enough to get to know you and hopefully fall in love with you.
You want your web site to be attractive and purposeful. Your purpose is to sell your music. You want them to revisit often to sell them more music. Sounds simple enough. Right?
The majority of web sites:
• load slowly
• have a navigation system almost impossible to figure out
• have yellow text on black background or some other awful color scheme
• have links taking your fan to another site
• welcome you with terrible background music
• ask for your e-mail address before they let you in
And the list goes on.
It doesn’t matter if you play country, rockabilly, heavy metal, French folk tunes, or anything else. Your web site has to be carefully organized, structured, and presented. In future posts I will help steer you in the right direction to accomplish this task. That’s why you are reading this. Right?
Back in the day music folks like Clive Davis and Ahmet Ertegün ran major record labels. They were music fans and loved music. They were not accountants. To me these were the golden days of music industry.
Well, times have changed. These days, beverage companies own major record labels. The industry is not so much about music any more. It’s about cloning. Major labels want you to believe that if you don’t sound exactly like the guy on Billboard Hot 100, you don’t have the slightest chance.
Yet with all their resources, they didn’t see the Internet affecting them until it did. This is the point where the playing field got level. They were in control on the street. They controlled distribution and publicity. They controlled what customers got to choose from in record stores.
In my opinion, the Internet is God’s gift to independent musicians. There are millions of people on the Internet looking for new music and ready to buy your music if they like it. While promoting music on the Internet may have been in the caboose ten years ago, it’s now driving the train. The best thing about the Internet is that you’re able to sell your music regardless of geography. You don’t have to live in New York in order to sell your music on 5th Avenue.
While these things are true. Fact is over ninety percent of music web sites fail to achieve the goal of selling music. The average web site sells less than 10 units a year, whether CD’s or downloads.
Is building a web site worth the effort? Emphatically, yes! Absolutely. Another fact: You have to know what you are doing. My partners and I have crafted quite a few web sites that are selling a stable 5-10 units a day! Our best-selling web site shipped over 3000 units last year.
We’ve discovered through years of research, experimenting and hard work. Yes, it took us a lot of trial and error. Nevertheless, it comes down to good old common sense.
Stop wasting your time! If you really want to make a living out of your music, quit dreaming of getting signed to EMI. Start selling your music on your own! You will not earn millions of dollars. But if you combine Internet marketing that works with touring and merchandising, you should make a decent living as an independent musician.
A new layer of music culture is emerging. This music culture is independent of location; it’s situated nowhere. Music is no longer tethered to concert halls, bars and record stores. I wrote in a previous blog about my transistor radio. It was portable and it changed our young lives. Digital devices are invisible and weightless. Digital is now shaping the lives of our youth. Theirs is a culture of personal radio stations, group-listening rooms, online jam sessions and concerts by webinar.
Before the Internet, the music culture came together at a physical location. Many of these locations no longer exist. Now geosocial apps connect listening activity to individuals and enable communities to form around them. Apps such as http://wahwah.fm/ where, “Users listen to music and “broadcast” the session as a “radio station” that other users can “tune in” to.”
The connections being made through wahwah.fm are to people and not to places. The person is becoming the portal—the primary hub of connectivity. This gives users insight into scenes existing outside of their own. It also provides those of us without a local scene access to distant locations and the sounds attached to them.
As people become portals, scenes will become global. Trending music will spread more quickly from one area to another, further influencing the sound artists produce and the music listeners hear. The web continues to teach us that the communities that form in the digital world eventually seep into the physical one. Indeed, the new music community is just that: a community. The culture and technology evolves, but human nature remains consistent. We’re made to be together, and often, music catalyzes that impulse.
Music artists need to understand this emerging music culture and realize this takes your music global.
More info at http://www.livenationlabs.com/
Another good read http://thenewmusicindustry.com/?tag=insights