I’m a musician. I’m a fan of music and will pretty much listen to anything. I’m not fussed but something that has always touched a nerve has been music artists and websites. In 2010 I feel some artists are not getting the sites they deserve. When I visit a website to listen to a new artist I’m not bothered how nice it looks because it’s the music that counts.
However, for those who aren’t looking specifically for the artist they met at last week’s gig the website is the first thing they will see and at least for a few seconds the music takes a back seat. Because of this it’s very important the artist/band’s site is up to scratch and most importantly is relevant. I suppose I’m lucky I can create sites with div tags and create vibrations with a piece of plastic and a string of metal. But I know quite a few artists who can’t make websites but are very picky about design in general; it’s probably a psychological thing to do with creativity…. (I’ll stop there).
What needs to be established I feel is a trust relationship between designers and music artists. We, as music artists, can be picky about design and on the other hand designers know what will work and what won’t. I think my own site’s design reflects something of the type of music I have on it but it’s extremely important that designers realise that this always needs to be the case.
In music you need to attract people who will actually press Play rather than anyone. Equally, I may want a design that is simply just too impractical which people will struggle to read, let alone listen to my music.
With all that in mind here are 3 points for Artists and 3 points for Designers to bear in mind when working with each other!
- Decide on what your band/solo act stands for.
When you hire a Designer to give your band a fresh new image you have to make sure you know who you are trying to appeal to. Do you want a deep grunge website like http://www.maddetective.com/ or something like http://www.andyward.co.uk/ ? Both great designs but each will appeal to different people.
- Music players.
The first thing many people say is “I want a music player!” of course it’s a normal idea and quite right.
However, integrating a music player that does everything you want it to is easier said than done; I’ve been there done that! What I settled on was BandCamp, not only is it run extremely well, it’s free and will host all your music for you! The design tools work a treat as well so there’s no need to worry about where you’re music player is going to come from or what it will look like.
- Decide on a focus.
Is your site going to be about making yourself known and focus on a Bio and Music or is it going to focus on publicising your gigs? It can do a bit of both but there’s no point having a large gigs section or booking forms if you haven’t yet played a gig. Instead, put your effort into making great music and telling people about yourself.
- Agree what you’ll do before you start.
I have a habit of going “oo wouldn’t it be great to have….” and for music websites there’s bound to be a large amount of those moments but make it clear you’re designing the site not setting up gig booking applications and acting as an online agent. (Unless you’ve agreed to do those things). Also, remember that the website will need updating as new songs come out and band members change which can be far more frequent than a business website needs updating. A CMS might be a good idea therefore!
- Bear in mind what kind of band/solo act they are and what they stand for and design accordingly.
You know what works and say so. Do some research into other bands/solo acts that they claim to be influenced by to get an idea what kind of sites they have as well.
- Get as much information/pictures/text/links from the music artist as possible.
Pictures are essential. Gathering up as much information will also help you to form a “rounded” website. Information will also help you to get a good impression what kind of style to go for.
Finally, enjoy working on websites.
Having that “nice” site can really help form a complete image for your band/solo act and allows you to make your personal mark on a very crowded market.
Maybe you’ve just designed a musician’s site?
Maybe you are desperate to have your own! Let us know!