Today, a professional musician NEEDS to have a music website. Yes, along with recorded music and a video, a website is a musician’s calling card. I have come across music people concentrating on all the social media’s, and you have to do that to, but having an official website allows anyone in the word to find you and connect to your music.
I will first talk about some of the most important areas to pay attention to and then we will cover what type of information that should be in a website, ending with do you really need an EPK to advance your career.
Websites do not have to be difficult to put together. Here are some important suggestions to follow:
- Don’t make the users think, wait or read too much when they enter the website.
- Use color and your white space wisely….you want to choose a readable font and keep every item clear and visible.
- Simplify, but use high quality content.
- Don’t make your website visitor jump thru too many pages to get to simple items.
- Keep your menu buttons really clear so your visitor can move to exactly what they are looking for.
COSTS TO MAKE AND FUND A WEBSITE
- DOMAIN NAMES. You can easily go to GoDaddy.com or Domain.com. ALWAYS GET THE .COM!!!! Don’t spell your name weird or use to many abbreviations, or people will not find you when they Google you! Most domain names cost $.99 to about $18 a year. Keep checking to see if there is a sale!
- WEBSITE CONSTRUCTION. Most of us are just not able to do computer coding, so some of the best websites with good templates are: Wix, BandCamp, Revernation, Weekbly and Bandzoogle. If this is your first attempt to do your own music website, keep the templates simple!
- HOSTING COSTS. The companies listed above have free templates to use plus offer monthly hosting between $3 to $40 a month. Read the details…it may cost about $17 a month if you want to sell music and merch through your website. Keep it really simple at first! Don’t let making the decision to add other services for more money stop you from just getting everything up and running.
- DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION. As I listed on my last blog, if you just get Apple Music and Spotify you can reach 97.2 million listeners! You choose one distribution service to get your music up on the digital listening highway. I provided an article below that give you a good comparison on which one you may want to choose. My artists have used CD Baby and Distro Kid, but look at the comparisons. Some have a one-time fee and others you pay a monthly or yearly fees. Fees range from “ZERO” to a yearly fee of $89 a year.
Again, if this is the first time you are putting a website together, go simple and you can add other services later. PS. Please look into Copywright.Gov to protect your songs before releasing them to the world!
WHAT SHOULD I HAVE ON MY WEBSITE?
- CHOOSING A TEMPLATE. Stay away from too much of a black background because photos and text is hard to read. Remember, most people will be looking at your website from their phone. Also, make sure the subject buttons are on the top of your screen so the music visitor can go directly to what they are looking for.
- HOME PAGE. A Home page is the first impression you will make to the visitor. It can be creative with a great header or logo and even include an opening music video or impressive few scrolling photos. It is always good to include a sign up or subscribe to your email or newsletter button AND your social media links that follow on the top of every page. You may even want to include an image for your new release or a ‘NEW NEWS’ area that you can change often.
- ABOUT US or a BIO PAGE. I find it funny that many of you can write a good story through your songs but can’t write your own bio. There should be a photo on the bio page too. If you have a band, you can talk BRIEFLY about how the band started, describe what your music sounds like, list any credits or music accomplishments, include ONE press quote if you have it and, at the end, remember to talk about new releases or tours coming up in the next 6 to 8 months. BUT….KEEP IT SHORT. No more that half a page!
- MUSIC. People need to be able to listen to your music. Have a listen station on your page, but don’t just direct them to your Spotify page. Sending them to another site will take them away from you page and the distraction may not bring them back to explore other interesting items on your page. Take some care on this page! Let your template guide you!
- VIDEO. Embed some videos on your website under a VIDEO button. It is OK to put a performance or lyric video if you don’t have one of those storyline ‘official’ videos yet. Some templates make it easy for your visitor to share the videos they like on social media; this is recommended. Again, don’t just send people to your You Tube page
- PERFORMANCES. Add a Gig Calendar/Upcoming Shows /Tour button. Even if you don’t have performances right now, REMEMBER to make sure you are able to include a list of past shows. Many websites have a calendar listing but the dates fall off the site when the date is past. You don’t have to list every past event; I use a ‘SELECTED PAST PERFORMANCES” title and then list the most prestigious venues. Keeping past venues listed will help you get booked!
- PRESS/PHOTOS/NEWS. Some people show their press reviews or develop a “Look what the industry is saying” quote sheet OR if you have a lot of special events and activities, develop a NEWS section. If you don’t have anything for the ‘press’ or ‘news’ section, develop a photo gallery. Remember to present high-quality, downloadable group photos (both vertical and horizontal) that the press can use. It is not unusual to have solo musician shots with their instruments and at least 2 clear, cool live stage shots!
- MERCH/ON SALE. If you don’t have any special merchandise to sell yet, skip this area for now. You may want to look into a service like Café Press, a customized on-demand printing company that makes t-shirts and other merch as they are ordered.
- CONTACT US. On this page you want to post a number of ways ANYONE can contact you. Many sites only have the automated REPLY/COMMENT area that sends an email that your visitor can not see. BUT…this music business moves pretty fast sometimes and if a press or industry person wants to talk to you ASAP, that automated form will turn them off. *Make some emails like firstname.lastname@example.org, or use @gmail.com email. PLEASE do not invent a record company or manager contact if you don’t have one. This will prevent other label or managers to approach you. I usually have to stand on my head to request that you also add a phone contact. Again, if an industry person want to talk to you soon, a phone number can get you the job!
DO I NEED AN EPK?
An Electronic Press Kit is really a summary of you and your music put together to submit for press and sometimes to get gigs. Think of it as a musician’s resume that creates an image of who you are and touts your most recent music projects.
If your website is put together well, you may not need an EPK. Again, some press and performance submissions will ask you for an EPK. BUT….this does not include everything you have on your website; it is a summary.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN AN EPK?
I would recommend for it not to exceed 2 pages…a one page format is even better. An EPK should feature:
- Your artist summary bio. Only have a 50 to 80 word bio describing your music, any career credits/achievement, one press quote if you have one and information about your most recent music project.
- Music/video. Links to the current singles and 2 videos max. If you are using this to get gigs, one live performance video will be enough.
- Promotional photos. A great group photo should be included. Every press and booker wants to see what the act looks like.
- Impressive performances. List your upcoming tour or make a list of the most impressive venues you have performed. Keep the list to 5 or 6 lines.
- Media quotes. I think 1 to 3 media quotes are enough for an EPK.
- Social Media links. Make sure you put the social media links you actively participate in. Having a link to Twitter, with no activity, will only hurt the impression you are trying to capture.
- Graphically pleasing. Again, this is a summary so make sure it looks good graphically. Hire someone if you don’t have those skills from somewhere like Fiverr or check out Canva and you can do it yourself!
So, if you don’t have any media quotes or impressive performances, your bio will have to sell you to the reader. Maybe add 2 videos, instead of just one and you may include a band photo and a live stage shot. The mission of an EPK is to convince the reader to go to your website and see & listen to even more!
Having a website makes you look like a professional musician. Besides your live performance video, it is your calling card to the world. If you are just beginning, stick with the free Bandcamp or Reverbnation and build from there. Mostly, you want people to google your musician band or name and find you quickly! That is why getting a distinctive domain name in the .com is also so important.
When you put your first website together, please share it with us at MusicBizMentors@gmail.com!
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES AND LINKS
EXAMPLE EPK: https://www.dariuslux.com/epk