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How Does the Music Biz View Your Website
By Theresa Yarbrough,

What is the first impression someone gets about your band after viewing your website? Do they see you as a band who is serious about your future in music or as someone lazy who doesn't care about detail?
Given Band

Most bandsites need overhauling. That's a fact. It's not to say that your band can't write great music but most musicians just don't know how to promote themselves, even through their website.

I've heard from others who share the frustration I feel when I visit a poorly built band website. You'd think when a band goes to the trouble and expense to build a website they would at least consider how to use that site to best promote themselves. Instead, I'm constantly reminding myself that while musicians can create an award winning song, they know absolutely nothing about promoting it.

For instance, unsigned Band X shoots me an email with a link to their site, "please listen to our music. In this email they also advise me to visit their photo page because, "we've got the right image".

I click on the link and suddenly my senses are raped by flashing lights and piercing sounds. I've just encountered the dreaded flash page. Sure, there's that little word somewhere on the page that says 'SKIP' but I can't see it and when I do it doesn't work. I know, every book needs a cover, but this is not a book. The internet is about speed and convenience. Flash pages are nothing more than over-indulgences for website builders; they serve absolutely no purpose in the promotion of the band other than to turn the visitor off.

I've survived the onslaught of the flash page and I'm inside looking for the menu. When I drag my cursor across the website I can see that something's there but the background color is dark and so are the menu words. I begin to feel that I'm in some twisted game of cyber hide and seek. I bravely click on the unseen word and I'm immediately transported to the family photo album. Seriously, there's Uncle John and Aunt Mary. Where's the band members? You mean that guy diving into the pool, the one whose face I can't see is the lead guitarist? There's the drummer's girlfriend, awww, she's cute, but where's the drummer? And look, there's an audience but no band. Get the point?

Probably no one minds that you post pics of Grandma and your dog Fido, but label that page "Assorted Photos" not "Band Photos". Band photos should be of the band. If you're going to be taken seriously, then eat Ramen Noodles for a few months and save your pennies for a photo session. I'm in your site to see what your band really looks like.

My cursor continues to locate more hidden pages. I'm now going to hear the band, "click here" for MP3. When I click this link it takes me to another page that has a list of songs I can select to listen to, but first I have to join Cyber Space Music Website before I can listen. Well I don't know about any of your other visitors but I'm bored now and I'm certainly not going to join a mailing list just to listen to your music. You've wasted enough of my time already.

I close the site and never return. You're not just losing me, you're losing the interest of the entire music industry who like me, just don't have the time or patience to search for what should have been easily accessible.

Your site should contain your MP3 files not send me somewhere else to listen. For someone like me who actively shops for bands, the first thing I look for when I go to an Artist website is the music. I don't expect nor am I inclined to look all over your site to find it either. When I click on the word 'Music' from site menu, I trust that link will take me to a page where I can listen to your audio files.

When creating your bands website, consider that most of your visitors don't have all day to wait for your site to load. Studies show that when confronted with a flash page, more than 25% of website viewers will close the site. So why not create a site that downloads fast, is easy on the eyes, easy to navigate, contains the information that your visitors are looking for? Basically, I'm asking for a website that gets to the point as fast as possible.

Your website is an extension of your band and can often be the first impression you make for some. It can speak volumes about each band member and how they perceive their band project. With a little thought and imagination, your site will say that you are someone who takes your music seriously and worth learning more about. This dedication to promoting your project will appeal to the music industry and could get you a second look.

Visit your website and try to look at it as someone seeing it for the first time. Ask yourself if the site truly represents your band. It's not hard to make changes to your website, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression.