You are a musician without a website? Seriously? In 2015?

By Segodi Leshalabe



The world of music has changed dramatically ever since the days of Napster. For those who don’t know what Napster is, it was the first true music sharing website. Within a short period of its being available online, it already had millions of users. Major record labels were left fuming as their bread and butter was swept right under their noses. Lawsuits followed and by the time it was all over, one thing was certain, the music industry had just undergone a major change and was never to be the same again.

Nowadays in most parts of the world the CD is but a forgotten item. Music is consumed digitally. With all the online tools readily available, the era of artists depending on their record labels to do their marketing or even release their music, is fading away. Social media has made it even easier. With all these tools however, having a website should still be a number one priority for every artist. Why? Because that is where you can sell your music and your merchandise and get to keep 100% of the profits as you cut out the middle man, or is it a woman now? lol. Not only that, but that is also the one place where you can be the main person, not like on social media where you competing for space with many others. But if all those don’t count, then consider this last one: This is the place where you can also collect your fans email addresses. Many may argue that email marketing is dead but wait, not so fast. You can have thousands or even millions of followers on Facebook or Twitter but guess what, that data is not yours. You have no control over it and if tomorrow Facebook decides to close down, what will you be left with? Okay, maybe that is too extreme an example, so let’s tone it down. People move with the trends. The current trend dictates where those people gather. Currently Facebook and Twitter has a larger share of the pie. But if tomorrow a new trend comes up and all those people decides to move from these networks to go gather at the new spot, guess what, you will be left with nothing and you will have to start all over again. That would not happen if you also have their email addresses. Yes email addresses do change occasionally but this won’t be a rapid change. Besides, your true fans are most likely to send you their new address when they change. There was a time when MySpace was thee social network to be at. Companies and artists spends thousands of Rands/Dollars and hours to build their fan base on the network. Then Facebook came, and people began moving away from Myspace to Facebook. Guess what happened to all those investments spend on building MySpace audience. It felt like it was eroded overnight. At the rate at which technology changes, you really don’t want to be caught napping. I’m not saying social media aren’t important, because trust me they are. “Music is helping power social media platforms. For example, in 2013, nine in 10 of the most watched videos of all time on YouTube were music videos, led by PSY’s Gangnam Style which had been viewed more than 1.2 billion times at the time. Nine in 10 of the most liked people on Facebook were artists. Seven of the top 10 most followed people on Twitter were also artists” (Source: IFPI Digital Music Report 2013). In the near future I will dedicate an article on Music and social media. Watch the space.

So my closing advice is, build yourself a website, gather your fans email addresses and link your site to your twitter and facebook and all other social media you are active on. Make sure though that on all those media, your fans know that you have a single home (website) where they can find you and your products. Give out special offers that are available only via the website, thus keeping your loyal fanbase captivated and benefitting as well. So if you don’t have website, stop, call whoever your digital marketer is (you do have one right? That is one of my future topics) and ask them to make sure you have a website. It won’t cost you much and the benefits will be so much more. You don’t have to go fancy at the start. Remember people mainly seek information before admiring the bells and whistles. Those are good yes but if you have limited budget, then start somewhere small. Tools like WordPress, Joomla, etc have all made it possible to build decent websites at next to no cost (In future I shall dedicate an article on this topic). Another benefit of having a website is that, if you are also a publisher of your own music, then you can create your own library online and pursue synch licensing opportunities (In future I shall dedicate an article on this topic). When people type in in or who are they going to find? When people Google you, seeking to book you or buy your music, who’s gonna come up the list? I leave you with those thoughts to ponder on.



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