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Written by: Branka Maxim
The music industry shares the obstacles of many others in the world of marketing – how to find creative and innovative ways to promote an artist? Building a strong personal brand that speaks to your fans will make a huge impact in taking you to the heights of the dance music elite. One of the tools to help you? The internet. It has presented artists with a unique opportunity to control their image more tightly than ever before. Social media is often cited as the top tool at artist’s disposal, but what about a traditional website? Has the good old format been surpassed by Facebook and Instagram? Absolutely not. Although sometimes overlooked, artist websites offer a whole host of advantages and allow artists to take full control of their professional image. In fact, a website should be the centre of your digital strategy. Artists underestimate the power of websites just as much as they do their newsletters. Fans want a one-stop-shop where they can listen to your music, watch videos, learn about upcoming shows, and find out more about you. The easier it is to find you, the easier it is to follow you. Furthermore, venues are more biased towards artists who represent themselves well by having a professional looking online presence.
Complete creative freedom
Of course, social media platforms help artists to build their brands, but these platforms do not give full control. A fully customizable website, on the other hand, gives the artist full creative freedom to design their page the way they feel they should be portrayed. Controlling design elements like layouts and multimedia that truly reflect the artist’s vision means that any visitors get an immediate impression of what they represent. Social media sites have strict terms of service and monitor the content that is posted on their platforms, while websites give the artist full control over it. If Instagram deems a clip from a music video inappropriate they may remove it or worse still, shut down the account. With their own websites, musicians can decide themselves what kind of content is appropriate and don’t find themselves at the mercy of big co-operations like Facebook. Additionally, while it is clear that social media is growing; it is hard to predict how it will develop over time, whereas the artist can determine the future of their website themselves.
More professional impression than social media
A dedicated website leaves a more professional impression than social media pages. It conveys to fans that the artist has taken the time to create an online presence that allows them to connect with their fan base. It is also a great opportunity to collect music, images, and contact information in one place. Having your own website makes you look professional and increases your credibility and building a customized one is not as costly as people think. Platforms such as WordPress offer some great free templates meaning all you need to spend money on is on your domain name and website hosting. WordPress offers detailed website insights along with Google Analytics – which will be a great way of keeping an eye on your website traffic.
Your ownership of the content
Content posted on social media no longer belongs to the poster, but to the site. On a website, however, the rights to the content remain with the artist, which is an important consideration, particularly for artists who may be posting music. Running a website is not as complicated as it used to be with plenty of free providers available, but bare in mind that when you create a website on a free platform, your website is really a subsection of someone else’s site. Website providers can shut down unexpectedly, they can ban you or delete your files and there is nothing you can do about it. They can suddenly be overtaken by a more successful platform, as happened when Facebook increased in popularity and MySpace dwindled. If you have the potential to create a stunning website, it is too risky for this to be at the mercy of another company. It is too valuable of a resource. You need to own it, completely. To create your own website you need three things:
A domain name: this is the website name, such as producerX.com;
Website hosting: this is space on a large server where you store the website files so that your site can connect to the internet (an example being SiteGround);
A website creation tool to build the site, such as WordPress, which is free.
Differentiation from the competition
A website separates you from the rest; it is convenient, helps you engage with new fans and connect with old ones and it gives you an opportunity to show your fans who you are. First impressions last, and running a well-designed website is imperative to you as an artist. With so much competition in the music industry, social networking is simply not enough to promote yourself and your musical journey.
Overall, owning a website provides artists with an opportunity to curate their personal brand more carefully than social media and provide their fans with a space dedicated to their favourite artists. It gives artists control of their content, brand and future development of their online space. So, rather than relying on corporations to provide them with an online platform, artists can dictate their own terms online. Take a look online at some of the options for website hosting and brainstorm ideas as to what you would want your website to say about you as a person and an artist. Remember that this is one investment that is definitely worth the money as it adds a lot of value to your artist brand.